Macedonia (ancient kingdom)
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom on the periphery of Archaic and Classical Greece, and the dominant state of Hellenistic Greece. The kingdom was founded and at first ruled by the royal Argead dynasty, the reign of Philip II saw the rise of Macedonia, during which the kingdom rose to control the entire Greek world. With a reformed army containing phalanxes wielding the sarissa pike, Philip II defeated the old powers of Athens and Thebes in the decisive Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC, Sparta was kept isolated and was occupied a century by Antigonus III Doson. Alexander led a roughly decade-long campaign of conquest against the Achaemenid Empire, in the ensuing wars of Alexander the Great, he overthrew the Achaemenid Empire and conquered a territory that stretched as far as the Indus River. For a brief period, his Macedonian empire was the most powerful in the world – the definitive Hellenistic state, Greek arts and literature flourished in the new conquered lands and advances in philosophy and science were spread throughout much of the ancient world.
Of particular importance were the contributions of Aristotle, who had been imported as tutor to Alexander, important cities such as Pella and Amphipolis were involved in power struggles for control of the territory. New cities were founded, such as Thessalonica by the usurper Cassander, Macedonias decline began with the Macedonian Wars and the rise of Rome as the leading Mediterranean power. At the end of the Second Macedonian War in 168 BC, a short-lived revival of the monarchy during the Third Macedonian War in 150–148 BC ended with the establishment of the Roman province of Macedonia. The name Macedonia comes from the ethnonym Μακεδόνες, which itself is derived from the ancient Greek adjective μακεδνός, meaning tall and it shares the same root as the noun μάκρος, meaning length in both ancient and modern Greek. The name is believed to have meant either highlanders, the tall ones. Robert S. P. Beekes supports that both terms are of Pre-Greek substrate origin and cannot be explained in terms of Indo-European morphology.
Contradictory legends state that either Perdiccas I of Macedon or Caranus of Macedon were the founders of the Argead dynasty, the kingdom of Macedonia was situated along the Haliacmon and Axius rivers in Lower Macedonia, north of Mount Olympus. Historian Malcolm Errington posits the theory one of the earliest Argead kings must have established Aigai as their capital in the mid-7th century BC. Prior to the 4th century BC, the kingdom covered a region corresponding to the western. Achaemenid Persian hegemony over Macedonia was briefly interrupted by the Ionian Revolt, although Macedonia enjoyed a large degree of autonomy and was never made a satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire, it was expected to provide troops for the Achaemenid army. Following the Greek victory at Salamis in 480 BC, Alexander I was employed as an Achaemenid diplomat to strike a treaty and alliance with Athens. Soon afterwards the Achaemenid forces were forced to withdraw from mainland Europe, although initially a Persian vassal, Alexander I of Macedon fostered friendly diplomatic relations with his former Greek enemies, the Athenian and Spartan-led coalition of Greek city-states.
Two separate wars were fought against Athens between 433 and 431 BC, spurred by an Athenian alliance with a brother and cousin of Perdiccas II who had rebelled against him
Those from southern Russia and Crimea are often referred to as Northern Pontic, in contrast to those from South Pontus, which strictly speaking is Pontus proper. The Pontic Greeks had a presence in the region of Pontus, Georgia. Nowadays, due to intermarriage, the exact number of Greeks from the Pontus. After 1988, Pontian Greeks in the Soviet Union started to migrate to Greece settling in and around Athens and Thessaloniki, and especially Greek Macedonia. The largest communities of Pontian Greeks around the world are, In Greek mythology the Black Sea region is the region where Jason and the Argonauts sailed to find the Golden Fleece. The Amazons, female warriors in Greek Mythology lived in Pontus and minority lived in Taurica, the warlike characteristics of Pontic Greeks had once said to have been derived of Amazons of Pontus. The first recorded Greek colony, established on the shores of ancient Anatolia, was Sinope on the Black Sea. The settlers of Sinop were merchants from the Ionian Greek city state of Miletus, after the colonization of the shores of the Black Sea, known until to the Greek world as Pontos Axeinos, the name changed to Pontos Euxeinos.
Xenophon mentions that when at the sight of sea they shouted Thalatta and they were Greeks too and, according to Xenophon, they had been there for over 300 years. A whole range of trade flourished among the various Greek colonies, soon Trebizond established a leading stature among the other colonies and the region nearby become the heart of the Pontian Greek culture and civilization. This region was organized circa 281 BC as a kingdom by Mithridates I of Pontus, whose ancestry line dated back to Ariobarzanes I, a Persian ruler of the Greek town of Cius. Nevertheless, the kingdom survived as a Roman vassal state, now named Bosporan Kingdom and based in Crimea, until the 4th century AD, when it succumbed to the Huns. The rest of the Pontus became part of the Roman Empire, Pontus was the birthplace of the Komnenos dynasty, which ruled the Byzantine Empire from 1082 to 1185, a time in which the empire resurged to recover much of Anatolia from the Seljuk Turks. However it took the Ottomans 18 more years to defeat the Greek resistance in Pontus.
During the Ottoman period a number of Pontian Greeks converted to Islam, in fact, the second half of the nineteenth century saw large numbers of such pro-Russian Pontic Greeks from the Pontic Alps and Erzerum province resettle in the area around Kars. The mountainous vilayet of Kars was ceded to the Russian Empire following the Russo-Turkish war that culminated in the 1878 Treaty of San Stefano, in 1916 Trabzon itself fell to the forces of the Russian Empire, fomenting the idea of an independent Pontic state. As the Bolsheviks came to power with the October Revolution, Russian forces withdrew from the region to take part in the Russian Civil War, in 1917–1922, there existed an unrecognized state by the name Republic of Pontus, led by Chrysanthus, Metropolitan of Trebizond. In 1917 Greece and the Entente powers considered the creation of a Hellenic autonomous state in Pontus, in 1919 on the fringes of the Paris Peace Conference Chrysanthos proposed the establishment of a fully independent Republic of Pontus, but neither Greece nor the other delegations supported it
Archaeological Museum of Kilkis
The Kilkis Archaeological Museum is located in the city of Kilkis in Central Macedonia, Greece. It opened in 1972, its purpose being to collect finds handed in by private individuals, in the entrance hall are the prehistoric finds from the excavations at Tsaousitsa and Axiochori, and occasional finds from Pedino and Axioupoli. The first hall has Iron Age finds, the most important of which are the funerary urns, the jewellery. In the second hall are sculptures and grave stelai of the Classical, the most important exhibits are the Kouros from Evropos, which represents a young man and dates to the 6th century BC, and the four statues from the heroon at Palatiano. The room contains clay figurines and some outstanding jewelry.0 license
World War I
World War I, known as the First World War, the Great War, or the War to End All Wars, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history and it was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, and paved the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved. The war drew in all the worlds great powers, assembled in two opposing alliances, the Allies versus the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. These alliances were reorganised and expanded as more nations entered the war, Japan, the trigger for the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. This set off a crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia. Within weeks, the powers were at war and the conflict soon spread around the world.
On 25 July Russia began mobilisation and on 28 July, the Austro-Hungarians declared war on Serbia, Germany presented an ultimatum to Russia to demobilise, and when this was refused, declared war on Russia on 1 August. Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France, after the German march on Paris was halted, what became known as the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, with a trench line that changed little until 1917. On the Eastern Front, the Russian army was successful against the Austro-Hungarians, in November 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai. In 1915, Italy joined the Allies and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers, Romania joined the Allies in 1916, after a stunning German offensive along the Western Front in the spring of 1918, the Allies rallied and drove back the Germans in a series of successful offensives. By the end of the war or soon after, the German Empire, Russian Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire, national borders were redrawn, with several independent nations restored or created, and Germanys colonies were parceled out among the victors.
During the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the Big Four imposed their terms in a series of treaties, the League of Nations was formed with the aim of preventing any repetition of such a conflict. This effort failed, and economic depression, renewed nationalism, weakened successor states, and feelings of humiliation eventually contributed to World War II. From the time of its start until the approach of World War II, at the time, it was sometimes called the war to end war or the war to end all wars due to its then-unparalleled scale and devastation. In Canada, Macleans magazine in October 1914 wrote, Some wars name themselves, during the interwar period, the war was most often called the World War and the Great War in English-speaking countries. Will become the first world war in the sense of the word. These began in 1815, with the Holy Alliance between Prussia and Austria, when Germany was united in 1871, Prussia became part of the new German nation. Soon after, in October 1873, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck negotiated the League of the Three Emperors between the monarchs of Austria-Hungary and Germany
Russia, officially the Russian Federation, is a country in Eurasia. The European western part of the country is more populated and urbanised than the eastern. Russias capital Moscow is one of the largest cities in the world, other urban centers include Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a range of environments. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk, the East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, in 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus ultimately disintegrated into a number of states, most of the Rus lands were overrun by the Mongol invasion. The Soviet Union played a role in the Allied victory in World War II.
The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the worlds first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the second largest economy, largest standing military in the world. It is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic, the Russian economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2015. Russias extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the producers of oil. The country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. The name Russia is derived from Rus, a state populated mostly by the East Slavs. However, this name became more prominent in the history, and the country typically was called by its inhabitants Русская Земля.
In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus by modern historiography, an old Latin version of the name Rus was Ruthenia, mostly applied to the western and southern regions of Rus that were adjacent to Catholic Europe. The current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Kievan Rus, the standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is Russians in English and rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are translated into English as Russians
The Balkan Wars consisted of two conflicts that took place in the Balkan Peninsula in south-eastern Europe in 1912 and 1913. Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire in the first war, one of the four, the Ottoman Empire lost the bulk of its territory in Europe. Austria-Hungary, although not a combatant, became relatively weaker as a much enlarged Serbia pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples, the war set the stage for the Balkan crisis of 1914 and thus served as a prelude to the First World War. By the early 20th century, Greece and Serbia had achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire, in 1912 these countries formed the Balkan League. The First Balkan War had three main causes, The Ottoman Empire was unable to reform itself, govern satisfactorily, or deal with the rising nationalism of its diverse peoples. The Great Powers quarreled amongst themselves and failed to ensure that the Ottomans would carry out the needed reforms and this led the Balkan states to impose their own solution.
Most importantly, the Balkan League had been formed, and its members were confident that it could defeat the Turks. The Ottoman Empire lost all its European territories to the west of the River Maritsa as a result of the two Balkan Wars, which thus delineated present-day Turkeys western border, a large influx of Turks started to flee into the Ottoman heartland from the lost lands. By 1914, the core region of the Ottoman Empire had experienced a population increase of around 2.5 million because of the flood of immigration from the Balkans. Citizens of Turkey regard the Balkan Wars as a disaster in the nations history. Nazım Pasha, Chief of Staff of the Ottoman Army, was responsible for the failure and was assassinated on 23 January 1913 during the 1913 Ottoman coup détat carried out by the Young Turks. The First Balkan War began when the League member states attacked the Ottoman Empire on 8 October 1912, the Second Balkan War was begun on 16 June 1913. Seeing the treaty as trampled, Bulgaria was dissatisfied over the division of the spoils in Macedonia, the more numerous combined Serbian and Greek armies repelled the Bulgarian offensive and counter-attacked into Bulgaria.
Romania, who having taken no part in the conflict, had intact armies to strike with, the Ottoman Empire attacked Bulgaria and advanced in Thrace regaining Adrianople. The background to the lies in the incomplete emergence of nation-states on the European territory of the Ottoman Empire during the second half of the 19th century. Serbia had gained territory during the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878, while Greece acquired Thessaly in 1881. All three countries, as well as Montenegro, sought additional territories within the large Ottoman-ruled region known as Rumelia, comprising Eastern Rumelia, Macedonia, throughout the 19th century, the Great Powers shared different aims over the Eastern Question and the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. Russia wanted access to the waters of the Mediterranean from the Black Sea, it pursued a pan-Slavic foreign policy
It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empires Greek East and Latin West divided. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empires official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed. Finally, under the reign of Heraclius, the Empires military, the borders of the Empire evolved significantly over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Maurice, the Empires eastern frontier was expanded, in a matter of years the Empire lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arabs. This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia, the Empire recovered again during the Komnenian restoration, such that by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city.
Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence. Its remaining territories were annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 finally ended the Byzantine Empire, the term comes from Byzantium, the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantines capital. This older name of the city would rarely be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts. The publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, and in 1680 of Du Canges Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of Byzantine among French authors, however, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world. The Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the Roman Empire, the Empire of the Romans, the Roman Republic, and as Rhōmais. The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and Graikoi, and even as late as the 19th century Greeks typically referred to modern Greek as Romaika and Graikika.
The authority of the Byzantine emperor as the legitimate Roman emperor was challenged by the coronation of Charlemagne as Imperator Augustus by Pope Leo III in the year 800. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known primarily as Rûm, the Roman army succeeded in conquering many territories covering the entire Mediterranean region and coastal regions in southwestern Europe and north Africa. These territories were home to different cultural groups, both urban populations and rural populations. The West suffered heavily from the instability of the 3rd century AD
The Vardar or Axios is the longest and major river in the Republic of Macedonia and a major river of Greece. It is 388 km long, and drains an area of around 25,000 km2, the maximum depth of the river is 4 m. The river rises at Vrutok, a few north of Gostivar in the Republic of Macedonia. The Vardar basin comprises two-thirds of the territory of the Republic of Macedonia, the valley features fertile lands in the Polog region, around Gevgelija and in the Thessaloniki regional unit. The river is surrounded by mountains elsewhere, the superhighways Greek National Road 1 in Greece and M1 and E75 run within the valley along the rivers entire length to near Skopje. The river was famous during the Ottoman Empire and modern-day Turkey and was the inspiration for many folk songs. It has depicted on the coat of arms of Skopje. The Vardaris or Vardarec is a powerful prevailing northerly wind which blows across the river valley in Greek Macedonia as well as in the Republic of Macedonia. At first it descends along the canal of the Vardar valley, somewhat similar to the mistral wind of France, it occurs when atmospheric pressure over eastern Europe is higher than over the Aegean Sea, as is often the case in winter.
The etymology of the word is unclear, however most probably, the origin of the name Vardar derives Bardários from Thracian, from Proto-Indo-European *wordo-wori- black water. The name Bardários was sometimes used by the Ancient Greeks in the 3rd Century BCE, the same name was widely used in the Byzantine era. The word may ultimately be derived from the PIE root *werǵ- and its Greek name, Axios, is mentioned by Homer as the home of the Paeonians allies of Troy. The name Affi is mentioned by Pjetër Bogdani in his work Cuneus Prophetarum as a name of Vardar. Great Morava Pčinja River Proceedings of the 1st Axios Catchment Consortium Meeting by the European Commission - DG Research, PIM Ivan Milutinović, Serbia, Morava - Vardar Navigation Route Morava - Vardar Navigation Route map Hydropower and navigation system Morava
One notable example of such pre-modern Caucasus Greeks is the 7th-century Greek Bishop Cyrus of Alexandria, originally from Phasis in present-day Georgia. Even the son of King David of Trebizonds son George had fled there with his retinue, many of their descendants survive in Georgia’s Marneuli district, although most immigrated to Greece, and particularly Thessaloniki in Greek Macedonia in the mid-1990s. In the war of 1828-29 many north-eastern Anatolia Greeks welcomed, collaborated with, or fought in the Russian Army that occupied Erzurum, Gümüşhane, most of their descendants settled in Georgia, the Russian Trans-Caucasus, and other parts of southern Russia. A large number of Caucasus Greeks who settled in Georgia became referred to as Urum and speak a Turkish dialect with an admixture of Pontic Greek, Georgian. Selim I had been based in the Trebizond region before he became Sultan in 1512 and they were subsequently resettled by the Russian Imperial government in the Ukraine and other parts of southern Russia, but especially Georgia and Kars Oblast.
These same areas now in Georgia had pockets of Muslims of Turkish and non-Turkish ethnic origin - though the latter had generally become Turkish in speech. A smaller but still significant number did, work outside the agricultural, in particular, many pursued careers as regular soldiers and officers in the Russian Imperial Army, in the regional police force, as clergymen, or even within the provincial Russian administration. Unlike the Pontic Greeks of the Black Sea coastal cities like Trebizond, Caucasus Greeks were often multilingual, able to speak and write Greek and Russian and speak Eastern Anatolian Turkish, and sometimes basic Georgian and Armenian. The Caucasus Greeks had close links with the Greek Orthodox Russian settlers of Kars Oblast through worshiping in each others churches as well as marrying partners of RuCaucasus. Most Caucasus Greeks left Kars Oblast following the cession of the back to the Ottoman Empire in 1917. These Greeks were based mainly in Stavropol Krai, in the foothills of the North Caucasus, Caucasus Greeks have generally assimilated well into modern Greek society, being successful within a broad range of trades and professions.
They are generally conflated by other Greeks with the Pontic Greeks of Pontus proper, whom many in Greece see as socially conservative, clan-like. The Caucasus Greeks and Pontic Greeks of Greek Macedonia have still managed to some of their unique traditions and have established many cultural. Although precise figures are difficult to verify it is likely a total of around 56,350 Greeks lived within Kars Oblast until 1919, the following is a list of the towns and villages in which they lived, given in both Greek and English transliteration. A1) Villages and settlements with purely Caucasus Greek population in BATUM OBLAST’, a2) Towns and settlements with part Greek population in BATUM OBLAST’, ARTVIN. B1) Villages and settlements with purely or majority Caucasus Greek population in KARS OBLAST’, Abul’vart ~ village in the Khorosan sub-district of Kagyzman, nowadaysKurbançayır köyü. Official Greek, Ἀμπουλβὰρτ Ampoulvàrt, written in monotonic versions ―for example, Αμπουλβάρ, Αμπουλβάρτ, Αμπουλμπάρτ, Απουλβάρτ, Απουλπάτ.
Ali-Sofi of the Hellenes ~ village in the Soganli sub-district of Kars, old Russian, Али-Софи греческій Ali-Sofi grečeskiy, to avoid confusion with the not-far Али-Софи туркменскій Ali-Sofi turmenskiy inhabited by Alevi Turcomans
Macedonia is a geographic and historical region of Greece in the southern Balkans. Macedonia is the largest and second most populous Greek region, dominated by mountains in the interior, Macedonia is part of Northern Greece, together with Thrace and sometimes Thessaly and Epirus. It incorporates most of the territories of ancient Macedon, a kingdom ruled by the Argeads whose most celebrated members were Alexander the Great, the name Macedonia was applied to identify various administrative areas in the Roman/Byzantine Empire with widely differing borders. Even before the establishment of the modern Greek state in 1830, it was identified as a Greek province, by the mid 19th century, the name was becoming consolidated informally, defining more of a distinct geographical, rather than political, region in the southern Balkans. At the end of the Ottoman Empire most of the known as Rumelia was divided by the Treaty of Bucharest of 1913. Greece and Bulgaria each took control of portions of the Macedonian region, with Greece obtaining the largest portion, Central Macedonia is the most popular tourist destination in Greece with more than 3.6 million tourists in 2009.
Macedonia lies at the crossroads of human development between the Aegean and the Balkans, the earliest signs of human habitation date back to the palaeolithic period, notably with the Petralona cave in which was found the oldest European humanoid, Archanthropus europaeus petraloniensis. In the Late Neolithic period, trade took place from quite distant regions, one of the most important changes was the start of copper working. According to Herodotus, the history of Macedonia began with the Makednoi tribe, among the first to use the name, there they lived near Thracian tribes such as the Bryges who would leave Macedonia for Asia Minor and become known as Phrygians. Macedonia was named after the Makednoi, accounts of other toponyms such as Emathia are attested to have been in use before that. Herodotus claims that a branch of the Macedonians invaded Southern Greece towards the end of the second millennium B. C, upon reaching the Peloponnese the invaders were renamed Dorians, triggering the accounts of the Dorian invasion.
For centuries the Macedonian tribes were organized in independent kingdoms, in what is now Central Macedonia, the Macedonians claimed to be Dorian Greeks and there were many Ionians in the coastal regions. During the late 6th and early 5th century BC, the region came under Persian rule until the destruction of Xerxes at Plataea, many Macedonian cities were allied to the Spartans, but Athens maintained the colony of Amphipolis under her control for many years. The kingdom of Macedon, was reorganised by Philip II and achieved the union of Greek states by forming the League of Corinth. After his assassination, his son Alexander succeeded to the throne of Macedon, for a brief period a Macedonian republic called the Koinon of the Macedonians was established. It was divided into four administrative districts and that period ended in 148 BC, when Macedonia was fully annexed by the Romans. The northern boundary at that time ended at Lake Ohrid and Bylazora, writing in the first century AD places the border of Macedonia on that part at Lychnidos, Byzantine Achris and presently Ochrid.
Therefore ancient Macedonia did not significantly extend beyond its current borders, the Acts of the Apostles records a vision in which the apostle Paul is said to have seen a man of Macedonia pleading with him, Come over to Macedonia and help us
Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north and Macedonia to the west and Turkey to the south, with a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, Bulgaria is Europes 16th-largest country. Organised prehistoric cultures began developing on current Bulgarian lands during the Neolithic period and its ancient history saw the presence of the Thracians, Persians, Romans, Goths and Huns. With the downfall of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, its territories came under Ottoman rule for five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 led to the formation of the Third Bulgarian State, the following years saw several conflicts with its neighbours, which prompted Bulgaria to align with Germany in both world wars. In 1946 it became a one-party socialist state as part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc, in December 1989 the ruling Communist Party allowed multi-party elections, which subsequently led to Bulgarias transition into a democracy and a market-based economy.
Bulgarias population of 7.2 million people is predominantly urbanised, most commercial and cultural activities are centred on the capital and largest city, Sofia. The strongest sectors of the economy are industry, power engineering. The countrys current political structure dates to the adoption of a constitution in 1991. Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic with a high degree of political, administrative. Human activity in the lands of modern Bulgaria can be traced back to the Paleolithic, animal bones incised with man-made markings from Kozarnika cave are assumed to be the earliest examples of symbolic behaviour in humans. Organised prehistoric societies in Bulgarian lands include the Neolithic Hamangia culture, Vinča culture, the latter is credited with inventing gold working and exploitation. Some of these first gold smelters produced the coins and jewellery of the Varna Necropolis treasure and this site offers insights for understanding the social hierarchy of the earliest European societies.
Thracians, one of the three primary groups of modern Bulgarians, began appearing in the region during the Iron Age. In the late 6th century BC, the Persians conquered most of present-day Bulgaria, and kept it until 479 BC. After the division of the Roman Empire in the 5th century the area fell under Byzantine control, by this time, Christianity had already spread in the region. A small Gothic community in Nicopolis ad Istrum produced the first Germanic language book in the 4th century, the first Christian monastery in Europe was established around the same time by Saint Athanasius in central Bulgaria. From the 6th century the easternmost South Slavs gradually settled in the region, in 680 Bulgar tribes under the leadership of Asparukh moved south across the Danube and settled in the area between the lower Danube and the Balkan, establishing their capital at Pliska