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Walls of an ancient fort surround a natural rock turret in Belogradchik, in northwest Bulgaria. Since medieval times this overlook has been fortified, offering defenders a commanding view of the wooded valleys. Hilly or mountainous terrain covers more than half of Bulgaria. The broad and irregular Rhodope Mountains delineate most of Bulgaria’s southern boundary with Greece. At the western end of these mountains are the Rila Mountains, which culminate at Musala (2,925 m/9,596 ft), the highest peak in the Balkans. A truck wends its way through the Rhodope Mountains in southern Bulgaria. These broad, irregular mountains mark the nation’s border with Greece.

Attar of roses, the oil extracted from rose petals for the manufacture of perfume, is perhaps Bulgaria’s most famous export. Rose harvesting, which occurs in May and June, is done only early in the morning, when the petals contain their highest concentration of oil.

To diciver : Varna, a port on the Black Sea in eastern Bulgaria, was founded by Greeks under the name Odessus in the 6th century BC. During its lengthy history, the city has been ruled by Romans, Byzantines, Ottoman Turks, Russians, and Bulgarians. The Danubian Plain stretches across northern Bulgaria from the Danube River south to the Balkan Mountains, covering nearly one-third of the country in rich, productive soil. A combination of the most fertile land in Bulgaria and humid summer weather make the region ideal for agriculture. Cereals such as wheat, maize, and barley grow well on the rolling hills of the plain, while flatter areas are ideal for fruits and vegetables. Expanses of scrub grass in the northeast section provide excellent pasture for sheep.

One of the major landmarks of the southern Bulgarian city of Plovdiv is the amphitheatre, the largest in the country. It was built in the 2nd century ad by the Romans, who called this city Trimontium. During May, June, and September, classical plays are staged in the amphitheatre, while a Verdi opera festival is an annual event. Concerts, ballet, recitals, drama, and performances are also held here.

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