BULGARIANS: The Bulgars were a Turkic tribe that came into the Balkan area after 600 AD soon after the Slavs. The Bulgars were the minority group and quickly took political control of the Slavs-but the cultural, social, and religious ways of the Slavic majority prevailed.
Although the country is named “Bulgaria”, its people and culture are predominantly Slavic. The Bulgarian language is written in the Cyrillic alphabet and is closely related to that of the Russians, Slovaks, Serbs, and other Slavic peoples.
TURKS: From the late 1400s the IslamicOttoman Empire ruled Bulgaria for 400 years. Ethnic Turks had settled in the area centuries before that time and comprise 6 to 9% of Bulgaria’s population.
The overthrow in the 1870s of Turkish rule in the Balkans was violent and bloody, but for the most part, the Bulgarians live in peace with their Turkish neighbors.
POMAKS: Offspring of ethnic Bulgarians who converted to Islam under Ottoman rule. They speak Bulgarian rather than Turkish.
Altogether, Bulgaria is around 14% Muslim
GAGAUZ: In Bulgaria there are small numbers of Gagauz--the only indigenous Turkish Christian group in the world. Revival has taken place in the Gagauz district of Moldova, and they may be the key to evangelism in nations like Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Turkey.
ROMA: Also known as “Gypsies”, they constitute 3% of Bulgaria’s people. Shunned for centuries, the Gospel is being received by the Roma, and some are worshiping alongside their Bulgarian neighbors.
JEWS: Significant fact: Although Nazi Germany forced Bulgaria into an alliance in WW2, Bulgaria refused to send their Jews to Hitler’s death camps. Not one Jew was transported out.