The last king of Bulgaria, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, has also been the country’s prime minister. He had taken over as the king at 6, after his father’s mysterious death. He married a Spanish noble lady while in exile in Madrid and returned to Bulgaria 50 years after the abolition of monarchy.
Vasil Levski was a Bulgarian revolutionary who is considered a national hero in Bulgaria. Nicknamed the Apostle of Freedom, Vasil Levski strategized a revolutionary movement to free Bulgaria from the Ottoman rule. In a nationwide television poll conducted in 2007, Levski was voted as the greatest Bulgarian of all time.
Roman emperor (in the East) Galerius was a staunch pagan and opposed Christianity. He persuaded his predecessor Emperor Diocletian to issue an edict to initiate persecution of the Christians. After Galerius became Roman emperor (in the East), he continued persecution and eventually issued Edict of Toleration, officially ending Diocletianic Persecution of Christianity in the eastern part of the Roman Empire.
Todor Zhivkov was a Bulgarian communist statesman best remembered for his service as the Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 19 November 1962 to 7 July 1971. In 1949, Todor Zhivkov served as the mayor of Sofia. From 1954 to 1989, Zhivkov served as the People's Republic of Bulgaria's de facto leader.
Boyko Borisov is a Bulgarian politician best known for his service as the Prime Minister of Bulgaria. He has served three terms as the prime minister between 2009 and 2021. An important politician, Borisov also served as the Mayor of Sofia from 10 November 2005 to 27 July 2009.
Irina Bokova is a Bulgarian politician best known for her service as the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs from 13 November 1996 to 13 February 1997. An important member of UNESCO, Bokova has also served as a Director-General of UNESCO from 15 October 2009 to 10 November 2017. Bokova is the recipient of many prestigious awards like the Hilal-i-Pakistan Award.
Georgi Dimitrov was the first communist head of Bulgaria, serving as its prime minister after World War II. Starting as a trade union leader, he later played a key role in forming the Bulgarian Communist Party. He also won against Hitler, with his defense against the Reichstag fire accusations against him.
Alexander Joseph or Alexander of Battenberg was a prince of Bulgaria from 29 April 1879 to 7 September 1886. He was forced to abdicate in 1886 by pro-Russian Bulgarian Army officers during a coup d'état. After abdicating, Alexander went on to serve in the Austrian Army as a general.
Hristo Botev was a Bulgarian poet and revolutionary. Widely regarded as a national hero by Bulgarians, Botev was thought to be ahead of his peers in his aesthetic, philosophical, and political views. An influential and important figure in the history of Bulgaria, Botev has several monuments, schools, football clubs, and stadiums named after him.
Slavi Trifonov is a Bulgarian musician, TV host, and politician. An exponent of folklore music, Trifonov is credited with popularizing the traditional Bulgarian folk. He is also credited with founding a music band called Ku-Ku where he has performed as the frontman. Slavi Trifonov is also known for hosting a TV show called Late Night Show with Slavi Trifonov.
Bulgarian oligarch and politician Ahmed Dogan founded the centrist political party Movement for Rights and Freedoms and served as its Chairman from 1990 to 2013. He presently serves as its Honorary President. According to an official report of communist-era secret police collaborators, since August 1974, for over a decade, Dogan served as a paid agent of Committee for State Security.
Christian Rakovsky was a Bulgarian-born Bolshevik politician, socialist revolutionary, Soviet diplomat and statesman. A multi-talented personality, Rakovsky was also a physician, journalist, and essayist. An important and influential political figure, Christian Rakovsky served as the Soviet Ambassador to France from 1925 to 1927.
Rosen Plevneliev is a Bulgarian politician who served as the President of Bulgaria from 2012 to 2017. An important political figure, Plevneliev also served as the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works from 27 July 2009 to 9 September 2011.
Aleksandŭr Stamboliyski was a Bulgarian politician best remembered for his service as the Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 14 October 1919 to 9 June 1923. He was ousted from his position in a coup d'état and was subsequently tortured and killed on 14 June 1923.
Omurtag of Bulgaria reigned as the Great Khan of Bulgaria between 814 and 831. Nicknamed the Builder, Omurtag's reign was marked with a significant development of Bulgarian architecture as a number of ambitious construction projects were undertaken during his reign. Omurtag of Bulgaria also made strong administrative reforms which enhanced the authority and the power of the central government.
Petar Toshev Mladenov was a Bulgarian politician and diplomat. The last recognized leader of the People's Republic of Bulgaria, Mladenov also served briefly as the Republic of Bulgaria's first President in 1990. An influential political figure, Petar Toshev Mladenov also served as the Foreign Minister of Bulgaria from 13 December 1971 to 24 October 1989.
Yane Sandanski was a Macedonian-Bulgarian revolutionary who is recognized as a national hero in both Bulgaria and North Macedonia. He joined the Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization (IMARO) as a young man and later became one of its leaders. While he is portrayed by Macedonian historians as a freedom fighter, his legacy remains disputed.
Stefan Stambolov was a Bulgarian journalist, revolutionary, politician, and poet who served as the Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 1 September 1887 to 31 May 1894. Counted among the most popular and prominent founders of modern Bulgaria, Stambolov played a key role during the Balkan Wars; he helped initiate the cultural and economic progress in Bulgaria.
Mariya Gabriel is a Bulgarian politician and the current European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. An important member of the GERB political party, Mariya Gabriel is also known for her service as a Member of the European Parliament between 2009 and 2017.
Kiril, Prince of Preslav is best remembered for his role as the Prince Regent of Bulgaria from 1943 to 1944. The son of Ferdinand I of Bulgaria and Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma, Kiril was appointed Head of State in 1943 as Simeon II of Bulgaria, the late Tsar's son, was still a minor at the time of his father's death.
Valko Chervenkov was a Bulgarian politician best remembered for his service as the Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 1950 to 1956. His premiership was marked by rapid industrialization and large-scale persecution of political opponents. An important and influential politician, Valko Chervenkov also served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 20 July 1949 to 3 February 1950.
Korneliya Ninova is a Bulgarian politician and the current leader of the Socialist Party. She is best known for her service as the Deputy Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 13 December 2021 to 2 August 2022. An important political figure, Korneliya Ninova also served as the Minister of Economy and Industry from 13 December 2021 to 2 August 2022.
Georgi Parvanov is a Bulgarian politician and historian. He is best known for his service as the third President of Bulgaria from 2002 to 2012. In 2006, he became the first Bulgarian to serve two presidential terms as he was reelected in a landslide victory after his first term in office.
Iliana Iotova is a Bulgarian politician and the current Vice President of Bulgaria. From 2007 to 2017, Iotova was one of the Members of the European Parliament. Prior to her political career, Iliana Iotova worked as a reporter, editor, and news presenter at Bulgarian National Television.
Lyudmila Zhivkova was a Bulgarian political figure and important member of the Bulgarian Communist Party. She is best remembered for her work in preserving and nurturing Bulgarian arts and culture. Lyudmila Zhivkova's interest in Eastern culture and religious mysticism during the last 10 years of her life made her infamous within the former Soviet Bloc.
Regarded as one of the most successful Bulgarian prime ministers, Sergey Stanishev has also served the Party of European Socialists as its president. Known for his 13-year stint as the Bulgarian Socialist Party leader, he also holds a PhD in history and has been an international relations visiting fellow at LSE.
Desislava Radeva is the wife of Bulgarian President Rumen Georgiev Radev. Since 22 January 2017, Radeva has been serving as the First Lady of Bulgaria. Desislava Radeva is also credited with establishing a non-profit organization called Living Water of Bulgaria, which was founded in 2017.
Aleksandar Tsankov was a Bulgarian politician best remembered for his service as the Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 9 June 1923 to 4 January 1926. One of the most important Bulgarian politicians during the interwar period, Tsankov also served as the Prime Minister of the Bulgarian National Government-in-exile from 16 September 1944 to 10 May 1945.
Bulgarian poet Nikola Vaptsarov was also a Communist revolutionary. A trained machine engineer, he penned the iconic volume Motoring Verses. Starting his political journey as part of a worker rights movement at a factory he worked, he eventually died in the hands of fascists for his political activities.
Vladimir Stoychev was a Bulgarian diplomat, Colonel General, and Olympic equestrian. As part of the Bulgarian Army, Stoychev took part in the Balkan Wars and the First World War. In the interwar period, Vladimir Stoychev competed at the 1924 and 1928 Olympics as an equestrian. From 1952 to 1987, he served as a member of the International Olympic Committee.
Stefan Danailov was a Bulgarian actor and politician. He is best remembered for his service as the Minister of Culture of Bulgaria from August 2005 to July 2009. He is also remembered for playing important roles in numerous plays and films. Stefan Danailov also taught at the Theatre Academy in Sofia, where he served as a professor for 20 years.
Bulgarian far-right politician Volen Siderov founded the nationalist political-party Attack in 2005 and serves as its Chairman. He served as editor of several newspapers and wrote five books dedicated to global conspiracy theories. According to Siderov, who reportedly espouses anti-Masonic conspiracy theories, the world is controlled by a small group of freemasons through puppet heads, international organizations, and the press.
Tsetska Tsacheva is a Bulgarian politician and jurist. She is best known for her service as the Minister of Justice from May 2017 to April 2019. Tsetska Tsacheva also served as the Chairwoman of the National Assembly on two occasions; from 2009 to 2013 and again from 2014 to 2017.
Georgi Sava Rakovski was a Bulgarian revolutionary, writer, and freemason. He played an important role during the Bulgarian National Revival and took an active part in the resistance against Ottoman rule in Bulgaria. Georgi Sava Rakovski is best remembered for his work Gorski Patnik, which he wrote while hiding from Turkish authorities during the Crimean War.
Peter Delyan was a leader in the Theme of Bulgaria. He is best remembered for leading a revolt against Byzantine rule during the summer of 1040 in the Theme of Bulgaria. As the grandson of Tsar Samuel, Peter Delyan was proclaimed Tsar of Bulgaria. However, it was never ascertained whether he was in fact the grandson of Tsar Samuel.
Petar Stoyanov is a Bulgarian politician who served as the second President of Bulgaria from 22 January 1997 to 22 January 2002. While serving as the President, Petar Stoyanov signed a law electronically, becoming the first Head of state in the world to do so.
Born to Bulgarian communists in Russia, Andrey Lukanov had also seen his father become Bulgaria’s foreign minister. Andrey had been part of the communist and socialist parties and rose to become the country’s prime minister. He was shot dead outside his apartment, by an unknown gunman who was not captured.
Iconic Bulgarian poet and playwright Peyo Yavorov pioneered the Bulgarian symbolist movement. He was also a major figure of the Macedonian uprising against the Ottoman rule. His initial works had a sociopolitical theme, but he later ditched realism. He was 36 when he committed suicide by consuming poison and then shooting himself.
Fruzhin was a Bulgarian noble best remembered for his resistance against the Ottoman invasion of the Second Bulgarian Empire. He joined forces with Constantine II of Vidin and co-organized the Uprising of Konstantin and Fruzhin, the earliest Bulgarian resistance against the Ottoman rule.
Yordanka Fandakova is a Bulgarian politician who served as the Minister of Education and Science in 2009. On 8 November 2011, she was elected as the 64th Mayor of Sofia, becoming the first woman to serve in that position. Yordanka Fandakova worked as a teacher prior to her political career.
Maya Manolova is a Bulgarian politician who served as the Deputy Chairperson of the National Assembly of Bulgaria from 21 May 2013 to 6 August 2014. She also served as the National Ombudsman of Bulgaria from 20 October 2015 to 3 September 2019. Manolova is also known for leading a political movement called Stand Up.BG, which was founded in 2019.
Ekaterina Zakharieva is a Bulgarian politician who served as the Minister of Justice from 18 December 2015 to 27 January 2017. She then went on to serve as the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 4 May 2017 to 12 May 2021. Prior to her political career, Ekaterina Zakharieva worked as a lawyer and legal advisor.
Eva Maydell is a Bulgarian politician who has been serving as a Member of the European Parliament for Bulgaria since 1 July 2014. An important member of the GERB political party, Maydell became the first woman to be elected as the president of European Movement International in 2017. In 2016, she was featured in Forbes magazine's 30 under 30 list.
Andrei Liapchev served as the Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 4 January 1926 to 29 June 1931. He is remembered for signing the 1908 treaty which ensured Bulgarian independence. After World War I, Andrei Liapchev was elected as the Minister of War, becoming the first civilian to hold the office.
Reneta Indzhova is a Bulgarian politician best known for her service as the Acting Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 17 October 1994 to 25 January 1995. She is the only woman so far to hold this office in Bulgaria. During her time in office, Reneta Indzhova gained popularity for making efforts to fight organized crime.
George Ganchev was a Bulgarian politician and businessman. He is credited with founding the now-defunct political parties, George Ganchev's Bloc and the Bulgarian Business Bloc. George Ganchev is also remembered for writing, producing, and hosting a TV show called George in Action from 2000 to 2005.
Ivan Evstatiev Geshov served as the 18th Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 29 March 1911 to 14 June 1913. He was also recognized as one of Bulgaria's leading economic minds, enabling him to serve as Finance Minister of the country on several occasions.