Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a parliamentary republic in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east. Bulgaria is a very mountainous country due to its location in the Balkan peninsula. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres (42,855 sq mi), Bulgaria ranks as the 14th-largest country in Europe.

Prehistoric cultures began developing on Bulgarian lands during the Neolithic period. Its ancient history has been marked by the presence of the Thracians, and later by the Greeks and Romans. The emergence of a unified Bulgarian ethnicity and state dates back to the 7th century and the First Bulgarian Empire, which functioned as a cultural hub for Slavic peoples and spread over most of the Balkans during the Middle Ages. With the downfall of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, its territories came under Ottoman rule for nearly five hundred years. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 resulted in the Third Bulgarian State, recognised in 1908. Shortly afterward, Bulgaria engaged in a series of major conflicts with its neighbours and allied with Germany in both World Wars. In 1946 it became a communist republic and it was a satellite member of the Warsaw Pact until 1989, when the Communist Party allowed multi-party elections. After 1990 Bulgaria transitioned to democracy and introduced free-market capitalism.
The current political structure dates to the adoption of a democratic constitution in 1991. Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe, a founding state of the OSCE, and has been a member of the UN Security Council three times. It is a unitary state with a high degree of political, administrative and economic centralisation, and it is considered a free country.
The population of 7.36 million people is predominantly urban and mainly concentrated in the administrative centres of its 28 provinces. With 1.3 million people, the capital Sofia is the largest city and concentrates most commercial and cultural activities. The strongest sectors of the economy are heavy industry, power engineering and agriculture, all relying on local natural resources.
As a historical crossroad for various civilisations, Bulgaria is the home of some of the most ancient cultural artifacts in the world.

The city of Stara Zagora is one of the oldest cities in Europe with an eight thousand-year history. The favourable geographic and climatic conditions of the territory around Stara Zagora contributed to the establishment of several prehistoric settlements in the remote past. More than 100 prehistoric mounds from the 6th to 3rd millennium BC were found in the vicinity of Stara Zagora. One of them, the Bereketska mound, is the largest in Bulgaria, containing traces of people that lived there from the New Stone Age (6th millennium BC) to the Middle Ages (12th century). A prehistoric settlement can be found within the city itself. Two dwellings from the New Stone Age are preserved in the Neolithic Dwellings Museum. These are the best preserved dwellings from the New Stone or Neolithic Age (6th millennium BC) in Europe and contain a rich collection of tools and artefacts. The oldest copper mines in Europe (5th millennium BC) were found 8 km (4.97 mi) east of the city, A considerable amount of copper ore was extracted from the 11 mines by the ancient inhabitants of this land who traded with it throughout the continent.
Located at the cross-roads of multiple civilizations, Stara Zagora is an important piece in the European cultural routes mosaic. Inhabited by Thracians, ancient Greeks, Romans, Ottomans and Bulgarians, this unique city bears the historical imprint of those past civilizations along with many of their historical treasures. Proof of its longevity can be found in the multiples names of the city, each one connected with a different era of its development.