Bulgaria, Sofia, National Sports Academy

NSA Mission  Educational qualifications  Normative acts 


Official name: The Republic of Bulgaria

Total area: 110 912 sq. km

Population: 7.2 million (2013)

Capital: Sofia

Official Language: Bulgarian

National currency: BG LEV(lv) - 1 Euro = 1,96 leva

Religion: Eastern Orthodox (85%), Muslims (8%)

Time zone:

Winter time: GMT+2 hours (October through March);

Summer time: GMT +3 hours (April through September)


Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic with a one-chamber parliament, the National Assembly, which has 240 national representatives (members of parliament). Head of State is the President, elected for a period of 5 years. Mr. Rosen Plevneliev was voted President of the Republic of Bulgaria in 2011. The supreme executive body is the Council of Ministers, elected by the National Assembly on the proposal of the Prime Minister.

Bulgaria is situated in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. To the north, the country borders on Romania and the Danube River; to the east, on the Black Sea; to the south, on Turkey and Greece; and to the west, on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Macedonia. This geographic location places it on the crossroad between Europe, Asia and Africa.Bulgarias favorable geographic location creates excellent preconditions for the development of tourism.



Bulgaria is also a transport crossroad, affording access to Western Europe, the Near East and the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. A series of major European transport corridors pass through Bulgaria. These corridors include the international highways that connect Western and Central Europe the Near East and the Middle East (through Beograd to Sofia and Svilengrad), including connections to Baghdad and Basra on the Persian Bay; from the Baltic Sea to the Aegean Sea (from Moscow to Kiev, Bucharest, Ruse, and Stara Zagora to Thessaloniki) and to the Adriatic Sea (from Sofia through Skopje to Drach). Another important transport route is the road from Constanta to Varna, Burgas, Tsarevo, MalkoTarnovo and Istanbul. Bulgaria is also connected to the Trans-European networks that lead from Berlin to Prague, Budapest, Sofia, Thessaloniki, and Istanbul and from Durres to Tirana, Skopje, and Sofia to the Black Sea ports of Varna and Burgas. These transport corridors are also serviced by rail. Bulgarias Black Sea ports connect with all other countries that border the Black Sea countries, offering particularly excellent opportunities for the development of transport through the large bays that front Burgas and Varna. Along the Danube River the country connects with the transport corridor that leads to the Rhine and the network of waterways that crisscross Western Europe.

The landscape is quite diverse, with lowlands, plains and hills prevailing. The Black Sea coast prides itself with long, wide sandy beaches. The climate is moderately continental with four distinct seasons. The average annual air temperature is 10,5 C, with average January temperatures around O C, and the summer temperatures rarely exceeding 30 C.

Cave Prohodna

Pobiti kamani

Erkjupria stone bridges - Rodopa mountain

Belogradchik rocks

Devetashka cave

Karlukovo cave

Arda river - Rodopa mountain



Bulgarian mountains
The highest Bulgarian mountains are Rila and Pirin, situated to the east of the Struma River valley. The average elevation of these mountains is 1,258 m, and 60% of their area is higher than 1,000 m. In Rila there are 31 peaks with an altitude of over 2,600 m. The highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula, Musala (2,925 m), is located there.

Musala - the highest peak in Bulgaria and the entire Balkan peninsula.

Kupena - peak in Balkan mountain

Vihren - the highest peak in Pirin mountain

Lakes in Rila mountain

Lakes in Rila mountain

Balkan mountain

Pirin mountain - Bezbog hut

Rila mountain

Balkan mountain

Pirin mountain

Bulgarian resorts
The countrys favorable climate and natural attractions provide the basis for the development of its 142 resorts, of which 26 are marine resorts, 56 mountain resorts, and 58 are balneological resorts, not counting the numerous balneological and SPA centers.
Three national parks have been established in the country: Pirin National Park (a UNESCO natural heritage site), Rila National Park, and the Central Balkans National Park. There are also 11 nature reserves Belasitsa, Balgarka, Vratsa Balkan, Golden Sands, Persina, Rila Monastery, Rusenski Lom, SiniteKamani, Strandzha and the Shumen Plateau.

The city of Sozopol

The city of Nessebar

The city of Burgas

The city of Varna

The Bulgarian State was founded in 681 by Khan Asparouh, the leader who united the Slavs and Proto-Bulgarians. Prince Boris I Mihail (852-889) converted the Bulgarians to Christianity and adopted the Bulgarian script created by Constantine Cyril the Philosopher and his brother Methodius. Bulgaria had grown into one of Europe's most powerful states under Czar Simeon (893-927), who conquered new lands during his reign and expanded its territory to the Black Sea, the Aegean, and the Adriatic.

Tarnovo - the old capital of Bulgaria

Tarnovo - the old capital of Bulgaria

Antique theater in Plovdiv - 1st century

Rila monastery

Fortress in Belogradchik


The Golden church of tzar Simeon - 9th century

Ancient bulgarian icons

Golden treasure of Panagjurishte - IV century B.C.

The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak - 3th century B.C.

The Golden mask of King Teres I - National Museum

Thracian King Sevt III

The attacks of the Ottoman Turks on the Balkan Peninsula in the 14th century led to the waning of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom taken over in 1396. The 18th century witnessed the beginning of the Bulgarian National Revival and the formation of the Bulgarian nation.

The ideology of national liberation was conceived in that period and the independence of the Bulgarian church, education and culture were restored. As a result of the Russian -Turkish War of Liberation (1877-1878), the Bulgarian State was resurrected. The presence of the Soviet Army in Bulgaria after World War II accelerated developments in the country's political life and the events that followed: the declaration of the Republic (1946) and the coming to power of the Bulgarian Communist Party.

At the end of 1989, the democratic changes triggered a transition from the totalitarian system and command economy of the past four decades to a pluralistic, multi-party democracy, civic society and market economy.

A Grand National Assembly was called to restructure Bulgaria's government and in July 1991 it adopted the new Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, thus increasing the prospects for further success in the process of democratization.

In addition to re-establishing the political parties and parliamentary functions, restitution of property taken away in 1947 was carried out, and the agricultural lands were returned. The year 1997 saw the introduction of a currency board, leading to a high degree of macroeconomic and fiscal stability and predictability. Since then the national economy has steadied and improved.

Today, the Republic of Bulgaria faces the challenges of reorganizing its society and economy in accordance with the requirements for accession to NATO and the European Union; a process, which is expected to be accomplished within a few years.

The capital of the Republic of Bulgaria is Sofia - one of the oldest cities in Europe founded in the 8th-7th century BC by the Thracian tribe Serdi. The town is named Sofia after the name of the church "Sveta Sofia" in the 14th century. Sofia is the oldest capital in Europe after Athens.

Aleksander Nevski cathedral

Palace of justice

Sofia university

Sheraton hotel

Hilton hotel

National palace of culture

National theatre


Nowadays Sofia is the main political, economic, cultural, and transport center, as well as the biggest city in the country with a population of almost 1,250,000. It is situated in the foothills of Vitosha and Lyulin mountains, in the midpart of Western Bulgaria - the Sofia valley -which defines its role as a crossroads of international routes from Western, Central and Northern Europe, to Greece and the Middle East.

The capital of Bulgaria is situated at 350 m above the sea level just at the foot of the VitoshaMountain. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe, established over 5 000 years ago.

Sofia was founded by the Seniii tribe in prehistoric times, when Thracian village settlements were established on and around the slopes of Mount Vitosha. The little town became known as Serdica, and was laid waste by Philip II of Macedon in 339 on his Scythian expedition.

Boyana church - 10th century

Sveti Georgi church - 4th century

Sveta Sofia church - 4th century

Serdica nevertheless survived but only grew to be a place of any significance in the 1C AD, when the Roman road networks in the Balkans were being established, and numerous landless ex-Roman army veterans were being settled by the early Emperors, After further growth under Trajan (98-117) Serdica became the capital of the Imperial province of Dacia, and was renamed UlpiaSerdica. It became a prosperous trading centre, and in 347 an Ecumenical Council was held in the town. In 447 it was ravaged by Attila the Hun, and then rebuilt by Justinian (527-65).

In the 6C and 7C the town was attacked by the Slavs, and most of the population fled. It was renamed Sredec. In 809 Khan Krum and his Bulgarian tribesmen occupied Sredec, and it became part of the Bulgarian Kingdom for 300 years. In 1078 the town, now called Triadica, was destroyed by the Pecheneg horde. In 1096 the First Crusade passed through, after which, in 1183, it was attacked by the Serbs and Magyars, and by the Crusaders in 1189. In 1194 it joined the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, under Turnovo.

The town was first known as Sofia in the 14C, when in 1382 it was pillaged by the Turks, after 1396 it became an Ottoman administrative center, which it remained for hundreds of years. It was particularly prosperous in the 18C, but did not maintain this position so that by the Liberation in 1876 only about 20,000 people lived in it. After the Liberation from Turkish domination in 1878 it was proclaimed capital of Bulgaria and became the biggest political, administrative, cultural and university center in the country.

The numerous invasions throughout its history have left but a few historical remnants. One might notice that the majority of the houses in the central part were built after the Liberation in 1878. Some of the places of interest worth seeing are the Eastern Gate with the stone walls, the churches "St Sofia", "St George", the Boyana church, the mosque at the city baths, the Russian church "St Nikola", the Cathedral "Alexander Nevski", the crypt with the precious exhibition of ancient paintings and icons, VassilLevski's monument, the National Theatre House "Ivan Vazov".

The city is a preferred destination for international congresses, and there are a great many halls and centers offering possibilities for every need. For example, one of the citys most popular venues for business forums and trade fairs is The National Palace of Culture.

Sofia is also home to Bulgarias most prestigious and larges educational institutions universities, colleges, and middle schools that offer solidly-grounded, up-to-date instruction in such disciplines as Architecture, Medicine, The Humanities, Engineering, Music and Choreography, and Fine Arts.

National Sports Academy

General Information
The Higher Institute for Physical Culture (at present National Sports Academy VassilLevski) - Sofia was founded as a university level educational institution graduating Physical Education Teachers and Sport Trainers. The Programme in Physiotherapy has been launched from 1947.
The Higher Institute of Physical Training was founded by Decree of His Majesty Tzar Boris III in 1942. In 1967 the Sports Pedagogical Faculty and the Faculty for Group Physical Therapy and Remedial Physical Culture were set up.

Aquatic sports training base was opened near Nessebar, the Black Sea, in 1972.


The same year the United Centre for Science and Training of Specialist in the field of Physical Culture and Sport was established. In 1973 the Scientific Council certifying awarding of degrees in science were set up.
The alpine training complex in VitoshaMountain was opened. In 1974 the specialized training of elite sportsmen - Olympic, world and European champions - was introduced in the curriculum. Another alpine training complex in Borovetz, the RilaMountain was opened in 1986. In 1991 the Language Centre for preparatory training of foreign students was set up.

In 1995 the Higher Institute of Physical Culture was renamed National Sports Academy by decision of the National Assembly. The new modern educational complex was inaugurated. As of 1996 the National Sports Academy started attributing the honorary title "Doctor Honoris Causa" to distinguished persons with special contribution to science and sport.
At present the National Sports Academy (NSA) - Sofia is the only higher educational establishment in Bulgaria in the field of physical culture and sport. The NSA is granted full state accreditation, offering university degree programs (BSc, MSc, PhD) at three faculties:

  • 1. Faculty of Physical Education (Teachers)
  • 2. Faculty of Sports (Coaches)
  • 3. Faculty of Kinesitherapy, Tourism and Sport Animation.

The Centre of Post-Graduate Studies at the NSA offers different post-graduate continuing education programs in specialized and interdisciplinary fields. The NSA together with the Bulgarian Football Union is authorized by UEFA to train football coaches and issue License PRO which is valid for all levels football coaching.

NSA distinguished itself by the fact that its teaching is based on its own research and interdisciplinary approach. Its programs integrate professional training with research, promoting skills of identifying, formulating and solving problems, shaping learners for life - reflective graduates capable of analytic and creative thinking.

With its top scientific potential the NSA deservedly plays the role of national center for research and development in the field of physical culture and sport enjoying wide international prestige. NSA pays special attention to the training of young researchers within the framework of their doctoral studies. Besides writing the obligatory course and degree thesis students may take part in scientific circles with the respective chairs, in the activities of the discussions clubs, round tables on topical issues, R&D projects, annual internal conferences and events included in the calendar of the international scientific cooperation. The scientific activities are carried out in specialized R&D laboratories. The NSA computer network is linked to the national academic network and Internet.

The scientific achievements of the NSA researchers are internationally recognized. NSA specialists are honorary members of foreign academies. The NSA enjoys international prestige: it is not the foreign students willing to pursue their studies in the NSA alone; it is also the fact that many distinguished persons have received with gratitude the honorary title "Doctor Honoris Causa" and they have undertaken to participate in a number of endeavors of the Academy among them being Mr.Simeon SaxeCoburg-Gotha, Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Marquis de Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Committee, Mr. Bruno Grandi, member of IOC, President of FIG, Mr. Egidius Braun, President of the German Football Union, Vice-President of UEFA, Mr. Franz Beckenbauer, Vice-President of the German Football Union, President of Football Club BayernMunchen etc.

The best testimony of the scientific achievements of the NSA is the European, World and Olympic titles won by the Bulgarian athletes graduates of the Academy. They are as follows - 42 Olympic titles, 150 silver and bronze Olympic medals, 90 world champion titles and 120 silver and bronze medals at world championships.

35sports clubs compete in national and international championships and tournaments.

Photo credits:, Internet, archive


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