The current flag of Bulgaria was adopted in 1991 when Bulgaria’s Constitution was readopted, although the original Bulgarian flag was adopted when Bulgaria gained independence following the Russo-Turkish War. The flag is rectangular with three horizontal stripes: a white stripe on the top, a green stripe in the middle, and a red stripe on the bottom.
The red and white stripes on the Bulgarian flag represent the pan-Slavic colors: red, white, and blue. When the Bulgarians designed their flag, however, they chose a green stripe in place of the traditional pan-Slavic blue to represent freedom.
Since the Bulgarian flag’s adoption in 1879, the flag has existed in two versions: with and without the emblem of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria. In 1879, after Bulgaria gained its independence during the Russo-Turkish War, the Tarnovo Constitution mandated that the Bulgarian flag consist of a horizontal tricolor with white, green, and red stripes. When Bulgaria was under the rule of the Bulgarian Communist Party and known as The People’s Republic of Bulgaria, the country used a horizontal tricolor flag with the emblem of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria placed on the left corner of the white stripe.
The emblem of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria depicts a rampant lion surrounded by a wreath of wheat. Above the lion is a red five-pointed star. Below the lion are the dates 681 and 1944. Asparunkh, ruler of the Bulgar tribe during the 7th century, founded the First Bulgarian Empire in 681. The Fatherland Front, a Bulgarian resistance movement that led to the start of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria, took control over Bulgaria in 1944, at the end of the World War II.
In 1991, the new Constitution of Bulgaria again mandated that the flag of Bulgaria be a simple horizontal tricolor of white, green, and red; and the emblem of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria was removed.