Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/499

This page needs to be proofread.


BULGARIA 451 establishments for the native manufactures of aba and branches at Philippopolis, Russe, Varna, and Trnovo. Besides the ordinary banking operations, it issues loans on mortshayak (rough and fine homespuns), and of gaitan (braided conducting There are several private banks in the country. The Imperial embroidery) are at Sliven and Gabrovo re- gage. Ottoman Bank and the Industrial Bank of Kiev have branches at tures " spectively. The Bulgarian homespuns, which Philippopolis and Sofia respectively. The agricultural chests, are made of pure wool, are of admirable quality. founded by Midhat Pasha in 1863, and reorganized in 1894, have The exportation of textiles is almost exclusively to Turkey : done much to rescue the peasantry from the hands of usurers. They serve as treasuries for the local administration, accept value in 1896, £104,046; in 1897, £116,250; in 1898, deposits at interest, and make loans to the peasants on mortgage £144,726. Unfortunately the home demand for native or the security of two solvent landowners at 8 per cent. Their fabrics is diminishing owing to foreign competition; the capital in 1887 was 14,231,440 leva; in 1898, 30,657,360 leva. smaller textile industries are declining, and the picturesque, The post-office savings banks, established 1896, have a capital of leva. There are over 200 registered provident societies durable, and comfortable costume of the country is giving 3,403,318 in the country. The legal rate of interest is 10 per cent., but way to cheap ready-made clothing imported from Austria. much higher rates are not uncommon. The Government has endeavoured to stimulate the home Bulgaria, like the neighbouring states of the Peninsula, has industry by ordering all persons in its employment to adopted the metric system. Turkish weights and measures, however, still largely employed in local commerce. The wear the native cloth, and the army is supplied almost monetary are unit is the lev, or “lion” (pi. leva), nominally equal to exclusively by the factories at Sliven. A great number of the franc, with its submultiple the stotinka (pi. -ki), or centime. small distilleries exist throughout the country; there are The coinage consists of nickel and bronze coins (2J, 5, 10, and 20 breweries in all the principal towns, tanneries at Sevlievo, stotinki) and silver coins (50 stotinki; 1, 2, and 5 leva). A gold was struck in 1893 with pieces corresponding to those of Varna, &c., numerous corn-mills worked by water and coinage the Latin Union. The Turkish pound and foreign gold coins steam, and saw-mills, turned by the mountain torrents, in are also in general circulation. The National Bank issues notes the Balkans and Rhodope. A certain amount of foreign for 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 leva, formerly payable in gold, but capital has recently been invested in industrial enterprises; since November 1899 payable in silver with the agio. Notes the most notable are a sugar-refinery in the neighbour- payable in silver are also issued. The gold premium has conhood of Sofia, and a cotton-spinning mill at Varna, on siderably increased in recent years. In 1878 the only railway in Bulgaria was the Russewhich an English company has expended about £60,000. The usages of internal commerce have been considerably Yarna line (221 kilometres) constructed by an English modified by the development of communications. The company in 1867. In Eastern Rumelia the line from Sarambey to Philippopolis and the Commerce Pr^m^ive system of barter in kind still exists Turkish frontier (196 kilometres), with a branch in the rural districts, but is gradually disappearing. The great fairs (panairi, iravgyvpeis) held at Eski- to Yamboli (106 kilometres) had been built by Baron Jumaia, Hajioloupazarjik, and other towns, which formerly Hirsch in 1873; it is now worked by the Oriental Railattracted multitudes of foreigners as well as natives, have ways Company. The construction of a railway from the lost much of their importance; a considerable amount of Servian frontier at Tzaribrod to the Eastern Rumelian business, however, is still transacted at these gatherings, of frontier at Yakarel was imposed on the principality by which ninety-seven were held in 1898. The principal the Berlin Treaty, but political difficulties intervened, and seats of the export trade are Varna, Burgas, and Baltchik the line, which touches Sofia, was not completed till on the Black Sea, and Svishtov, Russe, Nikopolis, Silistra, 1888. In that year the Bulgarian Government seized the Rakhovo, and Vidin on the Danube. The chief centres of short connecting line Yakarel-Belovo belonging to Turkey, distribution for imports are Varna, Sofia, Russe, Philip- and railway communication between Constantinople and popolis, and Burgas. About 10 per cent, of the exports the western capitals was established. Since that time passes over the Turkish frontier, but the Government is great progress has been made in railway construction. In making great efforts to divert the trade to Varna and 1888, 384 kilometres of State railways were open to Burgas, and important harbour works have been under- traffic; in 1893, 493 kilometres; in 1898, 681 kilometres; taken at both these ports. In 1887 the total value of and in December 1899, 1250 kilometres. All these lines Bulgarian foreign commerce was £4,419,589. The follow- are worked by the State, and, with the exception of the ing table gives the values for the six years ending 1899. Yakarel-Belovo line (46 kilometres), are its property. The The great fluctuations in the exports are due to the varia- completion of the important line Radomir-Sofia-Shumen tions of the harvest, on which the prosperity of the (November 1899) opened up the rich agricultural district between the Balkans and the Danube. Branches country practically depends :— to Samovit and Russe establish connexion with the Rumanian railway system on the opposite side of the river. It is hoped, with the consent of the Turkish Government, to extend the line Sofia-Radomir to Uskub, and thus to secure a direct route to Salonika and the Aegean. The total receipts of the State railways in 1898 were 5,103,554 leva ; working expenses, 5,598,053 leva. The expenditure on construction and purchase of railways and rolling stock up to the The principal exports are cereals, live stock, homespuns, year 1897 is given as 114,433,522 leva. Road communication is hides, cheese, eggs, attar of roses. Exports to the United still in an unsatisfactory condition. Roads are divided into classes : “State roads” or main highways, maintained by Kingdom in 1898 were valued at £413,668, in 1899 at three the Government; “district roads” maintained by the district £394,954. The principal imports are textiles, metal goods, councils ; and “inter-village roads” (mezhduselski shosseta), maincolonial goods, implements, furniture, leather, petroleum. tained by the communes. Of the first there are 4200 kilometres, Imports from the United Kingdom in 1898, £695,345 ; in of the second, 3515 kilometres. Repairs are effected by the corve6 requisitions of material; 1086 kilometres of new 1899, £493,736. The following is the average percentage systemarewith now in construction. There are no canals, and inland of imports from various countries in ten years (1888-97) roads navigation is confined to the Danube. The Austrian Donau^—from Austria-Hungary, 33'32

United Kingdom, 24'09; dampschiffartsgesellschaft and the Russian “Gagarine” steamTurkey, 12'70; Germany, 9 53; Russia, 5T8; France, ship company compete for the river traffic ; the grain trade is

largely served by steamers belonging to Greek merchants. The 4,56; Italy, 2‘36 ; Belgium, 2‘26; other countries, 6’0. coasting trade on the Black Sea is carried on by a Bulgarian The National Bank, a State institution with a capital of steamship company; the steamers of the Austrian Lloyd, and other 10,000,000 leva, has its central establishment at Sofia and foreign companies call at Yarna, and occasionally at Burgas.