Geography of Bulgaria

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					Geography of Bulgaria
The Republic of Bulgaria is a republic in the southeast of Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the
east, Greece and Turkey to the south, Serbia and Montenegro and the Republic of Macedonia to the
west, and Romania to the north along the river Danube. It is one of Europe's oldest countries.




                               Република България
                               Republika Bulgariya




                             National motto: Съединението прави силата
                                 (Bulgarian: Union provides strength)




                          Official Language Bulgarian
                          Capital             Sofia
                          President           Georgi Parvanov (BSP)
                          Prime Minister      Sergey Stanishev (BSP)
                          Area                Ranked 102nd
                          - Total             111,001.9 km²
                          - % water           0.3%
                          Population          Ranked 88th

                           - Total (2003)     7,537,929
                           - Density          67.9/km²
                          Independence        From the Ottoman
                                              Empire
                           - Gained
                          autonomy            March 3, 1878

                           - Declared         September 22, 1908
                          Currency            Lev
                          Time Zone           EET (UTC+2)
                          - in summer         EEST (UTC+3)

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History
In the late 7th century a branch of the Bulgars led by Khan Asparuh migrated into the northern
Balkans, where they merged with the local Slavic populaton and possibly remnants of the Thracian
population to form the first Bulgarian state in 681 AD. The Bulgarian empire was a significant
European power in the 9th and the 10th century, while fighting with the Byzantine Empire for the
control of the Balkans. The Bulgarian state was crushed by an assault by the Rus in 969 and
completely subdued by a determined Byzantine assault under Basil II in 1018.

It was re-established in 1185 and continued to be an important power in the European south-east
for two more centuries by fighting to assert its place in the region with the Byzantine Empire,
crushing the Crusader states in Greece, as well as Hungary. By the end of the 14th century the
country was overrun by the Ottoman Empire.

An autonomous Bulgarian principality comprising Moesia and the region of Sofia was established
in 1878 following the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-78. After uniting with Eastern Rumelia in 1885,
the principality was proclaimed a fully independent kingdom in 1908.

During 1912 and 1913 it became involved in the Balkan Wars, a series of conflicts with its
neighbours, during which Bulgarian territory varied in size. During World War I and later World
War II, Bulgaria found itself fighting on the losing side. Despite that fact, Bulgaria saved the lives
of its own 50,000 Jews from the Nazi death camps by refusing to comply with a 31 August 1943
resolution, which demanded their deportation to Auschwitz.

Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence after World War II and became a People's
Republic in 1946. Communist domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria again held multiparty
elections.

Bulgaria joined NATO on 29 March 2004 and is set to join the European Union on 1 January 2007
after signing the Treaty of Accession on 25 April 2005.




Politics
Executive

The president of Bulgaria (Georgi Purvanov since 22 January 2002) is directly elected for a 5-year
term with the right to one re-election. The president serves as the head of state and commander in
chief of the armed forces. The president is the head of the Consultative Council for National
Security and while unable to initiate legislation, the President can return a bill for further debate,
though parliament can overturn the president's veto with a simple majority vote.

The Council of Ministers is chaired by the Prime Minister (Sergey Stanishev since 16 August
2005), and is the principal body of the Executive Branch and presently consists of 20 ministers.
The Prime Minister is nominated by the largest parliamentary group and is given a mandate by the
President to form a cabinet.

The current governmental coalition is made of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), National
Movement Simeon II (NMS), and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (representing mainly the
Turkish minority).

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Legislative

The Bulgarian unicameral parliament, the National Assembly or Narodno Sabranie, consists of
240 deputies who are elected for 4-year-term stretches by popular vote. The votes are for party or
coalition lists of candidates for each of the twenty-eight administrative divisions. A party or
coalition must garner a minimum of 4% of the vote in order to enter parliament. Parliament is
responsible for enactment of laws, approval of the budget, scheduling of presidential elections,
selection and dismissal of the prime minister and other ministers, declaration of war, deployment
of troops outside of Bulgaria, and ratification of international treaties and agreements.

The last elections took place on 17th June 2001. The next elections are planned for summer 2005.

Judiciary

The Bulgarian judicial system consists of regional, district and appeal courts, as well as a Supreme
Court of Cassation. In addition, there is a Supreme Administrative Court and a system of military
courts. The Presidents of the Supreme Court of Cassation, Supreme Administrative Court and the
Prosecutor General are elected by a qualified majority of two thirds from all the members of the
Supreme Judicial Council and are appointed by the President of the Republic. The Supreme Juicial
Council is in charge of the self-administration and organisation of the Judiciary.

The Constitutional Court is in charge of reviewing the constitutionality of laws and statutes
brought before it, as well as the compliance of these laws with international treaties that the
Government has signed. Parliament elects the 12 members of the Constitutional Court by a two-
thirds majority, the members serve a nine-year term.

Regional and local government

The territory of the Republic of Bulgaria is divided into regions and municipalities. In all Bulgaria
has 28 regions, each headed by a regional governor appointed by the government. In addition, there
are 263 municipalties.




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Regions
Main article: Regions of Bulgaria




Regions of Bulgaria

Since 1999 Bulgaria consists of 28 regions (oblasti, singular - oblast), after having been subdivided
into 9 provinces since 1987. All are named after the regional capital, with the national capital itself
forming a separate region:

      Blagoevgrad              Lovech                 Ruse                    Stara Zagora
      Burgas                   Montana                Shumen                  Targovishte
      Dobrich                  Pazardzhik             Silistra                Varna
      Gabrovo                  Pernik                 Sliven                  Veliko Tarnovo
      Haskovo                  Pleven                 Smolyan                 Vidin
      Kardzhali                Plovdiv                Sofia                   Vratsa
      Kyustendil               Razgrad                Sofia Region            Yambol




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Blagoevgrad Province
Blagoevgrad (formerly Gorna Cumaya, Turkish Cuma-i Bala) is a province of south western
Bulgaria. It borders Greece and Republic of Macedonia and lies on the Struma River, which is the
natural link between Greece and
Bulgaria. The area is part of the
wider Macedonian region, and is
also known as Pirin Macedonia.
The province has a territory of
6449.5 km2 and population of 339
790. There are 14 municipalities
with 12 towns. Its major city is
Blagoevgrad, while other towns
include:

            Bansko
            Gotse Delchev
            Melnik
            Petrich
            Razlog
            Sandanski
            Simitli



Bansko (Банско) is a small Bulgarian town in the district of Blagoevgrad, located at the foot of the
Pirin mountain at an altitude of 936 m above sea level. The town is situated at the crossroads of
important routes from Central Bulgaria to Greece.

Bansko is a center of winter and summer tourism. The mountain peaks near the town, the
numerous lakes, the old pine woods make it a popular place for recreation, sport and tourism and in
recent years the town has gained international popularity through the booming development of
tourism and cultural events such as the prestigious annual Bansko Jazz Festival. The nearby village
Banya, located only 5 km from the town, is famous for its 27 thermal mineral springs.

A new gondola lift was installed during 2003 which now means you can get up to the ski-runs from
the town in about 10 mins on the lift instead of the previous 45 minute minibus ride up twisty
roads. This, along with an expansion of new housing around the gondola (which is on the south
west edge of the town by the river) means Bansko can expect significant growth over the next few
years. Bansko is currently cracked up to be the premier skiing resort in Bulgaria.



Gotse Delchev (Гоце Делчев), population 23,573, is a town in Southwestern Bulgaria (Pirin
Macedonia).

It is named after the Bulgarian revolutionary Gotse (Georgi) Nikolov Delchev. The town was
called Nevrokop (in Greek: Νεσροκόπι) prior to its current name.

Nearby are the remains of a walled city established by the Romans in the 2nd century AD to
celebrate victories over the Dacians. The town was called Nikopolis Ad Nestrum. There has been
archeological work on the site, which ceased for lack of funds 20 years ago.
                                                                                                   5
                                                    Melnik (Мелник) is the smallest town in the
                                                    Republic of Bulgaria and is located in the
                                                    Blagoevgrad Province, in the Southwestern
                                                    Pirin Mountains, about 440 m above sea level.
                                                    The town is an architectural reserve and 96 of
                                                    its buildings are cultural monuments.




                                                    History
                                                     According to archaeological evidence, the first
to settle in the area were the Thracians. Centuries later, the presence of the Romans left the town
one of its landmarks - the Ancient Roman bridge, which is still preserved. The Slavs who later
came in these parts named the settlement "Melnik" after the sand formations surrounding it on all
sides (the Slavonic word "mel" means "white clay, chalk"). Melnik became a part of the Bulgarian
state under the rule of Khan Presian (836-852) and prospered greatly in the period. Melnik became
the capital of an independent feudal principality ruled by Despot Slav, a descendant of the Asen
dynasty, in 1209, and passed through an economic and cultural upsurge during his reign. The town
continued to flourish under Tzar Ivan Asen II because of the duty-free trade with Venetian-ruled
Dubrovnik.

The Ottoman conquest of the Balkans in the XIV-XV centuries resulted in a long period of decline,
but Melnik was once again a thriving city in the XVII-XVIII centuries, the time of the Bulgarian
National Revival, due to the tobacco and wine production. In that time Melnik was also a centre of
craftsmanship, particularly church decoration and woodcarving. Many Bulgarian schools and
churches were built in Melnik in that period.




The astounding "sand pyramids"

Melnik was freed by the Russian army during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, but was given
back to the Ottoman Empire according to the Treaty of Berlin. The town was devastated by a fire
in the First Balkan War, during which it was ultimately freed and became once again part of
Bulgaria.

Sights
The unique architecture of the place and the nearby Rozhen Monastery (located 6 km southeast of
Melnik) make it a popular tourist spot for Bulgarian and foreign visitors. The town is also

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associated with the impressive natural "sand pyramids" in various forms, resembling giant
mushrooms, anciant towers and obelisks, spread in an area of 17 km² near Melnik, Kurlanovo and
Rozhen. The town has also been famous for its strong wine since as far as 1346. The local wine is
reportedly a favorite of Winston Churchill.




The Kordopulov House in winter                         Typical local houses and scenery


Interesting architectural landmarks include the Byzantine House, one of the oldest civilian
buildings in the Balkans (built probably in the XII-XIII centuries as a Bulgarian fortress), the
Kordopulov House, which also has one of the largest wine cellars in Melnik, the Pashov House
(1815), which houses the Historical Museum of Melnik and the Pasha's House, built by Ibrahim
Bey, one of the richest beys in the region, during the Ottoman rule. Some of the old churches in the
town worth visiting are "St. Nicholas" (built in the XIII century), "Sts. Peter and Paul" (1840), "St.
Nikolai, The Miracle Worker" (1756) and "St. Anton".


Petrich is a small town in the Blagoevgrad district in Bulgaria, located at the foot of the Belasitza.

Blagoevgrad (Bulgarian Благоевград) is a town in Bulgaria, with a population of about 76,000. It
is named after the founder of the Bulgarian communist party, Dimitar Blagoev. The city is the
administrative center of Blagoevgrad oblast, and arguably the economic and cultural center of
Southwestern Bulgaria. It is located at the foot of the Rila and Pirin mountains, about 100 km south
of Sofia, close to the Greek and Macedonian borders.

The city features a pedestrian downtown with preserved 19th century architecture and numerous
restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, and boutiques. Blagoevgrad is home to two universities:
Southwestern University "Neofit Rilski" and the American University in Bulgaria.

The city's football club is PFC Pirin with President Georgi Aitov - Guleto, a famous player from
the near past.

Razlog is a small town in the Blagoevgrad district.

Sandanski is a small town in the Blagoevgrad district.

Simitli is a small town in the Blagoevgrad district in Bulgaria.




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Burgas Province
Burgas province or oblast is located
in south-eastern Bulgaria, on the
southern Black Sea coast. Its capital
is the city of Burgas.

Burgas province is subdivided into
the following municipalities
(obshtina) and towns:




Aytos municipality
Aytos, Dryankovets, Zetyovo, Karageorgievo, Karanovo, Lyaskovo, Malka Polyana, Maglen,
Peshtersko, Pirne, Polyanovo, Raklinovo, Sadievo, Topolitsa, Cherna Mogila, Chernograd,
Chukarka


Aytos




Ancient Rocks, Aytos


                                                   Crafts' Alley, Aytos

Aytos municipality is located in the eastern part of the Republic of Bulgaria and belongs to the
administrative boundaries of Burgas Province. It is bounded by the following municipalities: to the
north - by Ruen, to the west - by Karnobat, to the south and south-east - by Burgas, and to the east
- by Pomorie. It includes the southern slopes of the Eastern part of the Balkans and the valley of
Aytoska river. Its terrain is predominantly plain.

The geographic location determines the special significance of the municipality as a transport
junction, through which the road nets between Northern Bulgaria and Southern Bulgaria in this
part of the country are achieved. Main road №1 and railway road Sofia-Burgas passes through it.
Its good transport characteristics is determined as well by the fact that it is only 28 km far from
Burgas. The transport junctions with the countries of the Black sea zone and the Near East are
accomplished through the biggest port on the Black Sea and Burgas airport. The construction of the
road section Aytos - Maglen with direction towards the resort complex Sunny Beach will bring the
municipality nearer in a transport aspect to this huge consumer centre.



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History
The region of the municipality has a rich history. The archeological finds near the town of Aytos
testify that its existence dates back to the V century BC. Khan Tervel is the first Bulgarian ruler of
Aytos.

The fortress Aetos has taken a crucial part in the defensive system of the Bulgarian lands against
the sudden attacks of the Tartars, the Avars and the Crusaders. In 1378 the town has been
conquered by the armies of Murad sultan. During the Russian-Turkish War (1828-1829) the
legendary general Dibich Zabalkanski has turned the town into a strategic strong point. After the
peace signed in Odrin in 1829 many of its citizens have moved to Besarabia.

During the Renaissance the population participates actively in the national struggles for liberation.
Vasil Levski organizes a revolutionary committee in the town. After The Liberation Aytos has
become a vivid commercial centre, bigger than Burgas. A big fair is held here. The first girls'
agricultural school in the country has been established as well.

Recreation and Tourism
Few towns in Bulgaria can boast of a big park such as Slaveeva Reka. It has given a shelter to The
Small Aytos Etar "Old Crafts' Alley", which has treasured the traditional Aytos styles in the
construction. The complex has a hotel base, tavern and a cafe, of service to the guests.




Burgas municipality
Banevo, Bratovo, Bryastovets, Burgas, Balgarovo, Dimchevo, Draganovo, Vetren, Izvorishte,
Marinka, Mirolyubovo, Ravnets, Rudnik, Tvarditsa, Cherno More

Burgas (or Bourgas, Bulgarian: Бургас Greek: Pirgos, Πσργος) is the second largest city on the
Bulgarian Black Sea coast. It is also the fourth largest city in the country, following Sofia, Plovdiv
and Varna. It is the capital of Burgas Province. Burgas is an industrial and tourist center. Burgas
International Airport is a connecting point to major Black Sea resorts in Bulgaria like Sunny
Beach, Nesebar, Sozopol, Dyuni, Elenite, etc.

History




Alexander Severus coin celebrating the Flavian colony of Deultum.

Burgas is a successor of the Roman city of Deultum (later named Develt), founded by Emperor
Vespasian as a military colony for veterans.



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Besides Deultum, the present-day city expands over the area of three other ancient settlements:
Kastiacion, Skafida and Rossokastron. In the Middle Ages a small fortress called Pirgos (Πύργος is
the Greek word for tower) was erected in the place and was most probably used as a watchtower. It
was only in 17th century that a city named Ahelo-Burgas grew in the present-day area of the city.
It was later renamed to Burgas and had only about 3,000 inhabitants at the time of the Liberation.
Soon it became a major center on the Southern Black Sea coast and a city of well-developed
industry and trade. A number of oil and chemical companies were gradually built. Salt and iron are
also mined here and traded far beyond the borders of the country. In 1903 the railway station in
Burgas started functioning as well, giving an additional boost to the city's expansion.



Sunny Beach (Bulgarian: Слънчев Бряг, Slânchev Bryag) is a town on the Black Sea coast of
Bulgaria, located approximately 35 km north of Burgas in Obshtina Nessebar, Burgas Oblast. It is
Bulgaria's biggest and most popular holiday resort, and is home to over 120 hotels. It has been
undergoing continuous expansion for many years.

Sunny Beach has a very small permanent population, but during the summer the town is home to
many thousands of tourists. The main strip of high-rise hotels backing onto the beach is several
kilometres long and extends along a wide bay between Sveti Vlas and Nessebar.

The climate of the area is Mediterranean, explaining Sunny Beach's popularity with tourists since
before the fall of communism. Since that time the resort's popularity has grown among German
holidaymakers, who add to the already large numbers of Bulgarian and Russian visitors. More
recently, Sunny Beach has begun to attract the attention of British and Scandinavian tourists, for
whom it is a more affordable alternative to the established Mediterranean resorts.

Attractions for tourists include the beach, watersports, nightlife, and the nearby historical site of
Nessebar. Sunny Beach is popular with both families and young people.

The English name Sunny Beach is not an invented marketing term but a translation of the town's
Bulgarian name. Similarly, Sunny Beach is known in German as Sonnenstrand.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunny_Beach"

Balgarovo (Bulgarian Българово) is a town in Southeastern Bulgaria. It is located in Burgas oblast
and is close to the town of Kameno.




Sredets municipality
Belevren, Belila, Bistrets, Bogdanovo, Varovnik, Golyamo Bukovo, Gorno Yabalkovo, Granitets,
Granichar, Sredets, Debelt, Dolno Yabalkovo, Draka, Drachevo, Dyulevo, Momina Tsarkva,
Zagortsi, Zornitsa, Kirovo, Kubadin, Malina, Orlintsi, Prohod, Panchevo, Radoynovo, Rosenovo,
Svetlina, Sinyo Kamene, Slivovo, Suhodol, Valchanovo, Fakiya

Malina is a solar deity in Inuit mythology. She is found most commonly in the legends of
Greenland. Legends about Malina link her closely with the lunar deity Anningan, her brother.
Malina is constantly fleeing from Anningan as the result of strife between the two (legends vary as
to the cause). Their constant chase is the traditional explanation for the movement of the sun and
moon through the sky.

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Story
According to Inuit mythology, Malina and her brother Anningan lived together in a village. They
were very close when young, but came to live apart as they grew older, in the lodges for women
and for men. One night, as everyone slept, a man crept into the women's dwelling and forced
Malina. As it was dark, Malina was unable to tell who it was, but the next night, when the same
thing happened, Malina covered her hands with the soot from the lamps and smeared the man's
face with it. Afterwards, she took a lamp and looked through the skylight of the men's lodge. She
was surprised to find that the man was her own brother. So Malina sharpened her knife and cut off
her breasts. She put them in a bowl and carried this to the men's lodge, and presented it to her
brother, saying "If you enjoy me so much, then eat these," and ran away out the door, grabbing a
torch as she went. Her brother chased after her, likewise taking a torch, and was able to easily
follow her path, as her footsteps were marked with great pools of blood. However, he tripped and
dropped his torch, and the flame was put out, except for a faint glow. Eventually however,
Anningan caught up to his sister, and the two ran so fast that they took off into the sky and became
the moon and the sun.




Kameno municipality
Vinarsko, Vratitsa, Zhelyazovo, Kameno, Krastina, Livada, Konstantinovo, Polski Izvor,
Rusokastro, Svoboda, Troyanovo, Trastikovo, Cherni Vrah

Karnobat municipality
Asparuhovo, Detelina, Venets, Glumche, Devetak, Devetintsi, Dobrinovo, Dragantsi, Dragovo,
Ekzarh Antimovo, Zheleznik, Zhitosvyat, Zimen, Iskra, Karnobat, Klikach, Kozare, Krumovo
Gradishte, Krushovo, Madrino, Nevestino, Ognen, Raklitsa, San-Stefano, Sigmen, Sokolovo,
Sarnevo, Smolnik, Hadzhiite, Tserkovski, Cherkovo

Karnobat, a city in the Burgas Province, Karnobat Municipality of Bulgaria.

Location: Karnobat municipality is located in the south-eastern part of the Republic of Bulgaria
and it is included in the administrative territorial boundaries of Burgas region. Rishki passage
connects the municipality with North Bulgaria.

A part of Karnobat-Aitos Balkan is located in the northern part of the territory.. Hisar hills raise to
the south of the town of Karnobat. The municipal territory of Karnobat municipality is 806 km²,
87.37% of which is agricultural land, 9.81% forest land and 2.82% residential areas.

History of Karnobat
The Karnobat region, located in front of the south approaches of the Rishki and Varbishki passes,
features an ancient history, dating as back as the Neolith era. Villages and tumuli reveal traces of
life from the neolithic and the Iron Age, rich settlement life during the antiquity and Middle Ages.

The first information for Karnobat was written in 1153 and included in The Geography by
Muhammad al-Idrisi—an Arabian traveller and scientist. The historical sources show that since the
                                                                                               11
19th century up to present days the town has always been an administrative, economic and
commercial centre with a traditional yearly fair.

The town of Karnobat was mentioned under different names in the documents from the Turkish
registers and travel notes: Karinovassa. Karinabad, Karnovo…

After the foundation of the Bulgarian state in 681, because of its exceptional role, the lands of the
Karnobat region were field of many battles between Bulgaria and Byzantium. Markeli fortress, a
south Episcopal and military center, located 7.5 km west of Karnobat, has been the most significant
place of interest since the times of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. During the Ottoman rules, the
town was an important administrative and trade center included in the Silistra district. The fact that
the Bulgarian priest Stoiko Vladislavov (known as Sofronii Vrachanski, one of the prominent men
of the Bulgarian national revival) performed the service in Karnobat parish is indicative of the
revival processes that took place in the region from 1791 to 1792.

During the Renaissance Karnobat became the rallying point for cultural and educational
development of the region. St. Yoan Theologian Church was built in 1838. Razvitie Reading Club
(now St. Kiril i Metodii Reading Club) one of the first reading clubs in South-Eastern Bulgaria was
established in 1862 and a non-clerical school was opened in 1864.

The town had a significant contribution to the religious struggles during the Renaissance—in the
19th century the active and public-spirited citizens of Karnobat expelled the bishop of Anhialo and
in this way they completely eliminated the Greek influence.

During the Russian-Turkish war (1877-1878) the region became a victim of outrageous bashi-
bazouks and Circassians.

The Liberation of Karnobat on 24 January 1878 gave grounds for huge social and economic
reforms. The town strengthened its positions as a cultural and educational center. About 22
periodicals reflect its new appearance.

Population
According to the data of the carried out census of the population on 04.12.1992 (4 December 1992
or April 4, 1992) the constant population in Karnobat municipality has been 32 868 and in the end
of 1999 it has been 31,444. From the period since 1965 up to now the population has constantly
decreased. Basically this is due to the migrations and the worsen age structure in some of the
villages in the municipality—Devetnitsi, Kozare, Dobrinovo, San Stefano. In the process of the
mechanical movement major part of the migrating population has been orientated to the municipal
centre and a small part of the municipality.

Residential Areas
Karnobat municipality includes in its administrative territory totally 30 residential places - 1 town
and 29 villages, with population of 31,444 persons in 1999, 21,557 of which live in the municipal
centre the town of Karnobat. Among the villages only Ekzarh Antimovo is with a population over
1000 people. With a population of 500 to 1000 people are the villages of Iskra, Krumovo,
Gradishte, Klikach and Nevestino. The rest villages are with a population under 500 persons. With
population under 100 people is only the village of Kozare. The residential areas are 22.74 km²,
which represents 2.8% of the municipal territory (806 km²). Housing areas of 9.445 km² cover
41.5% of the fund. The lands in the residential areas under cultivation and used for private industry
are 8.377 km² (36.8%).
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The average population density of is 1400 people per square kilometer, or average 710 m² of
residential territory per a resident. Only two of the villages are with indexes which are near to the
average for the municipality. The typical density of residence is up to 10 people/ha gross density of
residence.

Museums
The museum house ―Dimitar Polyanov‖ is the only preserved and reconstructed renaissance house,
built in the 70s of ХІХ century. The museum exhibition has been established on 23.11.1973 and
possesses a fund, which contains belongings, documents, works and letters of the writer D.
Polyanov, born in the town of Karnobat, as well as property of his family, necessities of life. In the
museum and in the nearby located and recently constructed similar house exhibition of the
ethnographic way of living in the region and of the famous authors from the town is in a process of
establishment.

The historical museum in the town has been established in 1921 as an archeological collection. Its
creator is the explorer with many years of service, a principal of the local high school Atanas
Ignatiev Karaivanov. Since 1953 it has become a state museum with three departments -
"Archeology", "Ethnography" and "New History". In 1992 "Nature" department has been
established as well. It is located in a separate building in the southern park in the town, next to the
zoo.

Culture
Cultural club "Dimitar Polyanov" has a city library, a picture gallery named after the world famous
Bulgarian painter Bencho Obreshkov, born in Karnobat. The cultural club hall is with 310 seats
and the movie hall beside it - with 460 places. To the cultural club, there is an amateur mixed choir
with about 50 singers, which in 1992 celebrated 90 years since its establishment. In 1993 a cultural
club ensemble for folk songs and dances has been established as well. Recently the variety and
satiric ensemble to the cultural club celebrated 75 years of its establishment. Within the days of the
traditional annual May festivals of culture the municipal folk festival is held as well.

Historical landmarks
MEDIEVAL FORTRESS MARKELY - situated 7.5 km to the west of the town on a hill by
Mochuritsa river. The archeological excavations, which have started in 1986 have found a
medieval basilica from VІ century, an ancient Bulgarian church from Х century, a Byzantine
church from ХІ century. The medieval town has been an important strategic centre from a military
point of view as well as a commercial and economic centre with a key role in the earlier history of
the Bulgarian-Byzantine relations. Here is the place of the victorious battle of khan Kardam against
the Byzantines.


SINABEY HAMAM - a Turkish public bath in the south (ancient ) part of the town of the last
quarter of ХV century. It is one of the most ancient entirely preserved buildings in South Bulgaria.


THE CLOCK TOWER - it is located near by the public bath and has been built in 1874 as a town
symbol of the Revival of the prosperous commercial crafts centre.



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KOSTEN CHURCH - 20 km to the north of Karnobat, in the village of Kosten, with a preserved
architectural style of the Revival and an interesting mystically-religious stone plastic arts. The
situated near by bust-sculpture of the famous Bulgarian man from the Revival Sofronii Vrachenski
connects the church with an interesting event of his life since the end of ХVІІІ century, when he
has serviced in Karnobat parish still as a priest Stoyko Vladislavov.

THE CHURCH ―ST.. YOAN THEOLOGIAN‖ - built up after 1878 by Tryavna master Gencho
Kanev. It impresses with original architectural elements and its wood-craved iconostasis, prepared
by masters from Debar school, which is second of importance in South Bulgaria after the
iconostasis in the church ―St. Virgin Mary‖ in Pazardzhik. The church feast is in the day of its
patron saint.

THE MOSQUE since 1821

JEWISH GRAVES - a Jewish necropolis 1 km. to the south of the town, with one of the richest in
Bulgaria plastic arts and written information for the Jewish colony.


Creative artists, born in Karnobat with a certain contribution to national culture:

DIMITAR POLYANOV (4.X.1876 - 25.IX.1953). A poet, a writer, a translator, an editor, a
creative artist of significant importance for the Bulgarian literature.

IVAN KARANOVSKI (5.IV.1882 - 22.X.1960). A literary critic, a writer, a national country
researcher , who has represented in his creation events and problems, topical for the first ten years
of XX. A participant in the establishment of Bulgarian Writer's Union.

MINKO NEVOLIN (2.I.1881 - 13.IX.1972). A poet and a writer. The most significant are his
fiction and document novelettes - memories of the Preobrazhensko/Reform revolt, which has
turned him into a chronicler of Straldzha inhabitants struggle.

BENCHO OBRESHKOV (27.IV.1899 - 8.IV.1970). A world famous modern artist, educated in
the Artist's academy, a person nominated with the most prestigious Bulgarian and international
rewards.

NENCHO SAVOV (31.VII.1896 - 29.XII.1991). A poet, a writer and a publicist. He writes poetry,
narratives and humor for adults. His greatest achievements are in the sphere of children's fiction, to
which he has dedicated more than 50 years. He is brother of Minko Nevolin.

ZHECHKO POPOV (20.VI.1933 - 8.IX.1996). He works in the sphere of graphic art, plastic art,
illustration and modeling of the book. An inseparable part of his permanent presence in the cultural
life are his researches on the Revival problems and especially aspects from Vasil Levski's life and
activity.


Traditional cultural activities of national significance in Karnobat:

―With the songs of Staika Gyokova‖ - Thracian Folk Song Competition of national significance –
in May.

National Cinema Festival of the alternative cinema – in September.

                                                                                                   14
Town‘s Holidays – 26th September.

Educational centres
Children's centres

12 kindergarten, 2 united children's centres and 2 full day kindergarten, which are visited by 680
children function in the municipality.

There are 2 secondary schools of general education, 2 secondary professional schools, 7 primary
and 3 elementary schools, one inter school centre, where about 4200 pupils study on the territory of
the municipality. The pedagogical personnel in the municipal schools is 368 persons, and the non
pedagogical one - 151persons.

The technical college of agricultural mechanization is directly subordinated to the Ministry of
Agriculture and Forests and it prepares specialists of secondary education for occupation in
agriculture. The college of clothing prepares technologists and tailors who can find a job in the
companies which function in the municipality. In the secondary schools of general education there
is a specialized language education and a four-year education of managers.

In a demographic aspect the number of children constantly decreases, which leads to a reduction in
the number of classes and closing down of the schools. This requires a new attitude of the
municipality toward the management of the released municipal property.

Scientific Institutes

The only Scientific research institute for barley, in the country is established in 1925. It is located
in the municipality, researches and implements new Bulgarian sorts of barley and winter common
wheat. Scientific researches of genetics, selection and seed growing, ecology and vegetation
protection, on problems of crop-rotation, fertilizing and soil processing are held.

Concerning stock-breeding an experimental bases established where new types are originated and
are given for breeding stock of the type ―Karnobat fine-fleeced sheep‖.


Source: http://bulgaria.domino.bg/karnobat/eng/

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karnobat"




Malko Tarnovo municipality
Bliznak, Brashlyan, Byala Voda, Vizitsa, Gramatikovo, Evrenozovo, Zabernovo, Zvezdets,
Kalovo, Malko Tarnovo, Mladezhko, Slivarovo, Stoilovo

Tsarevo municipality
Ahtopol, Brodilovo, Balgari, Varvara, Velika, Izgrev, Kondolovo, Kosti, Lozenets, Tsarevo,
Rezovo, Sinemorets, Fazanovo

                                                                                                    15
Ahtopol (Bulgarian Ахтопол) is a town on the Southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is located
in Burgas oblast and is close to Turkey.

Bulgarian Black Sea Coast




The Bulgarian Black Sea Coast covers the whole eastern border of Bulgaria. Black Sea Coast
beaches occupy approximately 130 km of the 378 km coast.

The area's average air temperature in the summer is about 28°C, with the average water
temperature at 25°C. There are more than 240 hours of sunshine in May and September and more
than 300 hours in July and August.

The Balkan Mountains cross the country reaching to the edge of the Black Sea, dividing the
costline from south to north. Bulgaria's northern Black Sea Coast features rocky headlands where
the sea abuts cliffs up to 70 metres in height. The southern coast is known for its wide sandy
beaches.

The largest city on Bulgarian Black Sea Coast is Varna (also the third largest city in Bulgaria),
located on the northern part of the coast. Another big city is Bourgas, located on the southern coast.



Varvara is a very small village on the Black Sea coast of Burgas, Bulgaria, between the towns of
Tsarevo and Ahtopol, near the border with Turkey. The village is best known for its intellectual
community of artists and writers. Many young artists came to Varvara in the 1970s and 1980s and
populated a small camp called "Morskiat Klub" (The sea club) which the Academy of Arts in Sofia
had purchased for them. Over the years a larger group of artists established themselves in Varvara
and started to buy real estate and build a small community. Today famous Bulgarian household
names like Pavel "Palio" Weshenov, Zezo Gyurov, Der Buergermeister, Stoian Botchev, Lino,
Nikifor and Tshapkanov all have homes in Varvara.

Many fishermen also live in the tiny village. Half of the population is Roma, who have lived there
for many many years. Besides fishing, the major source of income today is tourism. There is a
sandy beach, 12 hotels and 11 bars and restaurants, in what is considered one of the most remote

                                                                                                   16
destinations in Bulgaria. Varvara now also has a new small church that was built recently in a
combined effort by locals and famous Bulgarians.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varvara"

Tsarevo (formerly Vassiliko and Michurin) is a resort and fishing town on the Bulgarian Black Sea
Coast, situated on three small coves 72 km southeast of Bourgas, at the eastern foot of the
                                                               Strandzha Mountain. The town is
                                                               the administrative centre of the
                                                               Tsarevo Municipality, part of the
                                                               Burgas Province. Tsarevo's harbour
                                                               is the southernmost one on the
                                                               Bulgarian coast and is declared an
                                                               international harbour in 1995.




Nesebar municipality
Banya, Sveti Vlas, Gyulyovtsa, Emona, Koznitsa, Kosharitsa, Nesebar, Obzor, Orizare,
Panitsovo, Priseltsi, Ravda, Rakovskovo, Slanchev Bryag, Tankovo

Banya is a village in South- East Bulgaria, situated in the Burgas region (since 1999). It is situated
at the foot of the Eastern part of the Balkan Mountains, 6 km from the Black Sea Coast.

Banya is 18 km away from Sunny beach (the largest Bulgarian sea resort), 25 km from the ancient
Nesebar and 50 km from Burgas and Varna - the biggest Bulgarian administrative centres on the
Black Sea Coast.

The village has been populated by Turkish coal merchants and Greek fishermen until the 1910's.
Gradually, the original inhabitants have been evicted and Bulgarian settlers from Asia Minor coast
and the Aegean Macedonia moved in.

Irakli, the nearest beach, is one of the last remaining non-commercially developed beaches in
Bulgaria. It is a place of unparallelled and unspoilt beauty, a lush fine sandy beach of nearly 4 km,
backed by low shrubbery and forest growth.

Frequented by an 'in-crowd' in the summer months it is largely deserted October to May.

Recently an influx of expats, mainly from the UK started shaping a small community - currently
numbering about 10 families, some of them permanent settlers.

Source: [www.bourgas.org/banya][Radostin Popov]


                                                                                                   17
Nesebar (Несебър), previously known as Mesembria (Greek: Μεσημβρια) and before that as
Menebria, is an ancient city on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, located in Nesebar municipality,
Burgas Oblast.

In modern times Nesebar is a major tourist attraction in what has become a popular area with
several large resorts—the largest, Sunny Beach, is situated immediately to the north of Nesebar.

Nesebar has on several occasions found itself on the frontier of a threatened empire, and as such it




is a town with a rich history. The ancient part of the town is situated on a peninsula connected to
the mainland by a man-made isthmus, and it bears evidence of occupation by a variety of different
civilisations over the course of its existence. Its abundance of historic buildings prompted
UNESCO to inscribe Nesebar on its list of World Heritage Sites in 1983.

History




Church of Christ Pantocrator   Church of St John Aliturgetos       Wooden houses on Nesebar's
                                                                      peninsula

The town has been settled for over 3000 years, and was originally a Thracian settlement known as
Menebria. A wall which formed part of the Thracian fortifications can still be seen on the north
side of the peninsula. The town became a Greek colony at the beginning of the 6th century BC, and
was an important trading centre from then on. Remains from the Hellenistic period, when the town
was known as Mesembria, include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, and an agora.

The town fell under Roman rule in 71 BC, yet continued to enjoy privileges such as the right to
mint its own coinage. It was one of the most important strongholds of the Byzantine Empire from
the 5th century AD onwards, and was fought over by Greeks and Bulgarians, being captured in 812
by Khan Krum after a two week siege.

Monuments from the Middle Ages include the 9th-century Stara Mitropolia, a basilica without a
transept; the 10th-century church of the Virgin; and the 11th-century Nova Mitropolia, which
continued to be embelished until the 18th century. In the 13th and 14th century a remarkable series
of churches were built: St Theodore, St Paraskeva, St Michael and St Gabriel, and St John
Aliturgetos.

The capture of the town by the Turks in 1453 marked the start of the its decline, but its
architectural heritage remained, and was enriched from the 19th century by the construction of
wooden houses in the Plovdiv style typical of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast during this period.
                                                                                                 18
Sveti Vlas (Свети Влас) is a village on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, located in Obshtina
Nessebar, Burgas Oblast.

It has grown as a tourist resort in recent times, serving as a quieter alternative to nearby Sunny
Beach. The gap between the two places is shrinking as more hotels are built along the coast. Sveti
Vlas lies at the northern end of a bay which has Sunny Beach in its middle and the ancient town of
Nessebar at its southern end.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sveti_Vlas"

Gyulyovtsa (Bulgarian: Гюльовца) is a village in South- East Bulgaria, situated in Obshtina
Nessebar, in the Burgas region.

Emona is a village in southeast Bulgaria, situated in Obshtina Nessebar in the Burgas region. The
beach Irakli is 5 km from Emona. Emona lies close to Cape Emine.

Emona is famous for being the birthplace of the Thracian king Rez who fought in the Trojan War.
According to Homer's Iliad he was killed by Odysseus and Diomedes.

Koznitsa is a village in South- East Bulgaria, situated in Obshtina Nessebar, in the Burgas
Province.

Kosharitsa is a village in South- East Bulgaria, situated in Obshtina Nessebar, in the Burgas
region.

Obzor is a town in Bulgaria on the Black Sea coast. The Thracian name of Obzor is Navlohos. The
ancient Romans named it Templum Iovis (Temple of Jupiter).

Orizare is a village in South- East Bulgaria, situated in Obshtina Nessebar, in the Burgas region.

Panitsovo is a village in South- East Bulgaria, situated in Obshtina Nessebar, in the Burgas region.

Ravda is a village in Southeast Bulgaria, situated in Obshtina Nessebar, in the Burgas region.

Ravda is a small seaside resort on the Black sea in Eastern Bulgaria. It is located only 3 km from
Nessebar and 5 km from the Sunny Beach Resort. This position provides the nice weather,
quietness and calmness of a country village and the proximity of the attractive resorts Nessebar and
Sunny beach offers a lot of attractions and entertainments. Ravda has ecologically clean air and
water because the resort is far from big cities and industrial zones. There are no dangerous species
such as sharks, poisonous jelly-fish, scorpions, killer snakes, poisonous spiders, or flies.

The average monthly temperature during summer is 22C/71F. Ravda's beaches have fine golden
sand, sunshades are provided for the tourist and there are qualified lifeguards on duty. The cafes
and bars near the seaside offer refreshing drinks for the parents while their children are having fun
at the water slide. There are several big hotels in Ravda and many private rooms and small family
hotels. The great number of restaurants, taverns, and disco clubs guarantees that you will spend a
lot of unforgettable nights in Ravda. There are regular bus lines to the other resorts in the area -
every 30 minutes to Burgas region and every 20 minutes to Sunny Beach and Nessabar. The
Ravda's postal code is 8238, the telephone area code is +(359) 554 where (359) is the country code.




                                                                                                     19
Pomorie municipality
Aheloy, Aleksandrovo, Bata, Gaberovo, Goritsa, Galabets, Dabnik, Belodol, Kableshkovo,
Kamenar, Kozichino, Kosovets, Laka, Medovo, Pomorie, Poroy, Stratsin

Ruen municipality
Bilka, Vishna, Vresovo, Podgorets, Dobra Polyana, Dobromir, Dropla, Daskotna, Dyulya,
Zaimchevo, Zaychar, Zvezda, Kamenyak, Karavelyovo, Listets, Lyulyakovo, Pripek, Mrezhichko,
Preobrazhentsi, Planinitsa, Prosenik, Razboyna, Rechitsa, Rozhden, Rudina, Ruen, Rupcha,
Razhitsa, Skalak, Snezha, Snyagovo, Sokolets, Sredna Mahala, Struya, Topchiysko, Tranak, Sini
Rid, Cheresha, Shivarovo, Yabalchevo, Yasenovo

Sozopol municipality
Varshilo, Gabar, Zidarovo, Izvor, Indzhe Voyvoda, Krushevets, Prisad, Ravadinovo, Ravna Gora,
Atiya, Rosen, Sozopol, Chernomorets

Sozopol (Bulgarian: Созопол, Greek: Σωδοπολες) is a small, ancient town located 30 km south of
Burgas, Bulgaria. The town is said to be too crowded in July, August and 1-10 September because
of the Apolonia art and movie festival but is quiet in the winter.

The history of Sozopol

Sozopol is the oldest town on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The first settlement at these places
dates back to IV - III B.C. The undersea explorations in the region of the port reveal relics of
dwellings, ceramic pottery, stone and bone tools from the bronze era.

In the Sozopol bay many anchors from II – I B.C .have been discovered, proof of active shipping
since ancient times.

The town established itself as a trade and naval centre. It kept strong political and trade relations
with the great cities of Elada – Milet, Athina, Corinth, Heraklea Pontica and the islands – Rhodos,
Xios, Lesbos, etc. Its trade influence in the Thracian territories was based on a treaty with the
rulers of the Odrissian kingdom back at the V century B.C.

The symbol of the town – the anchor, present on all coins, minted by Apolonia since VI century
B.C. is proof of the importance of the trade. The rich town soon became an important cultural
centre. At these times it was called Apolonia Magna (Great).

The ancient icons and magnificent woodcarving iconostatises are a remarkable accomplishment of
the craftsmanship of these times. The architecture of the houses in the old town from the
renaissance period makes it a unique place to visit today.

Sozopol is frequented mostly by Bulgarians.

Sungurlare municipality
Balabanchevo, Beronovo, Bosilkovo, Vedrovo, Vezenkovo, Valchin, Gorovo, Grozden, Esen,
Zavet, Kamensko, Kamchiya, Klimash, Kosten, Lozarevo, Lozitsa, Manolich, Podvis, Prilep,

                                                                                                  20
Pchelin, Sadovo, Skala, Slavyantsi, Sungurlare, Saedinenie, Terziysko, Velislav, Chernitsa,
Chubra, Dabovitsa

Primorsko municipality
Veselie, Kiten, Novo Panicharevo, Pismenovo, Primorsko, Yasna Polyana


Dobrich
Province
Dobrich is a province in
northeastern Bulgaria. Its major
city is Dobrich. In 1945, Dobrich
was named Tolbukhin in honor of
the     Soviet     General    Fedor
Tolbukhin, who's 3th Ukrainian
Front     was     responsible   for
liberating the region. The name
was reverted back to Dobrich in
1989, after the fall of Communism.

Dobrich is a city of about 111 000 people. It is located in Southern Dobrudja, a region in
northeastern Bulgaria. Its name derives from the name of one of its ancient rulers - boyar
Dobrotitza. Throughout the centuries it was also known as Hadjioglu Bazardjik ( between 15th-
19th c.) and Tolbukhin (1949-1991). Nowadays, Dobrich is a district center and one of the biggest
cities in northeastern Bulgaria (8th biggest city). Dobrich is known as the capital of 'Golden
Dobrudja'. It is 512 km northeast of the capital Sofia, and 37 km southeast of Yovkovo, the frontier
post at the border with Romania. Furthermore, it is conveniently located only 30 km from the
Black Sea, close to a number of popular sea resorts including Albena, Kranevo, Golden Sands,
Balchik, and Roussalka. Varna, a city of over 300 000 people, is approximately 50 km away.


Gabrovo
Province
Gabrovo is a small province lying
at the geographical centre of
Bulgaria. Its main city is Gabrovo,
while other towns include Sevlievo,
Dryanovo and Tryavna. Long
known for producing leatherwork
and textiles that earned the town the
sobriquet of the ―Manchester of
Bulgaria‖, Gabrovo is charmingly
laid-back provincial place. To the Bulgarians Gabrovo is mainly known as the home of the
Humour and Satire, which opened on Aprils Fool‘s Day 1972 in recognition of the position
traditionally occupied by the town in the Bulgarian humour. People in every country tell jokes
about the supposed miserliness of a particular community, and in Bulgaria the butt of the gags has
always been Gabrovo. A Festival of Humour and Satire takes place in May, comprising masked

                                                                                                 21
carnivals, folk music, animated cartoons and prize-giving. There are plenty of restaurants in the
city itself but the locals will recommend that you go out of town and visit Bozenzi, preserved old
village museum, or the ethnographic complex Etara nearby. Strung out along the valley, with its
clear bubbling stream and rich bird-life, the Etara complex has the look and feel of a film-set, and
even though is artificial, it‘s nonetheless convincing, and a joy to explore. Traditionally, crafts
were inseparable from the charshya (bazaar), and reconstructed bazaar of the type once common in
Bulgarian towns forms the heart of the complex. Throughout much of the day artisans are at work
here, hammering blades, throwing pots, carving bowls and alike, and everything they make is for
sale, although note that many of the artisans leave an hour or so before the complex officially
closes. Even if your interest in crafts is minimal it‘s difficult not to admire the interiors of the old
houses, which achieve great beauty through the skilful use of simple materials. Besides dwellings
and workshops , the bazaar include couple of places for grabbing a quick drink, including a
traditional café house, and a bakery selling Turkish Delight and many other sweet treats. An hour
or so‘walk southwest from Etara, Sokolsky Monastery perches on a crag above the village of
Voditsi. During Ottoman times the monks offered succour to Bulgarian outlaws and assembly
point during the Rising against the Turks in 1876.Nowadays it is a discreet, little-visited place,
with rosebushes and privet shrubs laid out in a courtyard dominated by a octagonal stone fountain.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabrovo_Province"

Gabrovo municipality is located in Northern Bulgaria, in Gabrovo micro region. The municipal
centre is situated in the northern mountain-spurs of the middle parts of the Balkan, in the
picturesque valley of Yantra River.

Yantra is a river in Bulgaria. It flows into the river Danube near Svishtov. The city Veliko
Turnovo lies on the banks of the river Yantra.

The Danube (Donau in
German; Dunaj in Slovak;
Donava in Slovene; Duna
in Hungarian; Dunav in
Croatian     and   Serbian;
Дунав       (Dunav)      in
Bulgarian;     Dunăre    in
Romanian; Дунай (Dunay)
in Ukrainian) is, after the
Volga, Europe's second-
longest river.

It rises in the Black Forest
in Germany as two smaller
rivers – the Brigach and the
Breg – which join at
Donaueschingen, and it is
from here that it is known
as the Danube, flowing
south-eastwards for a distance of some 2850 km (1775 miles) before emptying into the Black Sea
via the Danube Delta in Romania.

The Danube has been an important international waterway for centuries, as it remains today.
Known to history as one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire, the river flows
through – or forms a part of the borders of – ten countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary,
Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine.
                                                                                                     22
The Danube flows through the following large cities:

        Ulm - Germany
        Regensburg - Germany
        Linz - Austria
        Vienna - capital of Austria, where the Danube floodplain is called the Lobau
        Bratislava - capital of Slovakia
        Budapest - capital of Hungary
        Novi Sad - Serbia
        Belgrade - capital of Serbia
        Ruse - Bulgaria
        Brăila - Romania
        Galaţi - Romania
        Tulcea - Romania

Tributaries
The Danube's tributary rivers reach into seven other countries. Some Danubian tributaries are
important rivers in their own right, navigable by barges and river boats of shallow draught.
Ordered from source to mouth, the main tributaries are:

         Iller - Lech - Regen (entering at Regensburg) - Isar - Inn (entering at Passau) - Enns -
         Morava - Leitha - Váh (entering at Komárno) - Hron - Ipel - Sió - Drave - Tisza - Sava
         (entering at Belgrade) - Velika Morava - Caraş - Jiu - Iskar - Olt - Vedea - Argeş - Ialomiţa
         - Siret - Prut

Modern navigation
The Danube is navigable by ocean ships from the Black Sea to Brăila, in Romania and by river
ships to Ulm, in Germany. About 60 of its tributaries are also navigable. See Danube-Black Sea
Canal.

Since the construction of the German Rhine-Main-Danube Canal in 1992, the river has been part of
a trans-European waterway from Rotterdam on the North Sea to Sulina on the Black Sea (3500
km). In 1994 the Danube was declared one of ten Pan-European transport corridors, routes in
Central and Eastern Europe that required major investment over the following ten to fifteen years.
The amount of goods transported on the Danube increased to about 100 million tons in 1987. In
1999, transport on the river was made difficult by the NATO bombing of 3 bridges in Serbia and
Montenegro. The clearance of the debris was finished in 2002.

At the Iron Gate, the Danube flows through a gorge that forms part of the boundary between Serbia
and Romania; it contains two hydroelectric dams, Đerdap I and Đerdap II.

The gorge lies between Romania in the north and Serbia in the south. See also the Danube-Black
Sea Canal. In Serbia and Montenegro there is Dunav-Tisa-Dunav channel as well.




                                                                                                   23
A map showing the Danube

The Danube Delta
       Main article Danube Delta.

The Danube Delta has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. Its wetlands (on the
Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance) support vast flocks of migratory birds,
including the endangered Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus). Rival canalization and
drainage scheme threaten the delta: see Bastroe Channel.

Geology
Although the headwaters of the Danube are relatively small today, geologically, the Danube is
much older than the Rhine, with which its catchment area competes in today's southern Germany.
This has a few interesting geological complications. Since the Rhine is the only river rising in the
Alps mountains which flows north towards the North Sea, an invisible line divides large parts of
southern Germany, which is sometimes referred to as the European Watershed.

However, before the last ice age in the Pleistocene, the Rhine started at the southwestern tip of the
Black Forest, while the waters from the Alps that today feed the Rhine were carried east by the so-
called Urdonau (original Danube). Parts of this ancient river's bed, which was much larger than
today's Danube, can still be seen in (now waterless) canyons in today's landscape of the Swabian
Alb. After the Upper Rhine Valley had been eroded, most waters from the Alps changed their
direction and began feeding the Rhine. Today's upper Danube is but a meek reflection of the
ancient one.




Panoramic view of a Danube from Belgrade`s Kalemegdan

                                                                                                  24
Since the Swabian Alb is largely shaped of porous limestone, and since the Rhine's level is much
lower than the Danube's, today subsurface rivers carry much water from the Danube to the Rhine.
On many days in the summer, when the Danube carries little water, it completely oozes away
noisily into these underground channels at two locations in the Swabian Alp, which are referred to
as the Donauversickerung (Danube Sink). Most of this water resurfaces only 12 km south at the
Aachtopf, Germany's wellspring with the highest flow, an average of 8,000 liters per second, north
of Lake Constance -- thus feeding the Rhine. The European Water Divide thus in fact only applies
for those waters that pass beyond this point, and only during the days of the year when the Danube
carries enough water to survive the sink holes in the Donauversickerung.

Since this enormous amount of underground water erodes much of its surrounding limestone, it is
estimated that the Danube upper course will one day disappear entirely in favor of the Rhine, an
event called stream capturing.




Danube in Ulm

Human history
The Danube basin contains sites of the earliest human cultures: the Danubian Neolithic cultures
include the Linear Pottery Cultures of the mid-Danube basin (see also Linear Ceramic culture) The
Vucedol culture of the third millennium BC is famous for their ceramics. Later, many sites of the
Vinca culture are sited along the Danube.

Cultural significance




At Esztergom and Štúrovo, the Danube separates Hungary from Slovakia.
                                                                                               25
The Danube is mentioned in the title of a famous waltz by Austrian composer Johann Strauss, An
der schönen, blauen Donau (By the Beautiful Blue Danube).

The German tradition of landscape painting, the Danube school, was developed in the Danube
valley in the 16th century.

The most famous book describing the Danube ought to be Claudio Magris's masterpiece Danube
(ISBN 1860468233).

Economics of the Danube
Drinking Water

Along its path, the Danube is a source of drinking water for about ten million people. In Baden-
Württemberg, Germany, almost thirty percent (As of 2004) of the water for the area between
Stuttgart, Bad Mergentheim, Aalen and the Alb-Donau-Kreis comes from purified water of the
Danube. Other cities like Ulm and Passau also use some water from the Danube.

In Austria and Hungary, most water comes from ground and spring sources, and only in rare cases
is water from the Danube used. Most states find also to difficult to clean the water because of
extensive pollution; only parts of Romania where the water is cleaner still use a lot of drinking
water from the Danube.

Hydropower

Five states on the Danube, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Serbia, and Romania receive a substantial
amount of their energy from dams on the Danube. One of the largest dams is the Iron Gate at the
border between Serbia and Romania.

After World War I an international commission was established to regulate and ensure free
movement and transit of shipping belonging to riperians and some other nationalities, mainly
French, Dutch and English. There was freedom of navigation and transit shipping moved without
any custom formalities. The International Danube Commission had its first seat in Bratislava, but
moved to Vienna in 1927, where it remained until the Anschluss in 1938, when it took up
residence in Belgrade. It was revived in a slightly differen form after World War II, but soon
became totally dependent on the Communist riperians. The Commission was also responsible for
the safety of shipping and improved many navigational aids. Much work was also done to ease
movement through the Iron Gates.

Fishing

The importance of fishing on the Danube, which used to be critical in the Middle Ages, has
declined dramatically. Although some fishermen are still active at certain points on the river, the
Danube Delta still has an important industry.

Tourism
There are many important tourist and natural spots along the Danube, including the Wachau valley
and the Nationalpark Donau-Auen in Austria and the Naturpark Obere Donau in Germany.

Sevlievo is a town in north-central Bulgaria, between Sofia and Varna.

                                                                                                26
The earliest traces of life in the region date back to the late Neolithic period (about 8000 years
B.C.). There are still some Thracian tombs left. Hotalich Fortress is the last medieval town. It had
been inhabited for more than 1000 years and functioned as an important defensive centre. Hotalich
existed for centuries together with the settlement on the site of the contemporary town, known as
"Servi" and "Selvi". In the middle of the XIX c. the development of crafts led to the concentration
of large sums of money in the crafts' societies. Commercial trips far and across the Ottoman
Empire, Europe and Russia enriched general knowledge. In 1834 St Prophet Eliah Church was
restored. In 1836 the medieval Batoshevski Monastery was re-built. In the middle of the 50s the
prominent master of the National Revival Period Kolio Ficheto built the stone bridge over the
Rossitsa River.

In 1844 the famous well-to-do craftsman and merchant Hadji Stoyan Nicholov invested his own
money in the building of a huge school. In 1870 under the direct guidance of the Apostle of
Freedom - Vassil Levski, a revolutionary committee was created. It prepared the population of
Sevlievo for the April uprising in 1876. The Bulgarians from this region took an active part in it.

Turkish occupation of the town ended July 2, 1877. As a major cultural institute, the community
centre has existed for 127 years. The House of Culture "Mara Belcheva" became the new centre of
cultural events.

Tryavna is a town in Bulgaria.

Once a center of textile and manufacturing industry, in recent years it has become a popular tourist
location, drawing on a history that stretches back to the days of the ancient Greeks. It contains the
oldest Renaissance art school in Bulgaria - the Tryavna school.


Haskovo
Province
Haskovo is a province in southern
Bulgaria, neighbouring Greece and
Turkey to the south east. It has a
territory of 5470 sq. km and
population of 310 500 (2001
census). It comprises parts of the
Thracian valley along the river
Maritsa (Evros, Meriç). Its main
city is Haskovo, while other towns
include:

            Dimitrovgrad
            Harmanli
            Lyubimets
            Maritsa
            Svilengrad

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haskovo_Province"

The Maritsa or Evros (Bulgarian: Марица, Greek: Εβρος, Romanized as Hebrus, Turkish: Meriç)
river is ca . 480 km long. It has its origin in the Rila Mountains in Western Bulgaria, flowing south
east between the Balkans and Rhodope Mountains, past Plovdiv, to Edirne, Turkey the northern
                                                                                                  27
branch of the river runs entirely in Turkey while the southern branch flows with the border near
Kastanies, where it turns south to enter the Aegean Sea near Enez and is a delta. The Tundzha is its
chief tributary and the other is the Ardas (Bulgarian: Арда). The Maritsa's lower course forms part
of the Bulgarian-Greek border and the Greek-Turkish line. The upper Maritsa valley is a principal
east-west route in Bulgaria. The unnavigable river is used for power production and irrigation.

The places that the river flows through include Plovdiv, Svilengrad in Bulgaria, Kastanies, Pythio,
Didymoteicho, Lavara in Greece, etc.

The reservoir on the Evros includes the Kiprinos Dam.

There are bridges over the river and they include the one to Svilengrad, and W of Edirne in Turkey
and GR-2 with the D110/E90 further south and as its border crossings.

On February 18, 2005, floods devastated much of the low-lying areas of the northeastern part of
the Evros prefecture and the Edirne area. The flood happened when the area received above
average of rainfall and snowfall which caused a dike to burst and flooded beyond its banks and far
inland as at 5 to 10 km. The weather was raining. The water levels went as high as 6.5 m above
ground, thats 10 cm above the embankment level which is danger to its residents. Pythio was
flooded. It devastated hydro lines, train tracks, roads and damaged a lot of farms including wheat
farms and flooded many villages and houses. Many roads were closed. Teams throughtou the
prefecture blew up dikes in Pythio, Lavara and Amorio as flood control conducted 15,000 acres
(61 km²) of land. The flood lasted from February 17 to 22. Three days later, the weater level
dropped to 5.48 m, below the danger level of 5.70 m. The water level in Ardas dropped to 4.8 m.

Another flood which began from March 1, 2005 flooded several places again and a town which
flooded a local school that has a playground leaving the basketball unflooded in Pythio. Several
other buildings, roads and streets were also flooded. A day later on March 2, the flood reached
Didymoteicho and Lavara to the southwest. The rainfall amounts to about 5 m, 4.6 m in some areas
including the Ardas and as high as 6.5 m. Firemen with boats and workers were rescuing and
helping people. The rail linking to the northern part of Evros were closed. The flooding of the
valley also flooded the Turkish side.

A third round of floods began near Edirne in the Turkish side and Kastanies in the Greek side on
March 7. The river was flowing at nearly 1,000 m³ every second. Kastanies became a lagoon which
flooded the entire community including streets and homes and stranded people in their homes. The
flood waters merged with the waters of Ardas causing it to flood Kastanies. Farmlands were
underwater. The northern branch of the river also flooded houses and properties in Edirne in the
Turkish side and several communities around Edirne. Workers put sandbaks to prevent the
flooding of properties. The flood later reached the low lying areas of Pythio, Amorio and Lavara
along with Didymoteicho. The water level on March 8 was 5.8 m, 5 m at the Kiprinos Dam.

Five months later, another flooding occurred on Thursday, August 11, 2005 in the northeastern part
of the Greek prefecture of Evros between Orestiada and Didymoteicho, farmlands of the low-lying
areas were flooded and damaged, crops including corn were completely destroyed, the valley
became a lake. The railway connecting Orestiada and Didymoteicho shut down as a result of the
flooding of the tracks. The flood was smaller than the major 2005 flooding. One of the dikes near
the river broke and caused the flooding.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maritsa"

Haskovo is the name of a town (and administrative center of the region of the same name) in
Southern Bulgaria. Its population (as in May, 2005) is 96 084. Haskovo is one of the oldest
                                                                                                 28
settlements in Bulgaria, having celebrated its 1000th anniversary in 1985. To mark the event, a
new clock tower was erected in the centre of the town. In Medieval years it was known for the near
Uzunjovo fair, famous in whole Bulgaria. The town has a large Turkish population (Pomak) and
benefits from its position on the main highway from Western Europe to Turkey.

According to the archeologists, the area of Haskovo was originally settled about seven thousand
years ago. In and around Haskovo, evidence has been preserved that confirms its long history
during the prehistoric, Thracian, Roman, late ancient and medieval periods.

During the first Bulgarian kingdom in the 9th century, a fortness was built in haskovo that soon
was transformed into a town. This town was located at the center of a sizeable region between the
Klokotnitza, Harmanlijska, and Maritza rivers.

In 1395 the Eski camii (the Old mosque) was built as the first one on the Balkan peninsula. It is
interesting that its minaret is slightly inclined.

In 1782, the town was known as Marsa. Many speculate that the current name came from the
Arabic word "has" (possession)and the Turkish word "koy" (village). Several historians have
ascertained that the Turkish word "has" has roots to the meaning "clean". Strengthening this
argument further, the town was literally called "Clean Town" during the Renaissance period.

Most Bulgarians began to settle in Haskovo at the beginning of the nineteenth century. At this
time, the settlement was a trading center for Odrin, Enos, and Istanbul. Slowly, the area acquired a
strong reputation for producing cotton materials, silk fabrics, and carpets.

After the liberation in 1878 Haskovo became a centre of high-quality tobacco region (Bulgaria's
largest cigarette manufacturing facilities are based in the town).

Nowadays there are some enterprises for food, machinery and fabric. The cultural life in the town
is presented by the newly renovated drama theatre "Ivan Dimov", the historical museum and an art
gallery. The annual folk festival "Kitna Trakia pee i tancuva" (Colourful Thrace sings and dances,
in Bulgarian Китна Тракия пее и танцува) takes place in the near park Kenana. A 32-meter-high
statue of Mary, the mother of Jesus and the Infant Jesus was erected on the Hill of Youth near
Haskovo in 2003. The monument was inaugurated on September 8 on the occasion of the Nativity
of Holy Virgin Mary, when the Day of the town of Haskovo is celebrated. It entered the Guiness
Book of Records as the highest in the world monument to Our Lady.

The town centre has recently been the subject of much investments, such that one would be hard
pressed to tell the difference, in terms of street cafes, restaurants, shops and piazzas from Western
Europe.

Dimitrovgrad (Cyrillic: Димитровград) is a town and a municipality in the Haskovo region of
southern Bulgaria. The population is 51,862 (December 15, 2005), the elevation at 125 m, its
location is 42°3′ N 25°36′ E (or 43.04° N 25.5° E). Dimitrovgrad is located northwest of
Svilengrad and the Greek and Turkish border, east of Plovdiv and the capital Sofia and west of
Burgas.

Its postal code is 6400, the telephone code is 0391.

The superhighway A1 is north of Dimitrovgrad.

The city was named after Georgi Dimitrov, as were the other cities named Dimitrovgrad.

                                                                                                  29
Lyubimets is a small town in the Haskovo Province of Bulgaria which operates as a separate
municipality. The town's nearest neighbour is Svilengrad. It is positioned near the Greek and
Turkish borders, and has an international TIR trucking road travel past it. Lyubimets has some
agricultural, industrial, and commercial industries as well as a small tourist industry. The main
tourist attraction is the rue du fromage located just outside the town to the west. The peak tourist
season is May through September but is open all year round, and some say best seen at night.

Svilengrad (Cyrillic: Свиленград) is a municipality in Bulgaria situated at the border of Turkey
and Greece. It is in the Haskovo Province.

With a population of approximately 20,000, Svilengrad is close to the road borders of Greece and
Turkey (supposedly one of the largest road customs in Europe). Svilengrad is located ESE of Sofia
and Plovdiv, S of Varna and Burgas, W of Edirne and N of the nearest Greek community Ormeni
and Alexandroupoli in Greece. There is a higher level of employment than in surrounding villages.
Most people are working for customs and border related industries e.g. TIR servicing, hotels,
border police, etc. The Town center boasts a pedestrianized high street mostly filled with cafes,
bars, phone shops and hotels. The town has 3 dvd rental shops, two cinemas and town library. The
Maritsa river flows west of Svilengrad. The Evros prefecture and Trigono of Greece is bordered to
the south. The Rhodope mountains lie to the west and southwest. The area to the southwest is
famous for its fruittrees.


Kardzhali
Province
Kardzhali                (Cyrillic:
Кърджалийска                област
  u rdzhaliyska oblast) is a
province of southern Bulgaria,
neighbouring Greece with the
Greek prefectures of Xanthi and
Rodhopi to the south and east. Its
main city is Kardzhali, while other
towns include:

          Ardino
          Krumovgrad
          Momchilgrad
          Dzhebel




Kardzhali (Кърджали) is a town in Bulgaria, capital of Kardzhali Province. Near the town is the
noted Kardzhali dam.

There are many open-air restaurants, offering variety of drinks and cocktails in summer time on the
dam. It is a popular place among fans of water sports and of fishing.

The reservoir of the Kardzhali dam was recently seeded artificially with perch pike. The fish was
taken from the Ovcharitsa dam.
                                                                                                 30
The first historical moment of the dam was in the 1970s, when it was artificially seeded with
sheatfish. Nowadays there are 100 kg representatives. Later, 45 000 carp were introduced into the
dam as well.

The Arda river feeds into the Kardzhali dam.

Arda (Bulgarian: Арда, Greek: Αρδας Ardas) is a river whose source lies in the Bulgarian
Rhodope Mountains near the town of Smolyan, flowing 290 kilometres eastward past Kardzhali
and Ivaylovgrad and through Greece in the northern portion of the Evros prefecture including
Kastanies. It then enters the Maritsa, just west of Edirne, Turkey. The portion in Bulgaria is
accented by three hydroelectric and irrigation dams.

The three floods of February 18, 2005 which the water level was at 4.8 m, March 1 and March 7,
2005 flooded the low lying areas especially in the Kastanies area which turned the area into a
lagoon. The merging of the waters of the Evros (Meriç in Turkey) caused streets and buildings
including homes to be flooded and people to be stranded in their homes.

     This Turkish location article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.
     This Bulgarian geography article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.
     This Greece location article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arda_River"

Ardino (Bulgarian Ардино) is a town in Southern Bulgaria. It is located in Kurdzhali oblast and is
close to the town of Madan.

Madan is a mountainous town in Bulgaria, situated in the Yellow Share of the Rhodopi mountains.
It is a part of the Ardino‘s ridge, sloping down to the northeast between the rivers Arda and
Vurbitsa. In the central part of the Yellow Share rise the peaks Butchovitsa (1404 m), Veternitsa
(1372 m) and Petrovitsa (1309 m). The end of the ridge is Alada peak (1241 m). From all sides the
Yellow Share is separated by mountain-spurs, whose segmentations are gradually sloping down
and vanishing in the valleys of the rivers. The river system of the region is presented by the basins
of the upper reaches of some of the longer rivers – to the north the basin of the Arda River with the
headers Elhovska and Chepinska Rivers.

Along the wide mountain ridges enclosed by the valleys of the Rivers Cherna, Big and Small
River, dark-green forests of tall pine-trees and spruce are succeeding each other. Here and there
you could see beech-trees, vast meadows, small valleys, rocky piles, and again forests and
meadows. In the summer the meadows are coloured by flourishing flowers and spices, the forests
give out a sweet smell of mushrooms. The mountain is abundant of strawberries, raspberries,
blueberries – heavy and fragrant.


Rhodope Mountains
The Rhodopes (also spelled Rodopi) are a mountain range, with over 83% of its area in southern
Bulgaria and the remainder in Greece. Its highest peak, Golyam Perelik (2,191 m), is the seventh
highest Bulgarian mountain. Very interesting are the Karst areas with their deep river gorges, large
caves and specific sculptured forms such as the Trigrad Gorge, the caves Devil's Throat, Uhlovitsa,
Yagodinska, the Wonderful Bridges. To the west, they are replaced by the higher Pirin and Rila
ranges.

Western Rhodopes
                                                                                                  31
The bigger part (66% of the total area), the higher, more developed and visited part of the
mountains. The highest and best known peaks are also here (more of 10 are over 2,000 m)
including the highest, Golyam Perelik (2,191 m). Among the interesting peaks are Shirokolushki
Snezhnik (2,188), Golyam Persenik (2,091), Bataski Snejnik (2,082), the wonderful Turla (1,800).

Some of the deepest and most picturesque river gorges are here too; the Trigrad, Byunovsko, of the
Mostova Sushitca River. The Rocky phenomenon Wonderful Bridges, the Chaira Lakes and the
dams Dospat, Batak, Shiroka Polyana, Iglika, Toshkov Chark excellently fit into the environment.
The architecture reserves Shiroka Luka, Kovachevitza, Momchilovtsi, Kosovo, and many other
interesting villages are in the Western Rhodope too.

The city of Batak is also located here as well as the large tourist centers Smolyan, Velingrad,
Devin, Chepelare, the winter resort of Pamporovo, the Christian sanctuary Bachkovo Monastery,
the ruins of Assenov fortress, the caves Devils Throat, Iagodinska and many others. The highest
village in Bulgaria, Manastir (over 1,500 m) is crouched in the northern foot of the Prespa peak.
The famous building Agushevi konatsi is here-in the village of Mogilitza, immediately to the south
of Smolyan. There are no chalets, but nearby Smolyan offers lodging and foot.

Eastern Rhodopes
Spread over a territory of about 34% of the whole area of the mountain. This is a much lower part.

Here are the large artificial dams Kardzhali and Studen kladenets that together with the rivers
Borovitza and Varbitza offer great opportunities for water tourism.

The Region is rich in thermal mineral springs. Djebel has national reputation for healing many
different diseases. "Belite brezi", with their fresh mountain air, is an important healing center for
respiratory and other ailments. The Eastern Rhodope are much more populated than the Western.

Here are the major cities of Haskovo and Kardjali as well as the smaller Momchilgrad,
Krumovgrad, Zlatograd, Kirkovo.

The larger rivers in the Rhodopes are: Maritsa, Mesta, Struma, Dospat, Vutcha, Chepelarska and
many others.

Southern Rhodopes




Southern Rhodope scenery

Climate


                                                                                                  32
The location of the Rhodopes in the southeastern part of the Balkan Peninsula determines to a great
extent the climate here. It is influenced both by the colder air coming from the North and by the
warmer breeze from the Mediterranean.

The average annual temperature in the Eastern Rhodope is 12-13° C, the maximum value of
precipitation is in December, the minimum is in August. In the Western Rhodope the temperature
varies with 5 to 9° C and the summer rainfalls prevail.

The mild climate combined with some other factors works in favour of the development of
recreation and tourist activities. The Pamporovo resort is an excellent example, where the
microclimate permits a heavy snow cover to be preserved for a long time - a real Paradise for
skiing. To the North is the valley of the Maritsa river, to the South - the White sea plain, to the
West – the valley of the Mesta river, the Avramovi Kolibi saddle, Lyuta Reka, the Yundola Saddle
and the river Yadenitca, to the east - the valleys of Borovitza and Arda rivers.

Temperatures of -15 degrees Celsius are common, and due to this, the Rhodopes are the
southernmost place in the Balkans where we can see trees such as Norway Spruce and Silver
Birch. The Rhodopes is a refuge of wild life. Human presence is negligible.

The Rhodope are spread over 14,737 km² of which 12,233 km² are on Bulgarian territory. The
mountain is about 220 km long and about 100-120 km wide with an average altitude of 785 m. 15
reserves have been established, some of these are included in the list of UNESCO. There are many
mineral water springs, the most famous are in Velingrad and Narechen.




River Nestos in the Rhodopes

River Nestos (see picture) gives life to the whole area.


Pirin




Vihren from the south

The Pirin Mountains (Bulgarian: Пирин) are a mountain range in southwest Bulgaria, with
Vihren (2,914 m high) the highest peak, situated at 41°45′50″ N 23°25′30″ E. The range extends
about 40 km northwest-southeast, and about 25 km wide. Most of the range is protected in a
national park, the Pirin National Park.

                                                                                                33
The Pirin is noted for its rich flora and fauna. Much of the area is forested, with the best conifer
woods in Bulgaria, holding important populations of the Balkan endemic species Macedonian Pine,
Bosnian Pine and Bulgarian Fir. Animals include the Wolf and the Brown Bear.

The town of Bansko, an important tourism and winter sports centre, is situated on the northeast
slopes of the Pirin mountains. The town of Razlog lies in a valley between the Pirin to the south,
and the Rila mountains to the north.

Peaks in the Pirin Mountains:

                Vihren
                Kamenitza

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirin"

Kamenitza (Bulgarian: Каменица) is a peak in Pirin Mountain in Bulgaria.

It is also the name of the best-selling Bulgarian beer, produced in the city of Plovdiv. Established
in 1881 and currently owned by InBev, the brewery has a wide variety of lager and dark beers.
Kamenitza is a sponsor of the Bulgarian football team.


Rila




Rila Mountain, Bulgaria

The Rila is a mountain range in western Bulgaria. The range includes Musala, at 2925 m the
highest mountain in Bulgaria and the whole of the Balkan Peninsula. The range occupies an area of
2629 km². The average altitude is 1487 m. There are more than 120 glacial lakes. One of the
hottest mineral spring is in Sapareva banya with temperature over 103 °C.

The name Rila is derived from the Thracian word roula, meaning "lots of water". Some of the
largest rivers in the Balkan Peninsula originate here. These are Maritsa, Iskur, Mesta.

Mountain areas
Eastern Rila This is the highest part of the range. Musala is here together with 11 other peaks.
There are some groups of glacier lakes: Musala lakes (with lake Ledenoto being the highly located
in Bulgaria and on the Balkan peninsula – 2709 m above sea level), Maritsa lakes, Ropalitsa lakes.
A meteorological station was built on Musala in 1932. That part of the mountain is an attractive
tourist destination. The mountain resort Borovetz has a world-wide popularity.

                                                                                                 34
Central part This is the steepest part of the mountain and is rich in lakes – Ribni lakes, Jerman
lakes, Monastery lakes with the biggest lake on the Balkan peninsula – Smradlivo (21.2 km²).

North-western part It occupies 1/3 of the whole mountain territory. The most famous of all peaks
is Malyovitsa (2730 m), a symbol of the Bulgarian mountain climbing. The biggest lakes are The
Seven Rila lakes.

South-western part The oldest natural reserve in Bulgaria – Parangalitsa, is situated here.

The Rila National Park, the largest national park in Bulgaria, is located about 70 km south of Sofia,
in the central and highest regions of the Rila Mountains. The park contains rare and endangered
wildlife species and communities, self-regulating ecosystems of biological diversity, as well as
historic sites of global cultural and scientific significance.

The famous Rila Monastery is also located in the Rila Mountain. The monument is a characteristic
example of the Bulgarian Renaissance (18th–19th centuries) and symbolizes an awareness of a
Slavic cultural identity following centuries of occupation.


Kyustendil
Province
Kyustendil is a province of western
Bulgaria, neighbouring Republic of
Macedonia     and     Serbia   and
Montenegro. Its main city is
Kyustendil, while other towns
include:

          Dragovishtitsa
          Gyueshevo
          Dupnitsa

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyustendil_Province"


Lovech Province
Lovech is a province in central
Bulgaria. Its main city is Lovech,
while other towns include Troyan,
Yablanitsa, Teteven.

Lovech (in Bulgarian: Ловеч) is a
small town in north-central
Bulgaria with a population about
50 000 citizens. Lovech is the
administrative centre of the
Lovech region (oblast) and Lovech
municipality , 150 km from the
capital Sofia. Near Lovech are the
towns of Pleven, Troyan and Teteven.
                                                                                                  35
Lovech




View over Lovech

Lovech (in Bulgarian: Ловеч) is a small town in north-central Bulgaria with a population about 50
000 citizens. Lovech is the administrative centre of the Lovech region (oblast) and Lovech
municipality , 150 km from the capital Sofia. Near Lovech are the towns of Pleven, Troyan and
Teteven.

Geography
Lovech is situated in the Fore-Balkan area, on both sides of the river Ossam and unifies both
mountain and plain relief. The eastern part of the town is surrounded by a 250 m high plateau,
where the biggest park in Lovech, "Stratesh", is located, and the south-western part is surrounded
by the hills "Hisarya" and "Bash Bunar". In northwest the relief lightly goes to the plains of the
neighbouring Pleven region. The average altitude of Lovech is about 200 m above mean sea level.
The highest point of the town is the hill "Akbair" at 450 m.

Lovech has a beautiful location, with many parks and places to rest. In the park "Stratesh", the
highest place in the town, there are a great number of lilac bushes, easily seen from the whole
town, which is a wonderful view in the spring. That's why Lovech is well-known as "The Town of
the Lilacs".

History
Lovech is one of the oldest towns in Bulgaria. Traces of human activities from very ancient times
were found in this region, mainly in the caves near the town. The reason was the comfortable
location between the mountains and the flat country, and the presence of a river.

The first "official" inhabitants of the town were the Thracian tribe, the "Meldi", whose traces date
as back as IV - III century BC. They founded here their capital, called Melta. It was situated at the
place of today's neighbourhood and architecture reserve "Varosha". Later when the Balkans were
occupied by the Roman Empire in the area of the town was found a military station called
"Prezidium", which was in an important strategic position on one of the main Roman roads. Parts
of this road are to be seen in the territory of Lovech today. The Roman citadel "Hisarya", which is
situated on the similarly-named hill, was the place where in 1187 the peace treaty between
Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire was signed and the independence of Bulgaria was officially
declared. This is also the beginning of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom. In the XII century Lovech
was a great trade centre and one of the most famous towns in Bulgaria.

The Turkish invasion in the mid XIV century didn't pass the town, but the citadel of Lovech
"Hisarya" was captured last of all, in 1446, but for a long time after that the town enjoyed some


                                                                                                  36
privileges such as a prohibition on Turkish people living in the town or to take Bulgarian children
as "enichars".

In XVII century Lovech was a strong trade centre again and one of the richest towns in Bulgaria.
That's why the town was called "Altan Lovech" (Golden Lovech, from Turkish) at the time.

1784 is the most horrible year in the history of the town, when it was almost totally burnt and
destroyed by a Turkish army. From 20 000 citizens there were only 4 600 survivors.

In the times of revolutionary organisations against the Turkish enslavers, Lovech was the centre of
operations of the "Internal Revolutionary Organisation" of Vasil Levski, called the "Secret
Revolutionary Committee". He was arrested by the Turkish military in a village near Lovech called
Kakrina and later hanged in Sofia. Now in the old town "Varosha" is the biggest museum of Vasil
Levski in Bulgaria containing many personal items such as notebooks, clothes, weapons etc.

In 1872 - 1874 the Bulgarian master-builder Nikola Fichev, known also as Kolyo Ficheto, built the
famous Covered Bridge over the river Ossam, which is the only one in the Balkans. The bridge
was burned out in 1925, but was rebuilt in 1931 again. Now it connects the new and the old part of
the town and is full of cafes, small restaurants and many souvenir shops.

Culture and Nature Sights




The Covered Bridge

          The Covered Bridge of Kolyo Ficheto
          "Hisarya" Citadel
          Monument of Vasil Levski
          Monuments to Russian soldiers killed in the Russo-Turkish War of Liberation
          Old Town "Varosha"
          "Stratesh" Park with the biggest Zoo in the province
          "Bash Bunar" Park
          Baroque Houses

Pleven (43°25′ N 24°37′ E is a city in Northern Bulgaria. It is located in the very heart of Moesia
(Miziya) (agricultural region), surrounded by low limestone hills. Its central location in Northern
Bulgaria defines its importance as a big administrative, economic, political, cultural and transport
centre. The city is located 170 km from the capital town of Sofia, at 320 km from the Black sea
coast, at 50 km from the Danube river, at 130 km from the Danube bridge and at about 70 km from
the Balkan.

The city was a major battle scene (see the Siege of Pleven) during the Russian-Turkish War of
1877-1878 that the Russian tsar Alexander II held for the purpose of liberation of Bulgaria. The
joint Russian/Romanian army paid dearly for the victory, but it paved the path to the defeat of
Turkey in this war, and the restoration of Bulgaria as independent country.
                                                                                                 37
The 1911 Britannica concluded its lengthy entry on Pleven (transcripted as Plevna) with the
memorable dictum: "Plevna is a striking example of the futility of the purely passive defence,
which is doomed to failure however tenaciously carried out. Victories which are not followed up
are useless. War without strategy is mere butchery."

Major attraction: For the centennial celebrations of the battles of Pleven, the city sponsored the
construction of the Panorama "Pleven's Epopee 1877", reputedly larger than the Borodino
Panorama in Russia.

Troyan (also spelled Troian) is a town in central Bulgaria with population of about 30,000 and
territory of 888 850 square meters. It is located 160km from Sofia. Nearest civil airport is Gorna
Oryahovitsa, 105 km away.

[edit]

Industry
Troyan is the home of the large Actavis pharmaceutical plant as well as the light machinery
factories Elma and Mashstroi. Another major industry is the famous plum brandy production
factory Vinprom-Troyan. The town is famous with its traditional potery, probably developed partly
as a result of the local klay soil.


Montana
Province
Montana      is   a    province    in
northwestern Bulgaria, bordering
Serbia and Montenegro and Romania.
Its main city is Montana, while other
towns include Berkovitsa.



Berkovitsa (Bulgarian Берковица) is
a town in Northwestern Bulgaria. It is
located in Montana oblast and is close to the town of Varshets.


Pazardzhik Province
Pazardzhik is a province in
southern Bulgaria. Its main city
is Pazardzhik, while other towns
include Peshtera, Velingrad and
Panagyurishte. The city is the
centre of some industrial activity
with its lathe, battery and other
factories. It has a population of
about 80,000 of which an ever-
growing portion is of Roma

                                                                                               38
(Gypsy) origin. Unfortunately Pazardzhik is unable to attract much tourists as there is little to be
seen in the city. Among the few attractions are The Clock Tower Of Pazardzhik and the park "The
Island Of Freedom", usualy just called "The Island". It is located literally in the middle of Maritza
River and thus comes the name. Plays, symphonic concerts and other cultural events take place
quite often and are certainly worth attending. It is an interesting fact that Pazardzhik is one of the
flatest cities in Bulgaria with no variations in street level whatsovere.




Cathedral Church Sv.Bogorodica

History
The city of Pazardzhik originated in the 16th century under the name Tatar Pazardzhik as a trade
centre due to its convenient, cross-road location. The name itself is a reference to the bulgarian
word pazar, meaning market. During the Bulgarian War of Independence the Ottoman leaders sent
a letter to the Ottoman forces residing in the city, stating that the city should immediately be
reduced to ashes, as not to fall in enemy hands. However, a local doctor managed to change the
letter so that it instead said that the city should NOT be destroyed. Today he is regarded as a local
hero.

Sightseeing
(please note that the following is a list of sites to be found only in the city of Pazardzhik, there is
much more to be seen through the rest ot the province)

              The Clock Tower
              The Museum Of History
              House-Museum Konstantin Velichkov
              The Island
              The Cathedral Church Sv.Bogorodica

There are many archaeological sites around the city of Parazdzhik and generaly throughout the
entire province.




                                                                                                    39
The Museum Of History

Pazardzhik is a town situated along the banks of the Maritsa river in Bulgaria. It was founded in
1845 at the place of an existing settlement and named after Tatar Pazardzhik. The church St.
Bogoroditsa (God Mother) preserves the most impressive icons in Bulgaria by master artists of the
Debar School, wood-carvings of New and Old Testament scenes, and icons by Stanislav
Dospevski.

Pazardjik was founded during the second half of the 15th century on the left bank of the river
Maritza, near the market of the region, an important crossroad at the middle of this productive
region. Thanks to this favourable location, the settlement quickly developed. While it was very
small at the beginning of the ÕV² century, it became the administrative centre for the region at the
end of the century and remained so until the Liberation from Turkish occupation.

During the following centuries the town continued to grow and strengthened its position. Trade in
iron, leather and rice prospered. The town impressed visitors with its beautiful houses and clean
streets. In 1718 Gerard Kornelius Drish visited Pazardjik and wrote "the buildings here according
to construction, size and beauty stand higher than those of Nish, Sofia and all other places".

By the 19th century Pazardjik was a big, important centre of crafts and trade, with a population of
about 25 000 people. It hosted two big annual fairs, and a big market Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
There was a post office with a telegraph.

In 1837 church "The Virgin Mary" was built -- an important national monument, famous for its
architecture and woodcarving. In mid-18th century Pazardjik became an important cultural centre:
a school was opened in 1847, a girls' school in 1848, a community centre in 1868, the women's
union "Prosveta" in 1870.

During the Liberation War in 1877-1978, the town was burned by retreating Turkish troops. It was
liberated on 2.01.1878 by General Gurko's platoon. Pazardzhik grew and spread to the right bank
of Maritza river; barracks and an agricultural school were built.

From early 20th century people built factories, stores and houses, and thus the industrial quarter of
the town. From 1959 to 1987 Pazardjik was again an administrative centre for the region, and is
again since the 1999 administrative division of Bulgaria.

The present mayor is Ivan Evstatiev, doctor of law science.

The Maritsa or Evros (Bulgarian: Марица, Greek: Εβρος, Romanized as Hebrus, Turkish: Meriç)
river is ca . 480 km long. It has its origin in the Rila Mountains in Western Bulgaria, flowing south
east between the Balkans and Rhodope Mountains, past Plovdiv, to Edirne, Turkey the northern
branch of the river runs entirely in Turkey while the southern branch flows with the border near
Kastanies, where it turns south to enter the Aegean Sea near Enez and is a delta. The Tundzha is its
chief tributary and the other is the Ardas (Bulgarian: Арда). The Maritsa's lower course forms part


                                                                                                  40
of the Bulgarian-Greek border and the Greek-Turkish line. The upper Maritsa valley is a principal
east-west route in Bulgaria. The unnavigable river is used for power production and irrigation.

The places that the river flows through include Plovdiv, Svilengrad in Bulgaria, Kastanies, Pythio,
Didymoteicho, Lavara in Greece, etc.

The reservoir on the Evros includes the Kiprinos Dam.

There are bridges over the river and they include the one to Svilengrad, and W of Edirne in Turkey
and GR-2 with the D110/E90 further south and as its border crossings.

On February 18, 2005, floods devastated much of the low-lying areas of the northeastern part of
the Evros prefecture and the Edirne area. The flood happened when the area received above
average of rainfall and snowfall which caused a dike to burst and flooded beyond its banks and far
inland as at 5 to 10 km. The weather was raining. The water levels went as high as 6.5 m above
ground, thats 10 cm above the embankment level which is danger to its residents. Pythio was
flooded. It devastated hydro lines, train tracks, roads and damaged a lot of farms including wheat
farms and flooded many villages and houses. Many roads were closed. Teams throughtou the
prefecture blew up dikes in Pythio, Lavara and Amorio as flood control conducted 15,000 acres
(61 km²) of land. The flood lasted from February 17 to 22. Three days later, the weater level
dropped to 5.48 m, below the danger level of 5.70 m. The water level in Ardas dropped to 4.8 m.

Another flood which began from March 1, 2005 flooded several places again and a town which
flooded a local school that has a playground leaving the basketball unflooded in Pythio. Several
other buildings, roads and streets were also flooded. A day later on March 2, the flood reached
Didymoteicho and Lavara to the southwest. The rainfall amounts to about 5 m, 4.6 m in some areas
including the Ardas and as high as 6.5 m. Firemen with boats and workers were rescuing and
helping people. The rail linking to the northern part of Evros were closed. The flooding of the
valley also flooded the Turkish side.

A third round of floods began near Edirne in the Turkish side and Kastanies in the Greek side on
March 7. The river was flowing at nearly 1,000 m³ every second. Kastanies became a lagoon which
flooded the entire community including streets and homes and stranded people in their homes. The
flood waters merged with the waters of Ardas causing it to flood Kastanies. Farmlands were
underwater. The northern branch of the river also flooded houses and properties in Edirne in the
Turkish side and several communities around Edirne. Workers put sandbaks to prevent the
flooding of properties. The flood later reached the low lying areas of Pythio, Amorio and Lavara
along with Didymoteicho. The water level on March 8 was 5.8 m, 5 m at the Kiprinos Dam.

Five months later, another flooding occurred on Thursday, August 11, 2005 in the northeastern part
of the Greek prefecture of Evros between Orestiada and Didymoteicho, farmlands of the low-lying
areas were flooded and damaged, crops including corn were completely destroyed, the valley
became a lake. The railway connecting Orestiada and Didymoteicho shut down as a result of the
flooding of the tracks. The flood was smaller than the major 2005 flooding. One of the dikes near
the river broke and caused the flooding.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maritsa"

Velingrad is the most beautiful and most famous among the Bulgarian Balneological resorts. It
lies at the western end of Chepino Valley, one of the most attractive part of the Rhodopean
Mountains in Southern Bulgaria. There are 70 sources of mineral water with curative and
preventive properties.

                                                                                                41
The mineral waters (from springs and wells) vary considerably in temperature, mineralization,
radon, silicic acid and fluorine content, and are suitable for treatment of a wide range of diseases.
9000 litres of water per minute spring from the five thermal and mineral deposits in Ladjene,
Kamenitza, Chepino, Rakitovo and Kostadinovo. Velingrad is situated at 750-850 m above sea
level. Summer is warm, winter is mild. The average annual temperature is 10C; and the average
July temperature is 19C. The annual duration of sunshine is about 2,000 hours. The relative air
humidity ranges from 65 to 75 per cent.Surrounded by age-old pine tree woods, the town favors
abundant sunshine. This exclusively rare and valuable combination has a beneficial influence on
the process of ionization (negative ions are prevailing) and are of definite therapeutic importance.

In the resort successfully are treated pulmonary cases: pulmonary emphysema, chronic bronchitis,
post bronchial pneumonia, etc. The treatment of non-specific diseases of the respiratory tract is
particularly successful. Considerable experience has been accumulated in the efficient treatment of
diseases of the locomotive system, nervous diseases and gynecological disorders.

Together with the numerous mineral waters Velingrad takes pride in another natural phenomenon
as well - the Kleptuza. This is the biggest Karst spring in Bulgaria with debit of 1200 litres of ice-
cold water per second.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velingrad"

Panagyurishte is a town in Pazardzhik Province, western Bulgaria. The town is situated in a small
valley in Sashtinska Sredna Gora. It is 91 km. far from Sofia, to the east, at 43 km. north of
Pazardzhik and at 37 km. south of Zlatitsa. Its name is from Greek origin and means a fair venue,
but it became the symbol of the Bulgarian striving for freedom.

The Panagyurishte municipality has certain potential for a intensification of the cooperation with
the Koprivshtitsa, Strelcha and Hisarya municipalities in the sphere of tourism. It is expedient in
this respect to think of the foundation of an association of the municipalities whose settlements
took part in the April uprising against the Ottoman rule in 1876. The Association of the National
Revival Towns could also be used along these lines.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panagyurishte"


Pernik Province
Pernik is a province in western
Bulgaria, neighbouring Serbia and
Montenegro. Its main city is Pernik,
while smaller towns include
Radomir, Breznik and Tran.

Pernik is a city in Bulgaria, on the
Struma River, with a population of
92,627 (2005 census). It is the main
city of Pernik Province. From 1949–

                                                 1962, the city was known as Dimitrovo.

                                                Originally the site of a Thracian fortress, and later
                                            a Roman settlement, Pernik became part of the
                                            Bulgarian kingdom in the 9th century. From 1396–1878
                                                                                                   42
it was under Turkish rule. In the 20th century the city developed rapidly as a centre for coal mining
and heavy industry. The Surva International Festival of the Masquerade Games is held in the city
every January.

Struma River

The Bulgarian portion of the Struma river

The Struma/Strymónas (Bulgarian: Струма, IPA /'struma/, Greek: Στρσμόνας /stri'monas/) is a
river in Bulgaria and Greece. Its ancient name was Strymōn. Its total length is 290 km.

The Struma/Strymónas rises in the Vitosha Mountains of Bulgaria and flows about 400 kilometers
south to the Aegean Sea in the Serres prefecture. The valley is a coal-producing area of Bulgaria.
The Greek portion is a valley which is dominant in agriculture. The tributaries include the Rila
river.

The ancient Greek city of Amphipolis was founded at the river's entrance to the Aegean, and the
Battle of Kleidion was fought by the river in 1014. In 1913, the Greek army was trapped in the
Kresna Gorge of the Struma/Strymónas during the Second Balkan War. The Bulgarians were
defeated in the war, however, and the Treaty of Bucharest resulted in significant territorial losses
for Bulgaria.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Struma_River"

Radomir (Bulgarian: Радомир) is a town in the Pernik region of Bulgaria with a population of
about 16,503. It is located at 42°33′ N 22°57′ E.

History
In 1918, Bulgaria was ruled by Ferdinand of Bulgaria, under whom Aleksandar Stamboliyski had
been imprisoned for opposing Bulgaria's participation in the Balkan War and its alliance with the
Central Powers in World War I. When in September the Allied forces broke into Bulgaria,
Ferdinand agreed to release Stamboliyski in return for a promise to help restore order in the
military. However, Stamboliyski instead aligned himself with the uprising and in Radomir
proclaimed Bulgaria to be a republic. His supporters then attempted an attack on Sofia. The
Radomir Rebellion was stopped when this force was defeated by Macedonian and German tsarists,
who also did not retain control for long as Bulgaria had signed an armistice with the Allies by the
end of the month.

Royalty
Radomir (1000 - ?) was also the name of a Macedonian-born Bulgarian prince.

Radomir was the surname of Gavril Radomir of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Гаврил Радомир), who
ruled Bulgaria from October 1014 to August 1015.

Breznik (Bulgarian Брезник) is a town in Western Bulgaria. It is located in Pernik oblast and
is close to the towns of Bankya and Pernik.



                                                                                                  43
Bankya (Bulgarian Банкя) is a town in Western Bulgaria. It is located in Sofia city oblast and is
close to Pernik and the capital Sofia.

Tran (Трън) is a small town in Pernik Province, western Bulgaria. It is less than 20 kilometers
away from the town of Pernik, near the border with Serbia. One interesting feature of this town is
that a unique dialect of the Bulgarian language is spoken in Tran. This dialect differs so greatly
from ordinary Bulgarian that someone from a nearby town such as Pernik could not understand it
easily. Tran has a variety of rivers that are used to go fishing in.




Pleven Province
Pleven Province (Плевенска област, Plevenska
oblast) is located in central northern Bulgaria,
bordering the Danube and Romania, and the
Bulgarian provinces of Vratsa, Veliko Turnovo and
Lovech. It embraces a territory of 4333.54 km² and its
capital is the town of Pleven.

Pleven (43°25′ N 24°37′ E is a city in Northern Bulgaria. It                       is located in the
very heart of Moesia (Miziya) (agricultural region), surrounded by low limestone hills. Its central
location in Northern Bulgaria defines its importance as a big administrative, economic, political,
cultural and transport centre. The city is located 170 km from the capital town of Sofia, at 320 km
from the Black sea coast, at 50 km from the Danube river, at 130 km from the Danube bridge and
at about 70 km from the Balkan.

The city was a major battle scene (see the Siege of Pleven) during the Russian-Turkish War of
1877-1878 that the Russian tsar Alexander II held for the purpose of liberation of Bulgaria. The
joint Russian/Romanian army paid dearly for the victory, but it paved the path to the defeat of
Turkey in this war, and the restoration of Bulgaria as independent country.

The 1911 Britannica concluded its lengthy entry on Pleven (transcripted as Plevna) with the
memorable dictum: "Plevna is a striking example of the futility of the purely passive defence,
which is doomed to failure however tenaciously carried out. Victories which are not followed up
are useless. War without strategy is mere butchery."

Major attraction: For the centennial celebrations of the battles of Pleven, the city sponsored the
construction of the Panorama "Pleven's Epopee 1877", reputedly larger than the Borodino
Panorama in Russia.




Belene municipality
Belene, Byala Voda, Dekov, Kulina Voda, Petokladentsi, Tatari

Belene (Bulgarian Белене) is a town in Northern Bulgaria. It is located in Pleven oblast and is
close to Svishtov. Belene is situated on the right bank of Danube.

                                                                                                  44
Gulyantsi municipality
Brest, Bulgaria, Gigen, Iskar, Gulyantsi, Dolni Vit, Dabovan, Zagrazhden, Kreta, Lenkovo,
Milkovitsa, Somovit, Shiyakovo

Dolna Mitropoliya municipality
Baykal, Bivolare, Bozhuritsa, Bregare, Gorna Mitropoliya, Gostilya, Dolna Mitropoliya,
Komarevo, Krushovene, Orehovitsa, Pobeda, Podem, Riben, Slavovitsa, Stavertsi, Trastenik

Dolni Dabnik municipality
Barkach, Gorni Dabnik, Gradina, Dolni Dabnik, Krushovitsa, Petarnitsa, Sadovets

Levski municipality
Asenovtsi, Asparuhovo, Bozhurluk, Balgarene, Varana, Gradishte, Izgrev, Kozar Belene, Levski,
Malchika, Obnova, Stezherovo, Tranchovitsa

Nikopol municipality
Asenovo, Batsova Mahala, Vubel, Debovo, Dragash Vojvoda, Evlogievo, Zhernov, Lozitsa,
Liubenovo, Muselievo, Nikopol, Novachene, Sanadinovo, Cherkovitsa

Nikopol is a town in North Bulgaria, Pleven Province, on the Danube river. It was the site of the
Battle of Nicopolis in 1396 and of the Battle of Nikopol in 1877.

Iskar municipality
Dolni Lukovit, Iskar, Pisarovo, Staroseltsi

Pleven municipality
Beglezh, Bohot, Brestovets, Brashlyanitsa, Bukovlak, Varbitsa, Gortalovo, Grivitsa, Disevitsa,
Koilovtsi, Kartozhabene, Kashin, Laskar, Mechka, Nikolaevo, Opanets, Pelishat, Pleven,
Radishevo, Ralevo, Slavyanovo, Todorovo, Tuchenitsa, Tarnene, Yasen

Pordim municipality
Borislav, Valchi Trun, Zgalevo, Kamenets, Kateritsa, Odarne, Pordim, Totleben

Cherven Bryag municipality
Breste, Glava, Gornik, Deventsi, Koynare, Lepitsa, Radomirtsi, Rakita, Reselets, Ruptsi, Suhache,
Telish, Cherven Bryag, Chomakovtsi

Knezha municipality
                                                                                                    45
Brenitsa, Enitsa, Knezha, Lazarovo




Plovdiv Province
Plovdiv (in Greek Φιλιππούπολη)is an oblast, or province, of central Bulgaria, formerly part of
Eastern Rumelia. It is primarily an agricultural area and contains one-seventh of all of Bulgaria's
arable land. The capital of Plovdiv is
the city of Plovdiv, but the region
also      contains      16      other
municipalities:          Asenovgrad,
Karlovo, Maritsa, Rodopi, Hisarya,
Parvomay, Stamboliyski, Krichim,
Perushtitsa, Sadovo, Laki, Rakovski,
Brezovo, Saedinenie, Kaloyanovo
and Kuklen.

Plovdiv is the second biggest city in
Bulgaria with population of about
350 000 citizens. It is situated in the
middle of the Thracian Valley on the
river Maritza. It is thought that this
city is built by the tracians - people who occupied the lands of todays Bulgaria , north of the greek
provinces. Emperor Philipp II conquered Plovdiv about 350 years BC and called it Philipopolis.
300 years later the town became a part of the Roman Empire. Some of its former names are Puldin
and Trimontzium. Now Plovdiv is one of the biggest and most important industrial centers in
Bulgaria.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plovdiv_Province"


Plovdiv




                                                                                                  46
Ancient Theater, Plovdiv                       International Fair, Plovdiv


Plovdiv (Greek:Philippopolis, "Φιλιππούπολις") is a city in Bulgaria and the capital of the Plovdiv
Oblast (district). With a population of 376 785 (15 of September 2004), it is the country's second
largest city (after the capital, Sofia). It is located in the Bulgarian part of Thrace on the riverbanks
of Maritsa river and famous Seven Hills. The population is predominantly Bulgarian, though there
is also Roma (Gypsy), Turkish, Greek, Hebrew and Armenian minority.

History
The history of Plovdiv reaches back 6,000 years, longer than either Athens or Rome, making it one
of Europe's longest continually inhabited cities. Originally known as a Thracian city named
Eumolpia, in 342 BCE it was conquered by Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great,
who renamed it Philippopolis. It was later independent under the Thracians, who called it
Pulpudeva (the translation of "Philippopolis"), until it was incorporated into the Roman Empire,
under which it was called Thrimontium (City of Three Hills) and served as capital of the province
of Thrace. Many Roman ruins can still be seen in the city.

The Slavs took the city in the 6th century and named it Puldin, and the Bulgars conquered it in
815. The name Plovdiv first appears in the 15th century.

Under Ottoman rule, Plovdiv was a major center of the Bulgarian nationalist movement, and the
first Bulgarian language printing house was built in the city. While the city was liberated from the
Ottomans during the Battle of Plovdiv in 1878, it was not originally part of the newly established
Principality of Bulgaria. Instead it was the capital of the semi-independent Region of Eastern
Rumelia, until that area finally joined Bulgaria in 1885 after the Unification of Bulgaria.

Under communist rule since the end of World War II, Plovdiv was the center of that country's
democracy movement, which finally overthrew the pro-Soviet regime in 1989.

Plovdiv hosted specialized exhibitions of the World's Fair three times (1981, 1985, and 1991).

Economy
Plovdiv is at the center of an important agricultural region, so that food processing is the most
important industry. The city also produces machinery, textiles, and chemicals.

Karlovo is a town in Central Bulgaria located in a fertile valley along the river Tundzha (in
Bulgarian: Тунджа). It has a population of 30,000 (as of 2005). There are some facts that make
karlovo famous. First, the world-wide known rose oil, which is grown here, is used in producing
perfume. In addition to this, Karlovo is the birthplace of Vassil Levski. He is the most
distinguished Bulgarian to start preparing the national liberation from the Ottoman rule. There is a
museum dedicated to him and a big monument. Karlovo is also a liked place for tourism in the
region.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karlovo"

Hisarya (also spelled Hisar or Hissarya) is a small resort town in Bulgaria, in Plovdiv Region.


                                                                                                     47
Located in the outskirts of the Sredna Gora mountain range, it boast a wonderful climate and over
two dozen different mineral springs, which make it a favourite spa for many Bulgarian and foreign
tourists.

Because of these springs, the town was founded thousands of years ago. Some pre-historic remains
have been found in what is now the town centre. Later, it became a Thracian city, and when Thrace
fell to the Romans and became a Roman province, Hissar became a Roman town - one of the three
most important towns in the province. At various times it was called Augusta, Diocletianopolis
(after emperor Diocletian) and a couple of other names. It was a famous resort even in those times,
which is proved by the fact that emperor Septimius Severus himself visited the city.

Many Roman ruins are still visible everywhere - public buildings, a small amphitheatre, the
barracks of the Roman garrison, the foundations of a couple of the oldest churches in Bulgaria, as
well as the best preserved Roman fortress in Bulgaria. The southern gate is known as "The
Camels", owing to the fact that it had broken in the middle and looked like two camels facing each
other, before it was partially restored in the late XX century.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the prosperous city declined and when it was included within
the borders of Bulgaria, it was just a minor fortified town. During the Turkish rule it further
declined and at some point the once prosperous city was just a couple of small houses in the midst
of many Roman ruins, which peasants from the nearby villages used for a stone quarry, destroying
most of them in the process.

After the liberation of Bulgaria in 1878, Hissar was included in the province of Eastern Rumelia,
and after the Unification of Bulgaria in 1885 it became a part of Bulgaria.

It prospered once again when the mineral springs were re-discovered and the place became the
favourite recreation spot for the rich.

After 1945, the summer houses of the rich were nationalised and became spas for the public. The
"restitution" after 1992 saw them transferred to the grandchildren of the pre-war rich, who have no
money to repair the buildings, so much of the old heritage is now falling into disuse.

Still, with its many functioning hotels and renovated spas, whith the enormous parks and the great
views and climate, Hissar is one of the best places to spend your time in Bulgaria.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hisarya"


Perushtitsa




Townhall of Perushtitsa, the cultural centrum – "2000 years, 1 goal: liberty"

                                                                                                    48
Perushtitsa is a Bulgarian town located in the Plovdiv Oblast on the feet of the Rodopi mountains.

The town is famous throughout Bulgaria for the fight that took place there in 1876 during the April
Uprising against the Ottoman reign.

The use of a special grape was invented in Perushtitsa, leading to a typical Bulgarian wine,
Mavrud.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perushtitsa"

The Laki craters (Icelandic Lakagigar) are situated in the south of Iceland not far from the
canyon of Eldgjá and the small town Kirkjubæjarklaustur; the highest peak reaching up to 816 m.
The mountain range of small craters is covering an area of 25 km length.

The Big Eruption
This volcanic system, belonging to Katla central volcano, was at the origin of the biggest volcanic
eruption on earth in historical times, in the form of a flood basalt. Between the glaciers of
Mýrdalsjökull and Vatnajökull, there is an area of fissures which lies in a south-west to north-east
direction. This area—Eldgjá belongs to it, too—produced the biggest amount of lava ever
produced from one single area in the world during historical times. Between the 8th of June 1783
and February 1784, a fissure, with 130 craters, opened at Laki. The eruption produced some 14 km³
of lava, and the total volume of tephra emitted was 12.3 km3. Lava fountains, like those of Hawai‗i,
were seen in distant towns. Additionally, vast clouds of gas and ash were released, reaching even
mainland Europe. The gases were carried by the convective eruption column to altitudes of about
15 km. The aerosols built up caused a cooling effect in the Northern Hemisphere, possibly by as
much as 1 degree Celsius.

Consequences
The consequences for the whole country were fatal. Cattle died because of poisoning, and the
ensuing famine resulted in the death of 20% of the population in the following years.

Jón Steingrímsson
The parish priest Jón Steingrimsson grew famous because of his so-called fire sermon. The whole
community of the small town Kirkjubæjarklaustur was in church. At the same time the town was
endangered by a lava stream. But while the people were in church, the lava stopped not far from
town. "This said week, and the two prior to it, more poison fell from the sky than words can
describe: ash, volcanic hairs, rain full of sulfur and salt peter, all of it mixed with sand. The snouts,
nostrils, and feet of livestock grazing or walking on the grass turned bright yellow and raw. All
water went tepid and light blue in color and gravel slides turned gray. All the earth's plants burned,
withered and turned gray, one after the another, as the fire increased and neared the settlements."
(Rev. Jón Steingrímsson, Fires of the Earth, The Laki Eruption (1783-1784)




                                                                                                      49
Razgrad Province
Razgrad is a province in northern
Bulgaria. Its main city is Razgrad.

Razgrad is a city in north-eastern
Bulgaria, capital of Razgrad
Province. It was built upon the ruins
of the ancient Roman town of
Abritus.Razgrad has one of the
dense Turkish population in
Bulgaria.Also it is the province
where Turks are facing the worst
Bulgarian fascism and clumsy
bureaucracy.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razgrad"


Ruse Province
Ruse Province (Bulgarian:
Русенската област) is a province
in northern Bulgaria, neighbouring
Romania. It is named after its main
city, Ruse




Ruse (Bulgarian: Русе; Turkish:
Rusçuk) is the fifth largest city in
Bulgaria, having a population of 178,000. Ruse is situated in the north of the country, at
43°51′23″ N 25°58′14″ E, on the border with Romania, it is the largest Bulgarian port on the
Danube and a major cultural centre.

A prominent local landmark is a 210-metre high television tower equipped with an observation
deck open to visitors.


Shumen
Province
Shumen is a province in
northeastern Bulgaria. Its main city
is Shumen, while other towns
include Veliki Preslav, Kaspichan,
Kaolinovo, Varbitsa, Smyadovo,
Venets, Pliska, Hitrino and Nikola
Kozlevo.


                                                                                               50
Shumen or Shoumen (Shumla, Shumna) is a city in the Northeastern part of Bulgaria, capital of
Shumen Province.

It lies 80 km w. of Varna, on the railway from Trnovo to Shumla Road (a name given to a station
on the Varna-Rustchuk railway by the English builders of the line). The town is built within a
cluster of hills, northern outliers of the eastern Balkans, which curve round it on the west and north
in the shape of a horse-shoe. A rugged ravine intersects the ground longitudinally within the horse-
shoe ridge. From Shumen roads radiate northwards to the Danubian fortresses of Rustchuk and
Silistria and to the Dobrudja, southwards to the passes of the Balkans, and eastwards to Varna and
Baltchik. Shumen has, therefore, been one of the most important military positions in the Balkan
Peninsula. A broad street and rivulet divide the upper quarter, Gorni-Mahle, from the lower, Dolni-
Mahle. In the upper quarter is the magnificent mausoleum of Jezairli Hassan Pasha, who in the
18th century enlarged the fortifications of Shumen. The principal mosque, with a cupola of very
interesting architecture, forms the centre of the Moslem quarter.

History
In 811 Shumen was burned by the emperor Nicephorus, and in 1087 it was besieged by Alexius I.
In 1388 the sultan Murad I forced it to surrender to the Turks. In the 18th century it was enlarged
and fortified. Three times, in 1774, 1810 and 1828, it was unsuccessfully attacked by Russian
armies. The Turks consequently gave it the name of Gazi ("Victorious"). In 1854 it was the
headquarters of Omar Pasha and the point at which the Turkish army concentrated (See Crimean
War). On the 22nd of June 1878 Shumla capitulated to the Russians.

Preslav (Bulgarian: Преслав) was capital of the First Bulgarian Empire from 893 to 972. The
ruins of the city are situated some 20 kilometres southwest of the regional capital of Shumen and
are currently a National Archaelogical Reserve.

The name of Preslav is clearly of Slavic origin; apparently it was initially founded and functioned
as a Slavic settlement until its fortification at the beginning of the 9th century. The close proximity
to the then Bulgarian capital of Pliska led to the fast development and expansion of Preslav during
the reign of the Khans Krum and Omurtag. By the time of the coronation of Khan Boris I in 852,
Preslav had turned into an important strategic military centre and was the seat of the Ichirguboil. A
number of churches were built in the city after the conversion of the Bulgarians to Christianity in
864.

The pagan revolt of the Pliska nobility led by King Vladimir in 892 was decisive for the future
destiny of the city. In 893 Vladimir was dethroned and the new ruler, Simeon the Great, decided to
move the capital of the state from the still somewhat pagan Pliska to Preslav. In the following 80
years the city developed rapidly, turning into a centre not only of Bulgarian politics and diplomacy,
but also of culture, literature and the fine arts. A chronicler mentioned that it took Simeon 28 years
to establish and build up his new capital. Archeological excavations have, however, proved that the
city continued to develop also during the 930s and 940s and reached the peak in its growth and
magnificence in the middle of the rule of Tsar Peter I of Bulgaria.




                                                                                                    51
Ceramic icon of St. Theodor, Preslav, ca. 900 AD, National Archaelogical Museum, Sofia

In view of the impressive town planning, the vital economy and the grandeur of buildings like the
Round Church and the Royal Palace, Preslav was a true rival of the largest and most important city
centres in the western hemisphere. Culturally, it was the centre of the Preslav Literary School
which was founded in Pliska in 886 and was moved to Preslav along with the rest of the court in
893. The greatest Bulgarian writers from the Old Bulgarian period worked in Preslav, among them
John Exarch, Constantine of Preslav, Chernorizetz Hrabar. It was probably around the Preslav
Literary School that the Cyrillic alphabet developed in middle of the 9th century. The city had also
large ceramic workshops which produced art ceramics, glazed tiles, as well as ceramic icons and
iconostases.

The city's fortune underwent a dramatic downturn at the end of the 960s when it was occupied by
the Kievan Prince Sviatoslav. The ensuing war between Russian and Byzantines left the city burnt
and ravaged by the army of Byzantine Emperor John I Tzimisces. The conquerors took away the
treasury, the Bulgarian Tsar's regalia and a large part of the library of Simeon. Although the city
did not lose its importance in the next three hundred years, the neighbouring outskirts and the big
monasteries became desolate, the economy lost its vitality and significance.

Preslav regained some of its importance in Bulgarian politics during the first years of the joint rule
of the founders of the Second Bulgarian Empire, Theodore Peter and Ivan Asen I. Apparently, Ivan
Asen ruled from the centre of the uprising, Tarnovgrad, whereas his brother and co-ruler Theodore
Peter resided in Preslav as a symbol of the renewed statehood of Bulgaria. The strategical
advantages of Tarnovgrad were, however, decisive in the long run and the significance of Preslav
waned in the course of the 13th century. The Tatar raids during the 1270s drove away the last
citizens of Preslav, along with the protothroned bishop of the city. Some of the surviving refugees
built up a village of the same name only two kilometres north from the fortress where the
contemporary town of Veliki Preslav is now situated.

Silistra Province
Silistra is a province of Bulgaria,
named for its main city, Silistra. The
region is known for its pelicans and
apricot brandy. Silistra is a
traditionally agricultural region,
mainly because of its fertile soil.

Silistra (also Silistria) is a port city
of northeastern Bulgaria. Population:
                                                                                                   52
42,000 (?); 53,500 (1985); 48,000 (1974); 12,055 (1908); 12,133 (1900); 11,718 (1892). It lies on
the southern side of the lower Danube river which until this point forms the country's border with
Romania.

Founded as the Roman Durostorum, Silistra was a fortress of great strength, occupying the
northeast corner of the famous quadrilateral (Ruse, Silistra, Shumen, Varna), but its fortifications
were demolished in accordance with the Treaty of Berlin, 1878. The city was part of Romania
between 1913 and 1940.

Sliven Province
Sliven is a province in central
Bulgaria. Its main city is Sliven,
while other towns include Nova
Zagora and Tvurditsa. Sliven is
situated at the foot of the unique
rock massif "Siniteh Kamani" (The
Blue Stones), very close to mineral
springs. The town is famous for its
clean fresh air, clean water sources,
mild winter and cool summer.

Sliven is the only Bulgarian town
that has never changed its Slavonic name, though it is one of the oldest settlements in Europe. Here
lived Thracians, Romans, Slavs, and Ancient Greeks. The first Roman settlement on this place -
Tuida ( The 3rd century BC) was a famous trade centre. Sliven was mentioned as a big town for
the first time in 1153 by the Arab traveller Idrisi.

Nature Park Sinite Kamani - The Blue Stones
The 'Sinite Kamani' Nature Park is famous for its nature landmarks. Halkata – the arc-shaped stone
garland, possessing, according to the legends, magic force - is one of the symbols of the town of
Sliven. The forms that the nature has sculptured in the cave Zmeevi dupki – Zmejat, Orelat and
Vladishkija tron are amazing. The ancient beech forest in the vicinity of the Kushbunar spring in
the region of Karandila is quite picturesque. The specific climate and lay conditions of the nature
park determine the great diversity of flora and fauna. The plant species are more than 1000, about
900 of which are representative of high species. The invertebrate animals are represented by 235
species – eight species of fish, nine species of amphibians, nineteen species of reptiles, 165 species
of birds and 34 species of mammals. The lay is of typical mountain type – steep and ravine slopes
and at sea level between 290 and 1181 meters above the sea level. The north and northwest winds,
the wind called bora, famous also as the wind of the town of Sliven and the night breeze are typical
for the region. Through the park flow many rivers and their beds form numerous shoots, pools and
waterfalls.

Sliven is a town in southeast Bulgaria. It is a comparatively big town with 110,000 inhabitants (8th
largest in Bulgaria).




                                                                                                   53
Smolyan Province
Smolyan is a province in southern
Bulgaria. It borders Greece. Its main
city is Smolyan, while other towns
include:

                    Chepelare
                    Devin
                    Madan
                    Rudozem
                    Zlatograd

Retrieved from
"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smolyan_Province"

Smolyan is a municipality in Bulgaria, situated in the central part of the Rhodope Mountains upon
a territory of 879 sq. m, 67% of which are covered with age-old coniferous forests. The Town of
Smolyan (altitude above sea level between 800 and 1000 m) occupies the larger part of the valley
extension of the Cherna River, known as the Smolyan Hollow. The town is surrounded with green
meadows and age-old forests. The three large districts - Smolyan, Raikovo and Oustovo - are
situated along the two river banks in the west-east direction. The mountain town combines modern
construction with traditional Rhodope architecture.

The municipality is 90 km away from Plovdiv. It borders the Republic of Greece to the south, the
municipalities of Roudozem, Madan and Banite to the east, the Laki and Chepelare municipalities
to the north and Devin to the west.

Madan is a mountainous town in Bulgaria, situated in the Yellow Share of the Rhodopi mountains.
It is a part of the Ardino‘s ridge, sloping down to the northeast between the rivers Arda and
Vurbitsa. In the central part of the Yellow Share rise the peaks Butchovitsa (1404 m), Veternitsa
(1372 m) and Petrovitsa (1309 m). The end of the ridge is Alada peak (1241 m). From all sides the
Yellow Share is separated by mountain-spurs, whose segmentations are gradually sloping down
and vanishing in the valleys of the rivers. The river system of the region is presented by the basins
of the upper reaches of some of the longer rivers – to the north the basin of the Arda River with the
headers Elhovska and Chepinska Rivers.

Along the wide mountain ridges enclosed by the valleys of the Rivers Cherna, Big and Small
River, dark-green forests of tall pine-trees and spruce are succeeding each other. Here and there
you could see beech-trees, vast meadows, small valleys, rocky piles, and again forests and
meadows. In the summer the meadows are coloured by flourishing flowers and spices, the forests
give out a sweet smell of mushrooms. The mountain is abundant of strawberries, raspberries,
blueberries – heavy and fragrant.


Zlatograd



                                                                                                  54
Zlatograd is a town in Bulgaria, 60 km from Smolyan. It is located in a valley between the eastern
and central massif of the Rhodope mountains. The greek border lies just 5 km away from the town.


Administrative location: Zlatograd municipality is spread on a territory of 175.8 km². It has
common borders with the municipalities of Kirkovo and Dzhebel (to the east), Nedelino (to the
north), Madan and Rudozem (to the west) and with the Republic of Greece (to the south) - on the
borderline between Bulgaria and Greece).

Relief: mountainous;

Climate: The municipality is included in the transient-Mediterranean climate region.

Mineral resources: lead-zinc ore;

 Water resources:: The territory of the municipality is crossed by Varbitza river which is 98.1 km
long and its catchment basin is 1202.8 km. Nedelinska and Kushlenska rivers are tributaries of
Varbitza. There is a dam lake called "Zlatograd" with water capacity of 4,4.106 m . and a micro
dam lake called "Hasidere" (0,4.106 m).

 Soils: maroon forest leached (97.59 km²); brown forest-dark (12 km²); brown forest-transient
(83.37 km²); brown forest light (117.59 km²); alluvial-delluvial (0.59 km²); humus-carbonate
(11.07 km²);

Forest Fund: It covers an area of 144.60 km². The following species like beech, hornbeam, oak,
birch and cornel-tree are mostly spread among the broad-leaved forests. Prevailing coniferous trees
are spruce, fir-tree, white and black pine.

 Environment: There is a tailings pond called "Erma Reka" which is 8 km away from the town of
Zlatograd and 5 km away from the village of Erma Reka. The municipality is rich in underground
resources. In the surroundings of Erma Reka there is a geothermal deposit of hot mineral water.

 Population and settlements: The total number of population is 14,874 (7,285 males and 7,589
females) citizens, most of them living in the town of Zlatograd (8,444) and the villages of Starcevo
and Erma reka (the total number of village population is 6,430). The municipality comprises
Zlatograd and 9 more settlements.

 Labour force and unemployment: The rate of unemployment is 32.64 %, which is the highest
since 1990. The active population is 8,063 citizens of whom 50,97 % are employed in the public
sector and 49.03 % in the private sector.

 Agricultural Fund: It covers 25 km² and the arable land is 12 km². The cultures grown in the
municipality are tobacco, potatoes, vegetables and strawberries (representatives of perennial
plants).

                                                                                                 55
Arda (Bulgarian: Арда, Greek: Αρδας Ardas) is a river whose source lies in the Bulgarian
Rhodope Mountains near the town of Smolyan, flowing 290 kilometres eastward past Kardzhali
and Ivaylovgrad and through Greece in the northern portion of the Evros prefecture including
Kastanies. It then enters the Maritsa, just west of Edirne, Turkey. The portion in Bulgaria is
accented by three hydroelectric and irrigation dams.

The three floods of February 18, 2005 which the water level was at 4.8 m, March 1 and March 7,
2005 flooded the low lying areas especially in the Kastanies area which turned the area into a
lagoon. The merging of the waters of the Evros (Meriç in Turkey) caused streets and buildings
including homes to be flooded and people to be stranded in their homes.

     This Turkish location article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.
     This Bulgarian geography article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.
     This Greece location article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arda_River"




Sofia
The city of Sofia (Bulgarian: София), at the foot of the Vitosha mountain, has a population of
1,208,930 (2003), and is the biggest city and capital of the Republic of Bulgaria. It is located in the
Western part of Bulgaria at the foot of the mountain massif Vitosha and it is the administrative,
cultural, and industrial center of
the country.
                                             Coat of Arms                         Map




                                             Sofia's coat of arms
                                                                    Data
                                       Municipality(Oblast):        Sofia-City (София-град)
                                       Area:                        1,310 km²
                                       Altitude:                    550 m
                                       Population:                  1,192,603 census December 15, 2004

                                                                                                    56
History                                Population density:          907 persons/km²
                                       Average age of population:   38.3 years
On a site inhabited as early as the    Postal code:                 1000
8th century B.C., Sofia is the         Dialing code:                02
second oldest capital city in
Europe. It has been given several      Municipal Code:              C
names in the course of history,        motto of the city:           "Grows, but does not age"
and the remnants of the old cities     Day of Sofia:                17 September
can still be seen today.
                                       latitude:                    42° 42' N
Sofia was originally a Thracian        longitude:                   23° 20' E
settlement named Serdica, named        mayor (кмет):                (SSD) Stefan Sofiyanski
after the Thracian tribe of Serdi. It
was captured by Rome in AD 29.
When Diocletian divided the
province of Dacia into Dacia
Ripensis on the shores of the
Danube and Dacia Mediterranea,
Serdica became the capital of
Dacia Mediterranea. It was
destroyed by the Huns in 447. The
city was rebuilt by Byzantine
Emperor Justinian I and renamed
Triaditsa. Sofia was first captured
by the Bulgarians in 809.
Afterwards it was known as
Sredets, the name given to it by the Slavs. It was renamed Sofia (meaning "wisdom" in Greek) in
1376. Sofia was taken by the Ottomans in 1382 and became the capital of the Turkish province of
Rumelia. Sofia was liberated by the Russians in 1878, and became the capital of the independent
Bulgaria in 1879. During World War II the Russians occupied Sofia and Bulgaria after the pro-
German government was overthrown.

There are 16 universities in the city, among them Sofia University, founded in 1889. It is the see of
an Eastern Orthodox metropolitan and of a Roman Catholic diocese. Landmarks include the
Church of St. George, the Church of Saint Sofia, the Boyana Church, the Banya Bashi, and the
Alexander Nevski Cathedral.




Coats of arms




                                                                                                  57
National Theatre, Sofia               Alexander Nevski Cathedral              Front View


Economy




World Trade Center, Sofia

Sofia is a major centre in Bulgaria's economic life. The manufacturing sector of the economy,
represented by over 800 large manufacturing plants, includes metal products (75% of the total
output in the country), textiles, rubber and leather goods, printing (50% of output) and electronics
(15% of output). Sofia is also the country's financial hub, home to the Bulgarian National Bank, the
Bulgarian Stock Exchange, as well as some of the country's largest commercial banks (such
Bulbank, DSK Bank and the United Bulgarian Bank). Construction, trade and transport are other
important sectors to the local economy. Increasingly Sofia is getting attention as an outsourcing
location for Western European and Amrerican multinationals.




Administration
Sofia is one of 28 counties in Bulgaria. Besides the city of Sofia, the capital county encompasses
three other cities and 34 villages. It is split into 24 municipalities.

Each municipality has a head person who is elected by the municipal assembly. The head of the
county is its mayor (кмет). The assembly members are chosen every four years. Stefan Sofiyanski
is serving his third term as of 2005. He was first elected in 1995.

Transport
                                                                                                 58
A Tram on one of Sofia's sixteen lines

With its well-developed infrastructure and strategic location, Sofia is an important centre for
international railway and automobile routes. All major types of transport (except water transport)
are represented in the city, which is home to 8 railway stations, the Centre for Flight Control and
the Sofia Airport (hub for flag-carrier Bulgaria Air). Three Trans-European Transport Corridors
cross the city: 4, 8 and 10.

Public transit is well-developed, reliable and important to the city's economy; it is provided by
means of underground trains (the Sofia Metro), buses, trams and electric buses. There are over
15,000 licensed taxi cabs operating in the city.




Vitosha (Bulgarian: Витоша) is mountain massif, at the foot of which Sofia, the capital of
Bulgaria, is situated. Vitosha is one of the symbols of Sofia and the closest site for hiking, alpinism
and skiing. Convenient bus lines and rope ways render the mountain easily accessible. Vitosha has
the outlines of an enormous dome. The territory of the mountain includes Vitosha national park
that encompasses the most beautiful and most frequently visited parts. The foothills of Vitosha
shelter resort quarters of Sofia - Knyazhevo quarter has mineral springs. Vitosha is the oldest
national park in the Balkans.

Since the ancient times of the Thracians a large population has always existed at the base of
Vitosha. For the last four thousand years the economy of this large settlement has always been
connected, in one way or another, with the neighboring mountain. The name Vitosha comes from
the two-peaked, twin ridge mountain, which rises above the Sofia field and has acquired its present
shape in stages over many millennia.

The mountain was created by volcanic activity and has been subsequently shaped by the slow
folding of the granite rock layers and a series of gradual uplifts of the area. It appears dome shaped
at first sight, but the mountain, 19 km long by 17 km wide, actually consists of concentric
denudational plateaus rising in tiers one above the other. Vitosha is separated into four main parts
whose main ridges gather at a crown known as ―Cherni Vruh‖ (‗The Black Peak‘). This is the
highest point of the mountain at 2290 m and is one of 10 peaks on Vitosha over 2000 m in height.
                                                                                                    59
A meteorological station was built at the top in 1935, and is still operating. The station also serves
as a rest shelter for hikers and is the headquarters for the mountain rescue team. Historical
documents show that several centuries ago Vitosha mountain was still covered by the remains of
the inaccessible ―Great Bulgarian Forest‖. Today, the natural coniferous forests of Vitosha remain
only in the reserves Bistrishko Branishte, Peat Branishte, and around Zlatni Mostove (The Golden
Bridges). The Golden Bridges is an amazing phenomenon known as a Stone River and consists of
a ribbon of huge boulders running down the mountainside. This scenic spot is located along the
Vladaiska River in an area of mixed deciduous and evergreen forest. However, this is only one of
the eight stone rivers found in Vitosha and they were once the moraines of ancient glaciers. Their
further formation occurred due to the spherical erosion of the sienite rocks and their gradual
movement to down stream valleys by the forces of gravity and moving water.

At a time when nature conservation ideas were a long way from the present understanding some
enlightened noblemen took the first step in 1934 by declaring 66.00 km² of Vitosha as a National
Park, hence Vitosha became the first park on the Balkan Peninsula. During the following year
some of the first Bulgarian reserves - Bistrishko Branishte (10.61 km²) and Peat Branishte (7.84
km²) – were defined within its boundaries. The park boundaries fluctuated over many years and
today it encompasses the entire mountain – an area of 266.06 km².

Due to a great variability in elevation, a rich diversity of climates, flora and fauna can be found
within the park. Research has revealed that on the comparatively small area of the mountain there
are 1500 species of higher plants, 500 species of sponges, 500 species of algae, 326 species of
mosses, and 200 species of lichens. Among these there are 31 species which are Balkan endemics
and 52 species which are included in the Red Book of Bulgaria. The forests are made up mainly of
Norway Spruce and Bulgarian Fir, with some Macedonian Pine, Scots Pine, and at the tree-line,
Mountain Pine, and mixed hardwood forest at lower altitudes.




Sofia Province
Sofia is a province of Bulgaria. It
borders three sides of the city of
Sofia, but does not include it.

Towns in the province include
Samokov, Ihtiman, Botevgrad and
Koprivshtitsa.

Botevgrad (Bulgarian Ботевград)
is a town in Western Bulgaria. It is located in Sofia oblast and is close to Pravets. Botevgrad is
situated at a 47-km-distance from Sofia.

Botevgrad and its hinterland are located in a picturesque elliptical valley with a total area of 506.6
sq. km. The municipality covers parts of the Western Stara Planina mountain - Razhana,
Mourgash, Billo and Golyama Planina and some parts of the Northern Balkan. Prohoda Vitinya or
Vitinya Pass connecting Northern Bulgaria with Southern Bulgaria and the proximity of the capital
contribute to its strategic location. Botevgrad municipality borders the following municipalities:
Pravets, Etropoleh, Gorna Malina, Elin Pelin, Svogeh, Mezdra and Roman.

The region of Botevgrad municipality is quite rich in natural resources. The relief is remarkable for
its outstanding variety. The municipality covers the following geographic parts: a part of
                                                                                                   60
Botevgradska Kotlovina (the valley of Botevgrad), some parts of Botevgradski Predbalkan
mountain and four of the Balkan shoulders - Razhana, Golyama Planina, Mourgash and Billo.
Kotlovinata Zhleba - Fillet Hollow is situated between the main Balkan Range and the Northern
Balkan.

The bottom of the hollow is the acumulative river terrace of Bebresh river and its tributaries. The
low oval hills inside the hollow contribute to the countryside variety. Mount Mourgash - 1687 m
tall is the highest point of the highest mountain range to the south and south-west. Many rivulets
run down the slopes of the heights. Prohoda Vitinya or Vitinya Pass connecting South Bulgaria
with North Bulgaria is located on the territory of Botevgrad municipality.


Koprivshtitsa




Koprivchtitsa

Koprivshtitsa (Bulgarian: Копривщица) is a town in the Sofia region of Bulgaria, lying on the
Topolnitsa river among the Sredna Gora mountains. It was a centre of the April uprising and is
now known for its vernacular architecture and for its folk music festivals.

Koprivshtitsa is one of the most charming small Bulgarian towns, still preserving the atmosphere
of the National Revival period. The town is huddled in the mountain folds 111 km east of Sofia.
The town is a unique combination of a legendary history and fascinating present. No other
Bulgarian museum town boasts such a large number of houses and monuments - 383 in all, most of
which have been restored to their original appearance. A unique collection of ethnographical
treasures, old weapons, National Revival works of art, fine fretwork, household weaves and
embroidery, national costumes and typical Bulgarian jewelry has also been preserved. It was here
that the first bullet of the April uprising against the Ottoman oppressors was fired in 1876.

Specialists say that every house in Koprivshtitsa is a work of art. The Oslekov, Kableshkov and
Lyutov houses are fine examples of this, having exqusite painted facades and sunny verandahs,
with carved ceilings and stylish European furnishings.

There are many museums in the town, including ones dedicated to Todor Kableshkov, Georgi
Benkovski and Dimcho Debelyanov,
all of whom lived in Koprivshtitsa.

StaraZagora
Province
Stara Zagora is a province of south
central Bulgaria. Its main city is
Stara Zagora, while other towns
                                                                                                61
include Chirpan and Kazanlak. There are approximately 350,000 residents of Stara Zagora
province while the population of Stara Zagora and Kazanlak towns is 180,000 and 50.000
respectively. Stara Zagora is a cultural centre of particular significance for Bulgaria as it is an
ancient Thracian, subsequently Greek, Roman and Byzantine metropolis.

Stara Zagora (Стара Загора) is the sixth largest city in Bulgaria. It is located in the central part
of the country, in Stara Zagora Province, about 230 km from Sofia. Its population is approximately
160,000.

According to the city's Chamber of Commerce, it is one of the most ancient settlements in Europe,
at least eight thousand years old.

Kazanlak (Казанлък) is a small town in Bulgaria lying at the eastern end of the world-famous
Rose Valley. With a population of approximately 70,000 people, it is located near the geographical
centre of the country. The area is abundant with traces of ancient life from as far back as 2000 BC.

The landscape is picturesque, with mid-height mountain ranges on opposite sides, and is especially
marvellous in May when rose fields blossom and the fragrance is unparalleled. The beautiful
celebrations for the blossom of the roses there takes place in the first week of June. The whole
week is filled whith different attractions every day. That week is also interesting, because there is a
beauty pageant and on the last day of the celebrations, the most beautiful girl in the city is chosen.
They call her "The Queen Of Roses".


Targovishte
Province
Targovishte (Търговищка област)
is a province in central Bulgaria. Its
main city is Targovishte, while other
towns include Popovo, Opaka and
Omurtag.

Targovishte (Търговище) is a city
(population: 40 775; 170 m above
sea-level) in Bulgaria, capital of
Targovishte Province. It is situated
at the southern foot of the low mountain of Preslav along either bank of the Vrana River. It is 339
km north-east of Sofia, 41 km west of Shumen, 25 km north-west of Veliki Preslav, 24 km north-
east of Omurtag, 100 km north-east of Veliko Tarnovo, 36 km south of Razgrad, and 35 km south-
east of Popovo. It was an ancient market settlement.

Omortag-Khan or Omurtag of Bulgaria succeeded his father Krum to the throne in 814. His rule
ended in 831.

Omurtag waged war against the Franks, the Khazars and the Byzantine Empire, expanding the
borders of the Bulgarian state northwest incorporating the cities of Belgrade and Branichevo. To
the east, the state expanded all the way to the Dnieper. His ships sailed up to the middle reaches of
the Danube.

Only his wars with Byzantium were a failure. A thirty-year peace treaty was signed between
Bulgaria and Byzantium with the rulers of each taking an oath by the other's ritual. Both observed
                                                                                                    62
the Bulgar's pagan ceremonies and the Byzantine Christian rite. The Bulgarian army also helped
suppress a peasant revolt against Constantinople. Omurtag completed the process of Bulgaria's
consolidation as a unified and powerful state. By marrying a Slav and giving two of his sons Slavic
names he showed that he preferred to use peaceful means to unite the Bulgars and the Slavs into
one nation.

However, the preachers of Christianity were persecuted by the Khan. His eldest son Enravotha fell
victim to this persecution and was thus denied succession to the throne because of his adoption of
Christian faith. The capital Pliska, which had been burned by the Byzantines, was restored by
Omurtag. Another palice-fort was built on the Danube.


Pliska
Pliska (Bulgarian.: Плиска) is the name of both the first capital of Danubian Bulgaria and a small
village (formerly known as Aboba) which was renamed after the historical Pliska after its site was

Historical Pliska
Pliska was the capital of Bulgaria between 681 and 893 AD. According to a Bulgarian chronicle it
was founded by Khan Asparukh. It is called Pliskusa by Georgios Kedrenos and Anna Comnena. It
had an area of 23 km² and was surrounded by a moat and earthwork ramparts. The walls of the
inner fortress were 2.6 meters thick and about 12 meters high.

Pliska was sacked by the Byzantine army in 811, but the invaders were soon driven out by Khan
Krum (see Battle of Pliska). Khan Omurtag brought in artisans and craftsmen to improve the city.
In 886, Boris I founded the Pliska Literary School (after 893 Preslav Literary School) which was
headed by Naum of Preslav.

In 892, the city became the scene of a pagan revolt led by King Vladimir. After the crushing of the
revolt, Vladimir was dethroned and the third son of Boris I, Simeon, was installed into power. One
of the first steps of the new ruler was to move the capital to Preslav, a fortified town in the vicinity
of Pliska, probably because of the steadily strong pagan influence in the old capital.

The importance of Pliska gradually waned throughout the 10th century with the concentration of
power and resources in Preslav. The city was destroyed during the assualts of the Kievan Rus' and
the Byzantine Empire between 969 and 972 and was not rebuilt again.

The ruins of the city of Pliska lie 3 km north of the modern village of Pliska. The site of the city is
currently a National Archeological Reserve.

Modern Pliska




                                                                                                     63
Under Ottoman rule the village known as Pliska since 1947, was instead caled Aboba, a name
which it kept until 1925, when the name was changed to Pliskov a variant of its current name. The
village has a population of 1124 and is located 146 meters above sea-level in Shumen Province at
the south end of the Loudogorie plateau. It is approximately 400 kilometers northeast of Sofia at
43° 22' N. 27° 7' E.

Preslav (Bulgarian: Преслав) was capital of the First Bulgarian Empire from 893 to 972. The
ruins of the city are situated some 20 kilometres southwest of the regional capital of Shumen and
are currently a National Archaelogical Reserve.

The name of Preslav is clearly of Slavic origin; apparently it was initially founded and functioned
as a Slavic settlement until its fortification at the beginning of the 9th century. The close proximity
to the then Bulgarian capital of Pliska led to the fast development and expansion of Preslav during
the reign of the Khans Krum and Omurtag. By the time of the coronation of Khan Boris I in 852,
Preslav had turned into an important strategic military centre and was the seat of the Ichirguboil. A
number of churches were built in the city after the conversion of the Bulgarians to Christianity in
864.

The pagan revolt of the Pliska nobility led by King Vladimir in 892 was decisive for the future
destiny of the city. In 893 Vladimir was dethroned and the new ruler, Simeon the Great, decided to
move the capital of the state from the still somewhat pagan Pliska to Preslav. In the following 80
years the city developed rapidly, turning into a centre not only of Bulgarian politics and diplomacy,
but also of culture, literature and the fine arts. A chronicler mentioned that it took Simeon 28 years
to establish and build up his new capital. Archeological excavations have, however, proved that the
city continued to develop also during the 930s and 940s and reached the peak in its growth and
magnificence in the middle of the rule of Tsar Peter I of Bulgaria.




Ceramic icon of St. Theodor, Preslav, ca. 900 AD, National Archaelogical Museum, Sofia

In view of the impressive town planning, the vital economy and the grandeur of buildings like the
Round Church and the Royal Palace, Preslav was a true rival of the largest and most important city
centres in the western hemisphere. Culturally, it was the centre of the Preslav Literary School
which was founded in Pliska in 886 and was moved to Preslav along with the rest of the court in
893. The greatest Bulgarian writers from the Old Bulgarian period worked in Preslav, among them
John Exarch, Constantine of Preslav, Chernorizetz Hrabar. It was probably around the Preslav
Literary School that the Cyrillic alphabet developed in middle of the 9th century. The city had also
large ceramic workshops which produced art ceramics, glazed tiles, as well as ceramic icons and
iconostases.

The city's fortune underwent a dramatic downturn at the end of the 960s when it was occupied by
the Kievan Prince Sviatoslav. The ensuing war between Russian and Byzantines left the city burnt

                                                                                                    64
and ravaged by the army of Byzantine Emperor John I Tzimisces. The conquerors took away the
treasury, the Bulgarian Tsar's regalia and a large part of the library of Simeon. Although the city
did not lose its importance in the next three hundred years, the neighbouring outskirts and the big
monasteries became desolate, the economy lost its vitality and significance.

Preslav regained some of its importance in Bulgarian politics during the first years of the joint rule
of the founders of the Second Bulgarian Empire, Theodore Peter and Ivan Asen I. Apparently, Ivan
Asen ruled from the centre of the uprising, Tarnovgrad, whereas his brother and co-ruler Theodore
Peter resided in Preslav as a symbol of the renewed statehood of Bulgaria. The strategical
advantages of Tarnovgrad were, however, decisive in the long run and the significance of Preslav
waned in the course of the 13th century. The Tatar raids during the 1270s drove away the last
citizens of Preslav, along with the protothroned bishop of the city. Some of the surviving refugees
built up a village of the same name only two kilometres north from the fortress where the
contemporary town of Veliki Preslav is now situated.

Varna Province
Varna is a province in northeastern
Bulgaria, bordering the Black Sea. It
has a population of approximately
490,000 people, of whom around
70% live in the administrative centre
of Varna. It has an area of 3,820
square kilometres.

Varna is Bulgaria's third largest city,
after Sofia and Plovdiv. It was an
inhabited place even before the
Greeks established the colony of Odessos there about 580 B.C. Later, under the Romans and their
successors, the Slavs, Varna became a major port trading with Constantinople, Venice and
Dubrovnik. In 1393 it was captured by the Turks, who made it an important military centre.
Nowadays it is the main port for both naval and commercial shipping and, adjacent as it is to the
coastal resorts of Golden Sands, St. Constantine (Drouzhba) and Albena, it has a cosmopolitan
atmosphere. Sailors on shore-leave in unfamiliar ceremonial uniforms, mingle with foreign tourists
and locals as they promenade along shady boulevards, lined by dignified 19th and early 20th
century buildings.


The 19th century Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin is an imposing landmark, which
contains a finely carved iconostasis and bishop's throne, some interesting murals and stained glass.

The 2nd century thermae are the remains of the largest Roman public building in Bulgaria. During
this century enough has been revealed by archaeologists to give a good impression of the original
layout, though some parts of the building remain hidden under nearby streets. Coming across an
extensive ancient building amidst the streets and houses of a modern city is not unusual in
Bulgaria, but is always a delight.

Further from the centre, a granite monument commemorates the Battle of Varna, which took place
in 1444. Here 30,000 Crusaders were waiting to sail to Constantinople when they were attacked by
120,000 Turks. The Polish King Ladislas Jagello was killed in a bold attempt to capture the Sultan
Murad. The subsequent retreat foreshadowed Christendom's general retreat before the advancing
Ottomans.
                                                                                                   65
North of Varna there is a cluster of seaside resorts all with fine - sandy beaches but differing in size
and style.


Varna                                                     Coat of Arms                    Map

Varna (Bulgarian: Варна, Greek: Βαρνα)
has a population of 350,000, making it
Bulgaria's third largest city after Sofia and
Plovdiv. It is the capital of Varna Province.
It is a port city in the eastern part of the
country, located on the Black Sea coast. It is                                   Varna on the map of
sometimes referred to as "The Sea Capital"                                       Republic of Bulgaria
or "The Summer Capital" of Bulgaria. The
city was named Stalin, after Josef Stalin,
                                                      Varna's Coat of Arms
from 1949 to 1956.
                                                                          Data
                                                   Municipality (Oblast):      Varna (Варна)
History
                                                   Altitude:                   41 m
Varna was founded around 6,000 B.C. near                                       320,668 (2001 census)
                                                   Population:
the site of the ancient Greek trading colony (                                 349,715 (2005 estimate)
apoikia), Odessos. which was founded about         Postal code:                9000
580 BCE. Historically Varna is perhaps best
                                                   Dialing code:               052
known for being the site of the oldest gold
treasure to be found by archaeologists. The        Latitude:                   43° 12' N
Roman city had baths, built in the 2nd             Longitude:                  27° 55' E
century CE, that are the largest Roman             Mayor :                     Kiril Yordanov
remains in Bulgaria. The Byzantine city of
                                                      Odessos was captured by the Ottomans in
                                                      1393.

                                                      Orthodox Cathedral, Varna, built in the late
                                                      19th century

                                                      Nearby, the Battle of Varna was fought in
                                                      November 1444, when 30,000 crusaders
                                                      assembled at the port to sail to Constantinople
                                                      were attacked by a force of 120,000 Turks, led
                                                      by the Sultan Murad II. The Polish King
                                                      Ladislaus was killed in a bold attempt to
                                                      capture the Sultan. The retreat made the fall of
Constantinople all but inevitable.

Varna is called the sea capital of Bulgaria, because it is the biggest Bulgarian city on the seacoast.
Varna was also the base of the Bulgarian Navy. Currently, there is a Naval Museum with a
museum ship torpedo boat Draski. The archaeological museum contains some of the finds from the
so-called "Gold of Varna", a cache of Chalcolithic grave-goods which are the oldest gold treasure
in the world.




                                                                                                     66
The oldest gold treasure in the world, ca. 4000 BC, found near Varna

In 1444, the Battle of Varna was fought here, with the Turks defeating a Crusader army led by
Ladislaus III of Poland, who was killed, earning a nick-name Varnenchik. There is a mausoleum of
Ladislaus III in Varna.

The current mayor of Varna is Kiril Yordanov

In 1962, the 15th Chess Olympiad, also known as the World Team Championship, was held in
Varna. In 1969, Varna was the host of the World Rhythmic gymnastics Championship.

Economy




Varna Bay, Bulgaria

Varna is an important economic centre for Bulgaria and the Black Sea region in general. Major
industries include trade and transportation (see Port of Varna, Varna International Airport),
shipbuilding, and manufacturing. Tourism is of great importance to the city, with the nearby resorts
of Albena, Golden Sands, SS Constantine and Helena, Riviera and many others each year
attracting millions of visitors from all over the world. Together with the nearby town of Devnya,
Varna forms what is known as the Varna-Devnya Industrial Complex, home to some of the largest
chemical, electrical and manufacturing plants in Bulgaria.

In September 2004, FDI Magazine proclaimed Varna "South-eastern Europe City of the Future",
citing its strategic location, fast-growing economy, rich cultural heritage and high quality
education.




Entertainment
The residents and guests of Varna have many sources of entertainment. The beaches of the Black
Sea provide refreshment on hot summer days. There are several cinemas in the city (Palace
Cinema, Mustang,Bulgaran, FC), several theaters, and an Opera House. A walk in the Sea Garden
always offers a break from the busy life in the city. There are many night clubs, bars, cafés, and
restaurants. You can practice, or watch many sports in Varna. The Bulgarian volleyball team plays
                                                                                                 67
in Varna, and usually more than 5000 people come to support the team. Varna has two football
teams - Spartak Varna and Cherno More. Spartak Varna is one of Bulgaria's most famous football
clubs and the people of Varna enjoy a long-going love affair with the club. Whether times are good
or bad, the people of Varna flock to the stadium to see their heroes play for the pride of their city.
Many a saturday night you will hear chants of "Varna! Varna!" and "One love, one life, one Black
Sea Football club!!!" echo around the small alleys of Varna's old town. You can play basketball,
football, tennis, or beach volleyball on one of the many fields. You can also practice most of the
water sports on the Black Sea coast.

Night Life
Varna has a rich night life, especially in the summer. If you prefer going to a night club, you will
like all the clubs in the Sea Garden, right next to the beach. Popular clubs during the summer
months are Avenue, Cocaracha, Exit, Momo. There are many clubs in the nearby resorts as well,
including Masai and PR Club in Golden Sands to name a few. For more information about night
clubs in Varna, you can visit NightLife.bg If you prefer going to a restaurant, you can enjoy a tasty
bulgarian meal in Restaurant "Paraklisa". If you prefer Mediterranean cuisine, "La Pastaria" is the
place to go. For a quick meal, "Happy" restaurants offer nice meals at good prices. Of course, there
are many fish restaurants especially near the beach.

Golden Sands is a resort town on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast located about 15-20 miles from
Varna, the third largest city in Bulgaria. It is a popular tourist destination, drawing many visitors
from Germany, Eastern Europe, and various other places throughout the world.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Sands"

Veliko              Tarnovo
Province
Veliko Tarnovo is a province in
the middle of the northern part of
Bulgaria. Its capital city, Veliko
Tarnovo,      is     of     historical
significance as it is known as the
capital of Medieval Bulgaria.
Recently, it has been established as
a tourist centre. The Old Town is
one of the most beautiful spots in
Bulgaria. The local university is among the most prestigious and recognised ones in the country,
bringing a good number of students to the city each year since it first opened its gates in 1962. The
city's population is close to 70,000 people.

Other towns in the province include Gorna Oryahovitsa, which is within 10 kilometres of Veliko
Tarnovo, Svishtov, set on Danube River and famous for its Institute of Economics, and Suhindol,
the hometown of Lovico - an internationally recognised label for fine wines and spirits. Another
noticeable place is the village of Arbanasi, set between Veliko Tarnovo and Gorna Oryahovitsa.
The combination of old style and modern architecture, as well as its churches and monasteries,
present the spirit of Bulgaria. Real estate is among the most expensive in the country.


Veliko Tarnovo
                                                                                                   68
Veliko Tarnovo (Cyrillic: Велико Търново, "Great Tarnovo", also Veliko Turnovo) is a city of
approximately 65,000 people in North-central Bulgaria, 240km north-east of Sofia. It is the capital
of the regional government (oblast) of the same name. The city sits upon the side of a ridge at the
base of which runs the Yantra River. The river makes four sharp bends below the city and around
three largely uninhabited hills: Tsaravets, Sveta Gora, and
Trapezitsa.
                                                             Map
History
The known history of Veliko Tarnovo begins in the 4th
millennium BC with evidence of human habitation in the
western area of the city. Archaeological evidence of human
settlement dating to the 3rd millennium BC has been found
on Trapezitsa Hill. In the 2nd millennium BC the Thracians
settled on the banks of the Yantra River below the steep
sides of Tsaravets Hill. The hill was fortified by the
                                                            Information
Romans in the 1st century AD and in the 5th century the
Byzantines, under Emperor Justinian, built a keep enclosing Population 65,031(15 Mar 2004)
a small town on the hill.
                                                            Area        530 sq/km
In 681 AD a truce between Bulgarian khan Asparouh and Altitude          320 m
Byzantine emperor Constantine IV established the First
Bulgarian Empire. The kingdom flourished and expanded Coordinates 43°5′8″ N 25°39′20″ E
while hostility with Byzantium increased. In 972 Byzantine
emperor John Tzimisces declared Northeast Bulgaria a Website            veliko-tarnovo.net
Byzantine province. By 1018 all of Bulgaria was under
Byzantine rule.

In 1185 the brothers Asen and Petar declared an uprising against the Byzantine Empire and the
establishment of the Second Bulgarian Empire with Tarnovgrad, as Veliko Tarnovo was called
then, as its capital. In 1186 the church "St. Dimitar" was inaugurated and Petar was proclaimed
king. The city flourished and grew for 200 years until on July 17, 1393, Tarnovgrad is taken by the
Ottoman Empire after a three-month siege and the fortress on the hill was destroyed. Tarnovgrad
was the location of two uprisings against the Ottoman Empire in 1598 and 1686 that failed to
liberate Bulgaria.

Tarnovgrad, along with the rest of Bulgaria, remained under Ottoman rule until the 19th century
when national identity and culture re-asserted themselves as a strengthening resistance movement.
The idea of the establishment of an independent Bulgarian church and nation motivated the 1875
and 1876 uprisings in Tarnovgrad. On April 23, 1876, the April uprising in the city marked the
beginning of the end of the Ottoman occupation. It was soon followed by the Russo-Turkish War
(1877-1878). On the 7th of July, 1877 Russian General Joseph Vladimirovich Gourko liberated
Tarnovgrad. Bulgarian revolutionaries assisted by the Russian army ended the 480 year rule of the
Ottoman Empire. In 1878 the Treaty of Berlin created a Principality of Bulgaria between the
Danube and the Stara Planina range, with its seat at the old Bulgarian capital of Veliko Tarnovo.
On April 17, 1879, the first National Assembly convened in Veliko Turnovo to ratify the countries
new constitution, known as the Tarnovo Constitution, and officially make Sofia the capital of
Bulgaria.




                                                                                                69
The old section of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria.

In deference to the city's past, Tsar Ferdinand Saxe-Coburg Gotha chose the "Saint Forty Martyrs"
church in Veliko Tarnovo as the place to declare the complete independence of Bulgaria on
October 5, 1908.

In 1965 Tarnovo was renamed to Veliko Tarnovo.

Photos




                                                                                              70
Yantra is a river in Bulgaria. It flows into the river Danube near Svishtov. The city Veliko
Turnovo lies on the banks of the river Yantra.

Svishtov (Свищов, formerly Sistova) is a Bulgarian town at the Danube river, nearly 235 km
north-east from Sofia. It lies in the oblast of Veliko Tarnovo.

History
Svishtov is identified with the Roman colony Novae mentioned by Ptolemy. The exact site appears
to have been Staklen, to the west of the present town, which has gradually moved eastward since
the 16th century, when it was almost destroyed in the Turkish wars. It was at Svishtov that the
peace of 1790 was signed, by which the Austrian-Turkish boundary was determined. The town was
burned in 1810 by the Russians; but after 1820 it began to revive, and the introduction of steam
traffic on the lower Danube (1835) restored its prosperity. The Romanian town of Alexandria was
founded by fugitives from Svishtov after the Russo-Turkish War, 1828-1829.

Elena is a Bulgarian town in the Middle Balkan Range, 42 km south-east of Veliko Turnovo; a
mountain resort at an altitude of 280 m. Population of 7200. Terminal station on the railway line
Gorna Oryahovitsa - Elena.

Elena is an old settlement founded in the 15th C. In the 18th-19th centuries it is established as a
crafts, trade and educational centre. There have been preserved several architectural ensembles
dating back to the Bulgarian National Revival and comprising about 130 old houses. Wall-to-wall
construction forms interesting street silhouettes. The houses have stone basements with white-
washed or wooden walls of the upper floor with protruding bays above.

There have been preserved the first class school, founded in 1848 and named Daskalolivnitsa
where future teachers have been educated (nowadays a museum exhibition is arranged), St.
Nicholas Church (16th C., with valuable mural paintings, icons) and the three-naved Church of the
Assumption, built entirely of stone (1837). On the highest elevation the town clock-tower (1812)
raises with an antique clock mechanism.




                                                                                                71
Vidin Province
Vidin is the northwesternmost
province of Bulgaria. It borders Serbia
and Montenegro and Romania. Its
main city is Vidin.

Vidin is a Bulgarian town.

History
In 1356 Bulgarian Tsar Ivan
Alexander separated off Vidin from
the Bulgarian monarchy and set up his
son Ivan Sratsimir (1356-1396) as ruler there. In 1365 the Despotate of Vidin was occupied by
crusading Hungarians(the Hungarians called it Bodony), who the Bulgarians did not expel until
1369. In 1393, Bulgaria in turn was conquered by the Ottoman Empire, bringing an end to the main
Bulgarian state. After the Ottomans conquered the Bulgarian breakaway despotates of Dobrudja,
Prilep and Velbazhd as well, Vidin was left as the only remaining Bulgarian state. This situation
did not last long, however. In 1396 another crusade was organized against the Ottomans and
Sratsimir sent troops to join the crusade. After defeating the crusaders outside Nicopolis that same
year, Bayezid I annexed Vidin into the Ottoman Empire as punishment for participating in the anti-
Ottoman force.

Vratsa Province
Vratsa is a province of north
western Bulgaria, neighbouring
Romania. Its main city is Vratsa,
while other towns include Knezha
and Mezdra.

The region is bordered to the north
by the Danube, and to the south by
the Sofia region. It has an area of
3,621.8 km². The population of
235,189 inhabitants is distributed
over 10 communities.

Infrastructure   -   gas,  water,                                  electricity            supply,
telecommunications network
The Regional road system consists of 1277 km of the Republican road system. Predominating are
the IVth class roads. Their maintenance and control are under the responsibilities of the
Municipalities. The rehabilitation of these roads is a priority of the regional policy. Mezdra town is
a major railroad station connecting the major cities in Bulgaria. The passenger's transport is
ensured by 116 buses and 26 trolleys. The telecommunication network consists of 4 regional post
stations- Vratsa Biala Slatina, Mezdra and Kozloduy, and 116 local post offices. They offer
universal post services including express mail and international courier services EMS, SKYPAK,
DHL. In the town of Vratsa there are two branch offices of Mobiltel and Mobicom. The water
                                                                                                   72
supply system was envisaged to be improved and sewerage was mostly built, but there is a
program for modernization all over the Region / in the small villages incl./. The Nuclear Power
Plant Kozloduy, in the Northern part of the Region, is the major supplier of electricity in Bulgaria.

Logistics - roads, railroads, airports
The administrative capital of the Region is Vratsa town, in the Southern part of the Region, about
116 km from Sofia .The distance to the Major cities is as follows : -Vratsa - Varna 414 km; Vratsa
- Plovdiv 217km; Vratsa- Pleven 108 km; Vratsa Bourgas - 416 km. The International road E79
passes through the Region. The major European port and the Ferry complex Oriahovo-Becket, on
the River Danube, is situated in Oriahovo municipality.

Workforce-employment rates, average salaries in different
sectors
The economically active population is 48 892 employed as follows : in the Services sector - 27
685, in Industry - 19 020, in Agriculture - 2 187. The population has increased since the year 2000,
and are mostly in private labour employment. The rate of unemployment is higher than the
Bulgarian average, and the aim of the Regional policy is to implement programs to resolve this
problem. The labour force distribution in the basic economic sectors is the following - in Industry -
38.9%, in Agriculture - 4.5 % and in Services - 56.6%. The decrease of the number and relative
share of the employees in the public sector is matched by an increase in the private sector. The
proportion of workforce in State and Private sectors is 44.2 % to 55.8%. ?The higher level of
education stipulates a higher employment rate. In the Region predominates the number of
employees of secondary education? - What do these sentences mean? . On the labour market the
number of the specialists of higher education decreases in favour of those without education. The
average salary level for the Region is 297leva.

Current priority industry sectors
The natural peculiarities of the Vratsa Region contribute to the development of agriculture /mostly
in private farms/, lumber industry and electricity production. Major companies are the Kozloduy
Nuclear Power Plant, of national importance; Chimco AD - fertilizer factory, Beloizvorski cement
- cement factory and brewery; Ledenika AD -joint stock company; Centromet AD - centrifugal
casting; Vratitsa LTD - yarns, raw and finished fabrics, sewing articles; OMK Holding - machining
and machinery, tooling equipment, foundry, special production; Hemus -M AD - limestone, slabs,
tiles, blocks, columns; Sunnytex - AD - production of household linen, weaving etc.; Metizi AD -
steel wires, ropes and their products, spare parts; Variana LTD - concrete articles, greyiron cast,
metal safes; Enemona Holding - civil engineering.

Sectors for development
The main Projects are related to the development of the transport infrastructure, water supply and
sewerage, agriculture - vegetables, cattle breeding, silk-worm breeding, mushroom cultivation,
development and strengthening of the existing industrial plants, development of alternative forms
of tourism - rural, ecotourism, cultural, religious, spaeology, mountaineering, hang gliding etc. The
long term strategy for the Regional economy is to promote Small and Medium enterprises as
alternative way to develop the industry.

Schools Universities Job training
                                                                                                  73
Because of the close distance to the capital Sofia (site of the main Universities in Bulgaria), in the
Region there exists only one Local center of New Bulgarian University, one pedagogical college -
branch of the Veliko Tirnovo University and one Medical college. The Vocational schools have
their main disciplines mostly in agricultural technics, mechanics and electrotechnics, chemical
technologies, civil engineering and construction, language school and mathematical secondary
school. The total number of the primary schools in the Region is 54, 14 of them situated in the
Municipality of Vratsa. All of them are State owned. There is only one Private School Europe for
English language and management.

Financial institutions-banks
At the present moment there are 12 branches of Bulgarian Banks having their central offices in
Sofia. The insurance companies have their 9 branches in the Region.

Hospitals-number, specialization, number of beds and staff
The medical servces are provided in 6 hospitals - 2 of them in the main city of the Region - town
Vratsa. During the reforms in the health care there are also private medical services available as
well as stomatological services.

Cultural,Recreation Resources
Three hotels are available within the Region - Valdi-palace, hotel Tourist in the town Vratsa, and
hotel Istar in the town of Kozloduy. In the surroundings of the town Vratsa - 12 kilometers in the
mountain there is a Modern center for recreation hotel with facilities such as sauna, fitness suite
and others. Within the territory of the Region is the Vratchanski Balkan Natural Park that offers
excellent opportunites for recreation; there is Vratchanski Karst reserve, cave ledenika of
international importance, and Vratsa gorge near the town of Vratsa.

Places to visit, tourist info
On the territory of the State Forestry Board Vratsa the following protected natural attractions and
historical monuments are located:

The Vrachansky Karst reserve - including the beautiful rocky forms of the Vratsa Mountain; The
Natural Park Vrachansky Balkan - covers part of the State Forestry territory of the Stara Planina
mountain; The Ledenika cave is a National tourist attraction; The Ponora cave in the region of
Chiren village; The Vratsata gourge of the Leva river by the town of Vratsa; The Gods Bridges - a
natural rocky bridge and the karst spring in the Liliache village region; The Borovanska mogila -
an ancient Thracian fortress; The Botev pat memorial; The highest waterfall Skaklia - height 141
meters.

Vratsa or Vraca or Vratza (Bulgarian: Враца) is a city in northwestern Bulgaria, at the foothills
of the Balkan mountains. It is the administrative center of the Vratsa region.

The city of Vratsa is a commercial and crafts center and a railway junction. Vratsa has textile,
metal processing, chemical, and ceramics industries. It was an administrative and garrison town
under Ottoman Turkish yoke (15th–19th century). The municipal area of the city is inhabited by
80,040 people (2004).


                                                                                                   74
Vratsa is an ancient city, founded by the ancient Thracians /the original inhabitants of the territory
between the Danube and the Aegian sea/ Vratsa was called by the Romans Valve ("door of a
fortress") due to the narrow passage where was the main gate of the city fortress. Nowadays this
passage is the symbol of Vratsa and it is present on the city's coat of arms.

After the fall of Rome Vratsa became part of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium).

In the end of the 6th century Vratsa was populated by the South Slavic tribes /known as Slavines)
who came from Panonia and Dacia from the north, but Vratsa was still under Byzantine rule. In the
7th century the Proto-Bulgarians and the Slavs founded the Bulgarian state and the Slavic Vratsa
was liberated from the Byzantines and annexed into it. Vratsa became an important strategic city
because of its closeness to the south state border.The name of the city was changed from Valve to
the Slavic Vratitsa (the meaning of this name is the same as Valve). Vratsa became famous for its
goldsmith's and silversmith's production and trade, precise earthenware and military significance.

In the 8th century the Bulgarian army captured Sofia, which decreased the importance of Vratsa
because of the better strategic position of Sofia, its better economy and larger size. But Vratsa
proved its glory by its heroic resistance against the Byzantine, Serbian and Hungarian invaders
during the Middle Ages. Vratsa always stickеd rigidly to the central Bulgarian authority during the
Middle Ages and never supported the separationism of some bulgarian feudals. (to be continued)




Stara Planina
Stara Planina, Rhodope, Rila and Pirin
Mountains

The Stara Planina ("Old Mountain") or
Balkan mountain range is an extension
of the Carpathian mountain range,
separated from it by the Danube River.
This range runs 560km from eastern
Serbia eastward through central Bulgaria
to Cape Emine on the Black Sea. Sometimes included in term Balkan, but not Stara Planina, are the
Rila and Pirin ranges in South-Western Bulgaria.

The highest peak of the region is Musala (2,925 m) in the Rila mountains near Sofija (Rila range),
closely followed by Vihren (Rila range) and Greek Olympus.

The highest peaks of the Stara Planina itself are in central Bulgaria. The highest peak is Botev
(2,376m), located in the Central Balkan National Park (established 1991). Dairy products, such as
Kashkaval are produced here, as well as wine, plum and grape brandy known as Rakia.

Close to mount Botev is Kalofer, the birth place of Hristo Botev, the national hero who died in the
mountains near Vratsa in 1876 in the struggle against the Ottoman Empire. Also close to mount
Botev is the Shipka ("rosehip") Pass, the scene of the battle in 1878 which eventually ended
Turkish rule in the Balkans.
                                                                                                   75
Stara Planina is remarkable for its flora and fauna. The most beautiful Bulgarian mountain flower
Edelweiss grows there on peak Koziata stena.

There are several roads through Stara Planina:

                          Shipka (Gabrovo - Kazanlak)
                          Beklemeto (Troian - Karnare)

In earlier times the mountains were known as the Haemus Mons. Scholars consider that Haemus
(Greek 'Aimos) is derived from an unattested Thracian word *saimon, meaning 'mountain range'.

Peaks
                          Musala 2,925 m (Rila/Pirin range)
                          Vikren 2,914 m (Rila/Pirin range)
                          Olympus 2,911 m (Greece)
                          Maljovica 2,729 m
                          Botev 2,376 m (Stara Plarina)
                          Goljam Perelik 2,197 m (Rhapode range)

Musala (Bulgarian: Мусала) is the highest mountain in Bulgaria and the entire Balkan Peninsula
in southeast Europe.

The name derives from Mus Allah, "the mountain of Allah", being so named during the period
when Bulgaria was part of the Islamic Ottoman Empire. The old name of the mountain is Tangra.

Musala is situated within the Rila National Park. It is noted for its rich flora, including species such
as Macedonian Pine and Bulgarian Fir in the forests on its middle slopes, and fauna; it is one of the
easiest places in Europe to see the Wallcreeper. The easiest climb is by a straightforward footpath
from the ski resort of Borovets, 10 km to the north; there is also a chairlift from Borovets to 2,250
m altitude and several mountain chalets.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Musala"


Shipka Pass
                               View from Shipka

                               Shipka pass is a scenic mountain pass through the Stara Planina, or
                               Balkan Mountains, in Bulgaria. It is crossed by a road, which runs
                               from Russe on the Danube River, to Stara Zgora and then on to
                               Edirne, Turkey. The maximum altitude of this pass is 1,150 m (3,820
                               ft).

During the Russo-Turkish War, 1877-1878, this pass was the scene of a series of conflicts
collectively named the Battle of Shipka Pass.




                                                                                                     76
Yambol Province
Yambol is a province in south
eastern     Bulgaria,    neighbouring
Turkey to the south. Its main city is
Yambol, while other towns include
Topolovgrad and Elhovo. It has an
area of 4162 km² and, according to
the 2001 census a population of 156
631. The current population is
estimated at 141 157. The town is
famous for its history dating from
ancient times. The archaeological
findings are related to the year 6000
BC. to the time of Roman Emperor Diocletian reign when the castle, called Diospolis, was built
with location of the present modern town. The best preserved historical sites, dating back to XV
century are the bazar "Bezisten" and the mosque "Esky Djamia" that have been restored and are
functioning at present. The town has another contribution to the world progress - Yambol is the
native place of the artist of world popularity George Papazov and John Popov. The computer
inventor - John Atanasov has family roots in the district. The Middle parts of Tundja valley spread
over the most of the district. The hilly plain relief predominates - 100 - 150m above the sea level.
The North areas of Tundja valley are characterized by trans-continental climate while the south
parts have typical continental - Mediterranean climate. The average annual temperatures are 12-
12,50 C. The Tundja River, the fourth of its size with an earth embankment, flows through the
district. Mineral water wells are found near the village of Stefan Caradjovo. Agricultural lands take
76.9 % of th whole district territory and the forests - 15.5 % of it. The wood resources include elm-
tree, yoke-elm, willow, poplar, oak tree.

Coming from the remote past, going to the future is the motto of this ancient town. The town is
situated on the banks of the river Toundja. The territory of the area covers the middle part of the
river valley, the ―Bakadjitsi‖, parts of the Svetiliiski, Derventski and Manastirski uplands. Mineral
water springs are found near the village of Stefan Caradjovo, Straldja. The climate of the Tundja
river valley is transcontinental, and in the southern parts of the area the climate is continental
mediterranean.

The Ancient settlement of Kabile, the prehistoric tumulus by the village of Drama, the remains of
Yambol Mediaeval castle and the Monastery of the middle Ages in Voden are some of the sites
worth seeing.

The Antique settlement "Kabile" is a National archaeological reserve and a nature preserved site,
being the most important Thracian settlement in Bulgaria.

In modern study of Ancient Thrace it has already been proved that Kabile was the most prominent
political, economic and religious centre from the first millennium BC. The archaeological
investigations of the ancient city that have taken place in the last thirty years have revealed a great
number of artefacts (stone inscriptions, coins, ceramic ware and remains of building activities)
dating from times over a millennium long history. Most of the discovered artefacts have already
been published and used as a data for archaeological and historical studies.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yambol_Province"



                                                                                                    77
Yambol (Bulgarian: Ямбол) also transliterated as Jambol, is the principal town in Yambol
Province, Bulgaria, located on the Tunzha River.




Geography
Main article: Geography of Bulgaria




Bulgaria is comprised of the classical regions of Thrace, Moesia and Macedonia. The southwest of
the country is mountainous, containing the highest point of the Balkan Peninsula, peak Musala at
2,925 m, and the range of the Balkan mountains runs west-east through the middle of the country,
north of the famous Rose Valley. Hill country and plains are found in the southeast, along the
Black Sea coast in the east, and along Bulgaria's main river, the Danube in the north. Other major
rivers include the Struma and the Maritsa river in the south.

The Bulgarian climate is temperate, with cold, damp winters and hot, dry summers.

The Balkan peninsula derives its name from the Balkan or Stara Planina mountain range which
runs through the center of Bulgaria into eastern Serbia.

See also:

This is a list of cities in Bulgaria with over 20.000 inhabitants (2005):

               Asenovgrad
               Aytos
               Blagoevgrad
               Botevgrad
               Burgas
               Dimitrovgrad
               Dobrich
                                                                                                78
         Dupnitsa
         Gabrovo
         Gorna Oryahovitsa
         Gotse Delchev
         Harmanli
         Haskovo
         Karlovo
         Karnobat
         Kazanlak
         Kardzhali
         Kyustendil
         Lom
         Lovech
         Montana
         Nova Zagora
         Pazardzhik
         Pernik
         Petrich
         Pleven
         Plovdiv
         Razgrad
         Ruse
         Samokov
         Sandanski
         Sevlievo
         Shumen
         Silistra
         Sliven
         Smolyan
         Sofia
         Stara Zagora
         Svishtov
         Targovishte
         Troyan
         Varna
         Veliko Tarnovo
         Velingrad
         Vidin
         Vratsa
         Yambol

10 largest cities
   1.Sofia - 1,208,930
   2.Plovdiv - 324,400
   3.Varna - 304,400
   4.Burgas - 186,600
   5.Ruse - 182,000
   6.Stara Zagora - 137,100
   7.Pleven - 128,400
   8.Sliven - 94,200
   9.Dobrich - 91,800

                              79
     10. Shumen - 84,800

This is a list of rivers in Bulgaria (it includes all the rivers which flow even one metre in
Bulgaria).

          Archar
          Arda
          Batova reka
          Bistritsa
          Byala reka (Bulgarian: White river)
          Danube
          Deleynska reka
          Dospat
          Dzhulyunitsa
          Erma
          Fakiyska reka
          Iskar
       o       Cherni Iskar
       o       Palakariya
          Kamchiya
       o       Golyama Kamchiya (Bulgarian: Big Kamchiya)
       o       Luda Kamchiya (Bulgarian: Crazy Kamchiya)
          Krumovitsa
          Lebnitsa
          Lom
       o       Beli Lom (Bulgarian: White Lom)
       o       Cherni Lom (Bulgarian: Black Lom)
          Luda Yana (Bulgarian: Crazy Yana)
          Maritsa
          Matevir
          Mechka (Bulgarian: Bear)
          Mesta
       o       Bela Mesta (Bulgarian: White Mesta)
       o       Cherna Mesta (Bulgarian: Black Mesta)
          Ogosta
          Osam
          Provadiyska reka (Bulgarian: River of Provadia)
          Pyasachnik (Bulgarian: Sandstone)
          Ropotamo
          Rusokastrenska reka (Bulgarian: River of Rusokastro)
          Sazliyka
          Shirokolashka reka (Bulgarian: River of Shiroka Laka)
          Stara reka (Bulgarian: Old river)
          Struma
       o       Rilska reka
          Strumeshnitsa
          Stryama
          Suha reka (Bulgarian: Dry river)
          Topolnitsa (in Bulgarian, Topola means poplar)
          Tsibritsa
          Tundzha
          Vacha
          Varbitsa
                                                                                          80
              Veleka
              Vit
       o           Beli Vit (Bulgarian: White Vit)
       o           Cherni Vit (Bulgarian: Black Vit)
              Voynishka reka (Bulgarian: Soldier's river)
              Yantra
       o           Rositsa
              Zlatna Panega (Bulgarian: Golden Panega)

Note: in Bulgarian, reka means river.
This is a list of Reservoirs and dams in Bulgaria:

               Batak
               Beli Lom (in Bulgarian: White Lom)
               Belmeken
               Chatalka
               Dospat
               Dushantsi
               Golyam Beglik
               Iskar
               Ivaylovgrad (Bulgarian: Ivaylo's town)
               Kamchiya
               Kardzhali
               Koprinka
               Malko Sharkovo (Bulgarian: Little Sharkovo)
               Mandra (Bulgarian: dairy)
               Montana
               Ovcharitsa
               Palitsi
               Pasarel
               Pchelina (Bulgarian: Apiary)
               Pyasachnik (Bulgarian: Sandstone)
               Saedinenie (Bulgarian: Union)
               Shiroka Polyana (Bulgarian: Broad meadow)
               Sopot
               Stamboliyski
               Studena (Bulgarian: Cold)
               Studen kladenets (Bulgarian: A cold well)
               Ticha
               Topolnitsa (in Bulgarian, Topola means poplar)
               Toshkovchak
               Trakiets (Bulgarian: Thracian)
               Tzonevo
               Vacha (ex-name: Antonivanovtsi)
               Vasil Kolarov
               Yastrebino (in Bulgarian, Yastreb means Hawk)
               Yovkovtsi (named after Yordan Yovkov, a significant Bulgarian writer)
               Zhrebchevo (in Bulgarian, Zhrebche means Little stallion)

Dospat is a dam located in the western Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria.

It is situated in the heart of the fairy-tale Rhodope mountains, in immediate proximity of the town
of the same name, at distance of 82 km west of the town of Smolyan. Located 1200 meters above
                                                                                                81
the sea level it is the highest dam in Bulgaria, and, with its 22 km² of water area, the second one in
size.

The nature around the dam is appreciated as visually appealing, with old pine forests surrounding
the lake, and opposite it the steep slopes of the Rhodope mountains are picturesquely studded with
houses and hotels.

The dam is rich in fish. It is stocked with perch, grey mullet, carp, trout, etc. Several types of
fishing are practiced: fishing with lures, fly-fishing, and others.

In the surrounding areas are situated the dams of Vacha, Sarnitsa, Beglika, Batak, and of Shiroka
Polyana.

The dam is near of the town of Dospat. The area offers great opportunities for recreation and
tourism.

The Dushantsi dam is settled in the picturesque Stara Planina mountains, Bulgaria.

The dam wall can be easily reached by car, driving along the old road to Burgas. The area around
the dam is suitable for outgoings, picnics, water sports and fishing.

The Topolnitsa river feeds the dam, and is another suitable place for fishing.

Golyam Beglik is a dam near the central parts of the Rhodope Mountains, Bulgaria.

The dams Batak, Beglika, Shiroka poliana and Golyam Beglik are the main tourist places in the
Batak region. The dams are located to the north and to the south at high sea level.

There is a large diversity of game near the dam territory. There are bears, deer, foxes, wolves, a lot
of small suckling - rabbits, hedgehogs, squirrels, and a lot of wild ducks and geese near its water
areas. The place is well suited for developing the hunting tourism that has great tradition in the
region.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golyam_Beglik"

The Iskar (Bulgarian: Искър; Latin Oescus) is the longest river in Bulgaria, a right tributary of the
Danube. It has a length of 368 km. After rising in the north slopes of the Rila Mountain, it is used
to form the Iskur dam - the biggest in Bulgaria. The river runs near Sofia and passes through a
gorge in the Balkan Mountains with beautiful rocky forms. It flows in the Danube near the village
Gigen.

Kardzhali (Кърджали) is a town in Bulgaria, capital of Kardzhali Province. Near the town is the
noted Kardzhali dam.

There are many open-air restaurants, offering variety of drinks and cocktails in summer time on the
dam. It is a popular place among fans of water sports and of fishing.

The reservoir of the Kardzhali dam was recently seeded artificially with perch pike. The fish was
taken from the Ovcharitsa dam.

The first historical moment of the dam was in the 1970s, when it was artificially seeded with
sheatfish. Nowadays there are 100 kg representatives. Later, 45 000 carp were introduced into the
dam as well.
                                                                                               82
The Arda river feeds into the Kardzhali dam.

Palitsi is a dam in Elena, village of Palitsi, Bulgaria.

This dam is part of the Stara Planina mountain range, approximately 10 km east of the town of
Elena. The waters of the dam are bred with carp, white fish and perch, which makes it suitable for
fishing.

The dam offers excellent conditions for vacations, recreation, camping, picnics, walks in nature,
water sports and sunbathing.

The Pasarel dam is located 20 km to the east of Sofia, Bulgaria.

This dam is nearby the Dolni Pasarel village at about 20 km to the east of Sofia. Pasarel dam is not
large, but still attracts visitors to the area.

Near to the Pasarel dam, in the village of Dolni Pasarel, is located the "St. Peter and Pavel"
monastery.

Shiroka Polyana is a dam situated in the Western Rhodopes mountains in Bulgaria.

The dam is situated 30 km south of Batak, on the road to Dospat. It is located 1500 meters above
sea level amidst a forest of old pine trees. Different legends are told about the dam. According to
local people the mythical hero Orpheus inhabited the area.

The shape of Shiroka Poliana dam is unique. Viewed from the ring-road it seems that the dam is
comprised of numerous small dams with separate walls. This illusion is due to the indented relief
of the dam bed that consists of several mountain gullies.

Although the banks of the dam are far from the road and comparatively hard of access, it attracts
many visitors and sports fishermen because of the abundance of fish, including grey mullet, perch,
trout.

Studen Kladenets is a dam on the Arda River located near the town of Kardzhali (Kardjali) in
Bulgaria.

Studen Kladenets is one of the biggest dams in Bulgaria and also includes an artificial lake. It is
located to the east of the town, and west of Studen Kladenets there is another large dam --
Kardzali.

Studen Kladenets dam is an attractive place for fishermen, where rudd is caught in great numbers.
Studen Kladenets is Bulgarian for "a cold well".

Vacha (Antonivanovtsi Dam, renamed by edict from 1999) is a dam situated in south Bulgaria,
Devin municipality, 680 m above sea level.

It is located near to road from Krichim to Devin.

One can find perch, pike-perch, rudd and carp in dam's water, which attracts many fishing fans.

15 meters from Vacha Dam is Atanas Spiridonov chalet.


                                                                                                  83
The Yovkovtzi dam is situated in northeastern Bulgaria, 5 km away of the town of Elena. It is
built 20 years ago at Veselina River. The dam is located in the territory of Elena municipality and
supplies water to Veliko Turnovo, Gorna Oryahovitza, Lyaskovets, Strajitza, Zlataritza, Elena,
Gabrovo and Drianovo. 223 km² of the dam are hygienic protected zone. The dam is rich in carp,
pikeperch and many other kinds of fish. There are wonderful opportunities for fishing. There is a
built-up infrastructure too. The place is a perfect site for recreation close to nature, water motor
sports and sunbathing. There is a horse base available.

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yovkovtsi"




Economy
Main article: Economy of Bulgaria

Bulgaria's economy contracted dramatically after 1989 with the loss of the market of the Council
for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) member states, to which the Bulgarian economy
had been closely tied. The standard of living fell by about 40%, but it regained pre-1990 levels in
June 2004. In addition, UN sanctions against Yugoslavia and Iraq took a heavy toll on the
Bulgarian economy. The first signs of recovery emerged in 1994 when the GDP grew and inflation
fell. During 1996, however, the economy collapsed due to lack of international economic support
and an unstable banking system. Since 1997 the country has been on the path to recovery, with
GDP growing at a 4-5% rate, increasing FDI, macroeconomic stability and EU membership set for
2007.

The current government, elected in 2001, has pledged to maintain the fundamental economic
policy objectives adopted by its predecessor in 1997, i.e., retaining the Currency Board, practicing
sound financial policies, accelerating privatisation, and pursuing structural reforms. Economic
forecasts for 2005 and 2006 predict continued growth in the Bulgarian economy. The annual year-
on-year GDP growth for 2005 and 2006 is expected to total 5,3% and 6,0%, respectively. Industrial
output for 2005 is forecast to rise by 11,9% year-on-year, and for 2006 - by 15,2% year-on-year.
Unemployment for 2005 is projected at 11,5% and for 2006 - at under 10%.

On April 25, 2005 Bulgaria signed the Treaty of Accession with the European Union and is set to
join the bloc in 2007.


Comecon

A Soviet poster reading "COMECON: Unity of Goals, Unity
of Action"

The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
(COMECON / Comecon / CMEA / CEMA), 1949 – 1991,
was an economic organisation of communist states and a
kind of Eastern Bloc equivalent to the European Economic
Community. The military counterpart to the Comecon was
the Warsaw Pact.


                                                                                                 84
Names in languages of the member states
                    in Bulgarian – Съвет за Икономическа Взаимопомощ, СИВ
                    in Czech – Rada vzájemné hospodářské pomoci, RVHP
                    in German – Rat für gegenseitige Wirtschaftshilfe, RGW
                    in Hungarian – Kölcsönös Gazdasági Segítség Tanácsa, KGST
                    in Polish – Rada Wzajemnej Pomocy Gospodarczej, RWPG
                    in Romanian – Consiliul de Ajutor Economic Reciproc, CAER
                    in Russian – Совет кономической Взаимопомощи, СЭВ
                    in Slovak – Rada vzájomnej hospodárskej pomoci, RVHP
                    in Spanish – Consejo de Ayuda Mutua Económica, CAME
                    in Vietnamese – Hội đồng Tương trợ kinh tế, HĐTTKT

Characteristics
Seat: Moscow

Full Members in the late 1980s: the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German
Democratic Republic (East Germany), Hungary, Romania, Poland, Cuba, the Mongolian People's
Republic (Mongolia), and Vietnam.




The COMECON's executive committee in session

Primary documents governing the objectives, organization, and functions:

              the Charter of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (first adopted in 1959
                 and subsequently amended; all references herein are to the amended 1974 text)
              the Comprehensive Program for the Further Extension and Improvement of
                 Cooperation and the Further Development of Socialist Economic Integration by
                 the Comecon Member Countries, adopted in 1971 (see Comprehensive Program
                 for Socialist Economic Integration)
              the Comprehensive Program for Scientific and Technical Progress up to the Year
                 2000, adopted in December 1985

The Comecon served for four decades as a framework for cooperation among the planned
economies of the Soviet Union, its allies in Central and Eastern Europe, and, later, Soviet allies in
the Third World. Over the years, the Comecon system grew steadily in scope and experience. The
organization later encompassed a complex and sophisticated set of institutions that represented a
striking advance over the capabilities of the organization in the early 1960s.


                                                                                                  85
This institutional evolution reflected changing and expanding goals. Initial, modest objectives of
"exchanging experience" and providing "technical assistance" and other forms of "mutual aid"
were extended to the development of an integrated set of economies based on a coordinated
international pattern of production and investment. These ambitious goals were pursued through a
broad spectrum of cooperative measures extending from monetary to technological relations.

At the same time, the extraregional goals of the organization expanded; other countries, both
geographically distant and systemically different, were being encouraged to participate in
Comecon activities. Parallel efforts sought to develop Comecon as a mechanism through which to
coordinate the foreign economic policies of the members as well as their actual relations with non-
member countries and such organizations as the EEC and the United Nations.

Asymmetries of size and differences in levels of development among Comecon members deeply
affected the institutional character and evolution of the organization. The overwhelming
dominance of the Soviet economy necessarily meant that the bulk of intra-Comecon relations took
the form of bilateral relations between the Soviet Union and the smaller members of Comecon.

These asymmetries served in other ways to impede progress toward multilateral trade and
cooperation within the organization. The sensitivities of the smaller states dictated that the
sovereign equality of members remained a basic tenet of the organization. Despite Soviet political
and economic dominance, sovereign equality constituted a very real obstacle to the acquisition of
supranational powers by Comecon organs. Nevertheless, the 1985 Comprehensive Program for
Scientific and Technical Progress up to the Year 2000 took steps to instill some organizations with
supranational authority.

The planned nature of the members' economies and the lack of effective market-price mechanisms
to facilitate integration further hindered progress toward Comecon goals. Without the automatic
workings of market forces, progress had to depend upon conscious acts of policy. This tended to
politicize the processes of integration to a greater degree than was the case in market economies.

History
Main article: History of the Comecon

The Comecon was founded in 1949 by the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary,
Poland, and Romania. Joseph Stalin's desire to enforce Soviet domination of the small states of
Central Europe and to mollify some states that had expressed interest in the Marshall Plan were the
primary factors in Comecon's formation.

Until the late 1960s, cooperation was the official term used to describe Comecon activities. In
1971, with the development and adoption of the Comprehensive Program for the Further Extension
and Improvement of Cooperation and the Further Development of Socialist Economic Integration
by Comecon Member Countries, Comecon activities were officially termed integration
(equalization of "differences in relative scarcities of goods and services between states through the
deliberate elimination of barriers to trade and other forms of interaction."). Although such
equalization had not been a pivotal point in the formation and implementation of Comecon's
economic policies, improved economic integration had always been Comecon's goal.

The 1985 Comprehensive Program for Scientific and Technical Progress and the rise to power of
Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev increased Soviet influence in Comecon operations and
led to attempts to give Comecon some degree of supranational authority. The Comprehensive


                                                                                                  86
Program for Scientific and Technical Progress was designed to improve economic cooperation
through the development of a more efficient and interconnected scientific and technical base.




Membership




Map of Comecon member states (in red) as of the 1980s

                           January 1949: Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania,
                            and the Soviet Union
                           February 1949: Albania (Albania, although it had not formally revoked
                            its membership as of mid-1987, stopped participating in Comecon
                            activities in 1961.)
                           1950: East Germany
                           1962: Mongolia
                           1972: Cuba
                           1978: Vietnam

In the late 1950s, a number of other communist-ruled countries--China, the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea (North Korea), Mongolia, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia--were invited to participate
as observers in Comecon sessions. Although Mongolia and Vietnam later gained full membership,
China stopped attending Comecon sessions after 1961. Yugoslavia negotiated a form of associate
status in the organization, specified in its 1964 agreement with Comecon.

In the late 1980s there were ten full members: the Soviet Union, six East European countries, and
three extraregional members. Geography, therefore, no longer united Comecon members. Wide
variations in economic size and level of economic development also tended to generate divergent
interests among the member countries. All these factors combined to give rise to significant
differences in the member states' expectations about the benefits to be derived from membership in
Comecon. Unity was provided instead by political and ideological factors. All Comecon members
were "united by a commonality of fundamental class interests and the ideology of Marxism-
Leninism" and had common approaches to economic ownership (state versus private) and
management (plan versus market). In 1949 the ruling communist parties of the founding states
were also linked internationally through the Cominform, from which Yugoslavia had been expelled
the previous year. Although the Cominform was disbanded in 1956, interparty links continued to
be strong among Comecon members, and all participated in periodic international conferences of
communist parties. Comecon provided a mechanism through which its leading member, the Soviet
Union, sought to foster economic links with and among its closest political and military allies. The
East European members of Comecon were also militarily allied with the Soviet Union in the
Warsaw Pact.

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There were 3 kinds of relationships - besides the 10 full memberships – with the Comecon:

                   Yugoslavia was the only country considered to have associate member status.
                    On the basis of the 1964 agreement, Yugoslavia participated in twenty- one of
                    the thirty-two key Comecon institutions as if it were a full member.
                   Finland, Iraq, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Mozambique had a nonsocialist
                    cooperant status with Comecon. Because the governments of these countries
                    were not empowered to conclude agreements in the name of private
                    companies, the governments did not take part in Comecon operations. They
                    were represented in Comecon by commissions made up of members of the
                    government and the business community. The commissions were empowered
                    to sign various "framework" agreements with Comecon's Joint Commission on
                    Cooperation.
                   After 1957 Comecon allowed certain countries with communist or pro-Soviet
                    governments to attend sessions as observers. In November 1986, delegations
                    from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Laos, Nicaragua, and the People's Democratic
                    Republic of Yemen (South Yemen) attended the 42d Council Session as
                    observers.

Structure
Main article: Structure of the Comecon

The official hierarchy of Comecon consisted of the Session of the Council for Mutual Economic
Assistance, the Executive Committee of the Council, the Secretariat of the Council, four council
committees, twenty-four standing commissions, six interstate conferences, two scientific institutes,
and several associated organizations.

Nature of Operation
Comecon was an interstate organization through which members attempted to coordinate economic
activities of mutual interest and to develop multilateral economic, scientific, and technical
cooperation:

                                                               The Charter stated that "the
       sovereign equality of all members" was fundamental to the organization and procedures of
       Comecon.
                                                               The Comprehensive Program further
       emphasized that the processes of integration of members' economies were "completely
       voluntary and do not involve the creation of supranational bodies." Hence under the
       provisions of the Charter, each country had the right to equal representation and one vote in
       all organs of Comecon, regardless of the country's economic size or the size of its
       contribution to Comecon's budget.
                                                               The "interestedness" provisions of
       the Charter reinforced the principle of "sovereign equality." Comecon's recommendations
       and decisions could be adopted only upon agreement among the interested members, and
       each had the right to declare its "interest" in any matter under consideration.
                                                               Furthermore, in the words of the
       Charter, "recommendations and decisions shall not apply to countries that have declared
       that they have no interest in a particular matter."
                                                               Although Comecon recognized the
       principle of unanimity, disinterested parties did not have a veto but rather the right to
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       abstain from participation. A declaration of disinterest could not block a project unless the
       disinterested party's participation was vital. Otherwise, the Charter implied that the
       interested parties could proceed without the abstaining member, affirming that a country
       that had declared a lack of interest "may subsequently adhere to the recommendations and
       decisions adopted by the remaining members of the Council."

The descriptive term Comecon applied to all multilateral activities involving members of the
organization and was not restricted to the direct functions of Comecon and its organs. This usage
could be extended as well to bilateral relations among members, because in the system of socialist
international economic relations, multilateral accords – typically of a general nature – tended to be

Comecon Versus the European Economic Community




European trade blocs as of late 1980's. EEC member states are marked in blue, EFTA – green, and
Comecon – red.

Although Comecon was loosely referred to as the "European Economic Community (EEC) of
Eastern Europe," important contrasts existed between the two organizations. Both organizations
administered economic integration; however, their economic structure, size, balance, and influence
differed:

In the 1980s, the EEC incorporated the 270 million people of Western Europe into economic
association through intergovernmental agreements aimed at maximizing profits and economic
efficiency on a national and international scale. It was a regionally, not ideologically, integrated
organization, whose members had all attained an accomplished level of industrialization and were
considered to be roughly equal trading partners. The EEC was a supranational body that could
adopt decisions (such as removing tariffs) and enforce them. Activity by members was based on
initiative and enterprise from below (on the individual or enterprise level) and was strongly
influenced by market forces.

Comecon joined together 450 million people in 10 countries and on 3 continents. The level of
industrialization from country to country differed greatly: the organization linked three
underdeveloped countries – Cuba, Mongolia, and Vietnam – with some highly industrialized states.
Likewise, a large national income difference existed between European and non-European
members. The physical size, military power, and political and economic resource base of the
Soviet Union made it the dominant member. In trade among Comecon members, the Soviet Union
usually provided raw materials, and East European countries provided finished equipment and
machinery. The three underdeveloped Comecon members had a special relationship with the other
seven. Comecon realizes disproportionately more political than economic gains from its heavy
contributions to these three countries' underdeveloped economies. Socialist economic integration
or "plan coordination" formed the basis of Comecon's activities. In this system, which mirrored the
member countries' planned economies, the decisions handed down from above ignored the
influences of market forces or private initiative. Comecon had no supranational authority to make
                                                                                                 89
decisions or to implement them. Its recommendations could only be adopted with the full
concurrence of interested parties and did not affect those members who declared themselves
disinterested parties.




Soviet domination of Comecon was a function of its economic, political, and military power. The
Soviet Union possessed 90 percent of Comecon members' land and energy resources, 70 percent of
their population, 65 percent of their national income, and industrial and military capacities second
in the world only to those of the United States. The location of many Comecon committee
headquarters in Moscow and the large number of Soviet nationals in positions of authority also
testified to the power of the Soviet Union within the organization.

Soviet efforts to exercise political power over its Comecon partners, however, were met with
determined opposition. The "sovereign equality" of members, as described in the Comecon
Charter, assured members that if they did not wish to participate in a Comecon project, they might
abstain. East European members frequently invoked this principle in fear that economic
interdependence would further reduce political sovereignty. Thus, neither Comecon nor the Soviet
Union as a major force within Comecon had supranational authority. Although this fact ensured
some degree of freedom from Soviet economic domination of the other members, it also deprived
Comecon of necessary power to achieve maximum economic efficiency.


Treaty of Accession 2005
The Treaty of Accession 2005 was the agreement between the European Union and two countries
(Bulgaria and Romania), concerning these countries' accession into the EU. At the same time it
changed a number of points which were originally laid down in the Treaty of Nice.

On April 13, 2005 the European Parliament has approved the signing of the Accession Treaties of
Romania and Bulgaria, effectively endorsing their accession to the European Union. The
parliament voted on the Romanian Accession Treaty with 497 positive votes, 93 negative votes and
71 abstentions. Bulgaria received a slightly more positive message, with 522 votes in favour of its
Accession Treaty, 70 negative votes and 69 abstentions.

The treaty was signed on April 25, 2005 in Luxembourg and it is expected to enter into force on
January 1st 2007, the day of the enlargement of the European Union.

The European Union comprises a large number of overlapping legal structures which is a result of
it being defined by successive international treaties. The Treaty of Accession 2005 modifies:

                   the Treaty of Rome (Treaty establishing the European Community),
                   the Euratom Treaty and
                   the Maastricht Treaty (Treaty forming the European Union)

as well as other acts which together form the current legal framework (acquis) of the EU.

The Treaty's full name was: Treaty between the Kingdom of Belgium, the Czech Republic, the
Kingdom of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Estonia, the Hellenic
Republic, the Kingdom of Spain, the French Republic, Ireland, the Italian Republic, the Republic
of Cyprus, the Republic of Latvia, the Republic of Lithuania, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the
Republic of Hungary, the Republic of Malta, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Republic of

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Austria, the Republic of Poland, the Portuguese Republic, the Republic of Slovenia, the Slovak
Republic, the Republic of Finland, the Kingdom of Sweden, the United Kingdom of Great Britain
and Northern Ireland (Member States of the European Union) and the Republic of Bulgaria and
Romania, concerning the accession of the Republic of Bulgaria and Romania to the European
Union.

Parliamentary approval of the Treaty




Ratification status; light green - ratified

Demographics
Main article: Demographics of Bulgaria

According to the 2001 census, Bulgaria's population is mainly ethnic Bulgarian (83.9%), with two
sizable minorities in the form of Turks (9.4%) and Roma (4.7%). Of the remaining 2.0%, 0.9% are
distributed among some forty smaller minorities, the most numerous of which are the Armenians,
Russians, Vlachs, Crimean Tatars, Karakachans, Macedonian Slavs and Jews; the people who have
not declared their ethnicity are 1.1% of the total population. 84.8% of the Bulgarian population
speak Bulgarian, a member of the Slavic languages, as mother-language. Bulgarian is the only
official language, but other languages are spoken, corresponding closely to ethnic breakdown.

Most Bulgarians (82.6%) are at least nominally a member of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, the
national Eastern Orthodox church. Other religious denominations include Islam (12.2%), Roman
Catholicism (0.6%), various Protestant denominations (0.5%), with other denominations, atheists
and undeclared numbering ca. 4.1%.

Religion
Most citizens of Bulgaria are at least nominally members of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
founded in 870 AD (autocephalous since 927). The Bulgarian Orthodox Church is the independent
national church of Bulgaria like the other national branches of Eastern Orthodoxy and is
considered an inseparable element of Bulgarian national consciousness. The church has been
abolished, or rather reduced to a subordinate position within the Greek Orthodox Church, twice
during the periods of Byzantine (1018-1185) and Ottoman (1396-1878) domination but has been
revived every time as a symbol of Bulgarian statehood. In 2001, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church
had a total of 6,552,000 members in Bulgaria (82.6% of the population). However many younger
people raised during the 45 years of communist rule are not religious even though they formally
may be members of the church.
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The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia is one of the biggest Orthodox churches in Europe.

Despite the dominant position of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in Bulgarian cultural life, a
number of Bulgarian citizens belong to other religious denominations, most notably Islam, Roman
Catholicism and Protestantism. Islam came to Bulgaria at the end of the 14th century after the
conquest of the country by the Ottomans. It gradually gained ascendancy throughout the 15th and
16th century by introduction of Turkish colonists and (usually forceful) conversion of Bulgarians
and at the time of the Liberation (1878) not less than 40% of the population of the country was
Muslim. The percentage has been greatly reduced since then, mostly due to emigration. In 2001,
there were 967,000 Muslims in Bulgaria (12.2% of the population).

In the 16th and the 17th century missionaries from Rome converted the Bulgarian Paulicians in the
districts of Plovdiv and Svishtov to Roman Catholicism. Their descendants form nowadays the
bulk of Bulgarian Catholics whose number stood at 44,000 in 2001. Protestantism was introduced
in Bulgaria by missionaries from the United States in 1857. Missionary work continued throughout
the second half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. In 2001, there were some 42,000
Protestants in Bulgaria.

                     Bulgarian Orthodox Church
                     Roman Catholicism in Bulgaria
                     Protestantism in Bulgaria
                     Islam in Bulgaria
                     Judaism




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