Travel Alert Status
Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions
UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
The climate is usually designated as "continental, with many micro-climates." From May to November, the climate is pleasantly warm and sunny. Sofia is on the same latitude as Rome, but is 1,500 feet higher in elevation and has a climate similar to the Intermountain West of the United States. Plants, flowers, and fruits common to Britain and France grow well here, but the climate is too cold for citrus. November through April are snowy and cold, with temperatures ranging between -5°F to 50°F in Sofia. Summer temperatures may reach 105Â°F on occasion but tend to hover around 70°-75°F, and humidity is moderate to low. During July, the mean temperature is 68.7°F (20.4°C); during January, 30.6°F (8°C). Mildew and insects are not significant factors.
Sofia's main climatic problem is winter smog, which is caused by industrial air pollution, soft-coal smoke, vehicle exhaust emissions, fog, and surrounding mountains that keep winds from blowing the smog away. Gray-brown dirt or coal dust and sand are scattered on Sofia's snow-covered streets in winter.
Winters may often be gray but are quite beautiful in the nearby mountains. Mount Vitosha (altitude 2,290 m.), with its ski resorts and runs and walking paths, overlooks the city. Trees and flowers make Sofia a more colorful city the rest of the year. Rainfall is moderate, averaging 25 inches a year.
The official language is Bulgarian, and nearly all inhabitants speak it. About half of the Turkish population speaks Turkish as its mother tongue. Bulgarian is a Slavic language that uses an alphabet first developed in the ninth century by Cyril and Methodise. English is now the most popular language for children to study, followed by German and French.
Bulgarian 83.9%, Turk 9.4%, Roma 4.7%, other 2% (including Macedonian, Armenian, Tatar, Circassian)
Liberation Day, 3 March (1878)
43 00 N, 25 00 E
Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey