Municipality of Smolyan
GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION. Smolyan municipality is located in the South central part of Bulgaria in the middle of the Rhodope mountains over a territory of 854 sq. km (329 sq. miles).
The municipality comprises of 86 settlements predominantly villages in 42 mayoralties. It also includes part of the national resort Pamporovo - the internationally popular ski centre and ideal locality for all the year round tourism and recreation activities.
The municipal and regional centre - the town of Smolyan is located 220 km away from the capital - Sofia city, 100 km away from the second biggest city in Bulgaria - Plovdiv, with the closest international airport and 40 km away from the border with Greece.
BOUNDARIES OF THE MUNICIPALITY, RELIEF, CLIMATE, SOILS, MINERAL RESOURCES, TEMPERATURE. The boundaries of Smolyan municipality to the North are - Chepelare and Lucky, to the East - Rudozem, Madan and Banite municipalities, to the West - Devin municipality and to the South - the Republic of Greece.
The relief of all the territory is mountainous with rolling hilly silhouette and highlands with round forms, occasionally broken with picturesque gorges. The average altitude is around 1300 m. The highest peak is Goliam Perelik - 2191 m. The average altitude of the town of Smolyan is 987 m above the sea level.
The landscape provides for the development of winter sports, all types of tourism, for the development of cattle breeding, the valleys are suitable for building of settlements and road network. There is no substantial intervention on nature from human activities. The various rock formations, caves, waterfalls and lakes, the protected bio-diversity create favourable conditions for the development of hiking and eco-tourism.
The climate is cross continental with Mediterranean influence, substantially varied by the influence of the relief, the altitude and the inclination of slopes.
The average monthly maximum temperature is 22.7 , and the average monthly minimum is 5.2 . The annual rainfalls quantity is between 700 and 900 litres per sq.m.
Winter is mild and snowy, with no sharp and long frosts thanks to the fencing hills rising around the town in western and northern direction. There are no extreme minimums or avalanches. The snow cover stays for 80-120 days. Summer is fresh and wet, and autumn - long and warm.
Smolyan municipality is situated in the area of the brown forest soils and their types. Their mechanical compound is sand-clay and clay-sand, friable.
The raw materials available in the municipality are brown (bituminous) coals, silver, lead-zinc ore, limestone, gneiss and clay; marble and inert materials, most of the fields are not developed.
Transport in Smolyan municipality and the region is entirely automobile, the nearest railway station is in Assenovgrad - 85 km from Smolyan town.
The roads are II, III and IV class - the total length of the republican and municipal road network is 614 km.
The nearest international motorway - Trakia Highway E-80, connecting Europe with Istanbul is at a distance of 100 km from Smolyan. The nearest international airport to Smolyan is Plovdiv Airport - 85 km from Smolyan.
 ECONOMY. The most developed branches of the economy in the municipality are trade and repair services, industry (processing, light industry, food and beverage), construction and tourism.
Among the processing industries, light industry and food-processing as a leading sectors are well-developed. The most typical enterprises are textile, tailoring and leather companies, dairy farms, bakeries and pastries. A large share of the active labour force is engaged in the tailoring and textile industries.
In Smolyan there is a also production of metal-processing tools and instruments, cables and isolated semi-conductors, as well as a variety of electro-mechanical parts - micro-switches, network switches, sockets, plugs, extension wires for households, contact elements for the automobile and household industries. The plastics details manufactured in Arexim cover a wide production line of thermo-reactive and thermo-plastics components, injection moulds, instrumental equipment and plastic components for the electronics, automobile, food-processing industries, and the healthcare.
The main competitive advantage of Smolyan region compared to the other regions is forestry. Timber is the strategic reserve for the economic development of the municipality economy. A major principle in lumbering and wood-processing industries is the use of the resources alongside with conservation and maintaining of the ecological balance.
Construction is a branch with traditions in the municipality - some of the largest companies in the municipality are operating in the field of housing and road construction - "Viastroy-engineering" Ltd., "Diulger" Ltd., "Drama-Vladimir Garbelov" SP, "Konglomeratstroi - Manol Chernev" SP, "Perelik" PLC, "Stiffstroy" Ltd., "Teracom".
Tourism - designated to be developed as priority sector of the local economy. In the last few years the industry is characterized by a steady rate of growth.
  AGRICULTURE. The agriculture is mainly single-crop. The primary crops are the potatoes and beans and some limited areas of grains and cultivated herbs. There is a tendency of increasing the areas for growing perennial plants, mainly strawberries, close to Smolyan and Smilian.
The agricultural lands are small-sized, scattered and far from the road network. The cultivable land is chiefly situated upon the mountain slopes and the river valleys.
The region is well known as a producer of potatoes all over the country.
- Transport - various categories of roads. The total length of the republican road network is 181,414 m, including 33,859 km - II class and 147,555 - III class, 98 % of them paved.
The municipal road network is 482,6 km, including 209,50 km ex- IV class roads, and 273,10 km - local roads.
-Water supply and sewerage pipelines. Water Supply and Sewage" PLC - Smolyan manages and maintains the water supply and sewage systems of 55 settlements in the municipality. There are 3 Drinking Water Purification Plants. The total length of the water pipeline in the municipality (including the resort of Pamporovo) is 534 km in 2005.
The building of Waste Water Purification Plant in town is anticipated under the ISPA project "Integrated Water cycle of Smolyan" funded by the European Commission with total amount of the project funds - 24 million euro. The construction of another Waste Water Purification Plant is planned in the Ardashla area in the resort of Pamporovo. The total length of the sewage pipelines maintained by "Water Supply and Sewerage" PLC - Smolyan is 42 933 m.
- Electricity distribution network; The sole supplier of electricity in the town and municipality is "Elektrodistribution - Plovdiv" PLC - Smolyan Branch. The company 336 transformer stations and junctions, 338 km of sky cables with voltage - 20 V, 62 km underground cables with voltage - 20 V, 398 km of sky cables and 219 underground cables with low voltage.
The energy transferability by both air and underground cables is 20 V - 20 W.
There have been 5 new installations launched in Smolyan Municipality in 2005. Due to the intensive construction works going on in the resort of Pamporovo at the moment a new sub station is about to be built there: 110/20 V for 2006.
- Gas supply, telecommunications, internet, mobile operators coverage. There is no natural gas supply mains to the territory of the municipality.
The quality of telecommunications in the municipality is very good - with telephone connections to all the communities, more than 40 telephone automatic stations operating in the municipality and 2 new digital stations. As a result the capacity and quality of the phone connections has improved significantly.
The four national mobile operators - Mobiltel, Mobikom, Globul and Vivatel - provide coverage of approximately 80% of the territory.
The internet access is good. There are 3 main suppliers, but there are also other companies providing internet connection.
- Waste management. In 2004 the municipality launched a joint project with the "Eco-Pack" company for separate collecting and processing of various types of waste - paper, paper, glass, plastics and metals.
The project is part of the Program for recycling of the waste.
The Waste management in the municipality is the responsibility of the municipal specialized unit of for waste collection and transport. Contacts details: +359-301-62298.
- Sports infrastructure. The sports infrastructure of Smolyan comprises of two stadiums, Sports Centre, Tennis Court, swimming pool, skateboard half-pipe, basketball playground in the open and a few children playgrounds. The Sports Centre houses a basketball and volleyball playground and a heavy lifting room.
Smolyan has long time traditions in the winter sports. The proximity of the resort Pamporovo offers wonderful opportunities for skiing and snowboard, for organizing national and international competitions in skiing, snowboard and cross-country skiing. There are 35 km ski runs and 11 km chair lifts and ski drugs. The ski area offers excellent conditions both for the advanced and beginner skiers, who can hire equipment and instructors.
The snowboard is the other recognized winter sport in the Rhodope mountain. The snowboard maniacs have an additional opportunity for the sport in a snowboard park near the village of Momchilovtsi, not only on the pistes of Pamporovo resorts.
Although Smolyan is a small municipality, it has a great sports potential - there are 16 sports clubs in the municipality (for more information see the municipality site
HEALTHCARE. The healthcare system covers all the territory of the municipality. Diagnostic, treatment and prevention services provided by 2 Health Institutions: Regional Center of Health Care and Regional Inspectorate for Prevention and Monitoring of Public Health, 4 Hospitals and an Emergency Centre; doctors registered by the Law and 9 medical laboratories. The registered private medical experts are:
- 31 - General practitioners
- 46 - Doctors
- 53 - Dentists
- 3 Dentist-surgeons.
Children healthcare services are delivered in 19 schools and kindergartens. There is a Medical and Social Care Home for children under 3 years of age - Shiroka laka village.
Medicines and sanitary materials are delivered by 26 pharmacies.
   EDUCATION. The town of Smolyan has proven to be an educational centre providing secondary and higher education in the Rhodopes. Smolyan municipality has a well developed network of secondary schools, vocational schools and universities. In the town of Smolyan there are 2 branches of universities and 1 college.
In the Sientific and Educational Complex "Rodopa" Smolyan of Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar" the total number of the students is approximately 2000, taking Master and Bachelor degree in:
International Economic Relations
Protection of National security
Public administration.

In Plovdiv University "Paisiy Hillendarski" Smolyan Branch with a pedagogical faculty the following subjects are studied:
Elementary School Pedagogy with Foreign Language Teaching, Bulgarian and English Languages, Bulgarian Language and History, History and Geography, Mathematics and Computer Studies, Tourism, Marketing, Ecology and environment protection.
The Technical College in Smolyan was founded in 1989 as a state higher educational institution and since 1997 it is part of Plovdiv University "Paisii Hilendarsky". The subjects are:
Transport machinery and technologies, Electrical power engineering and electrical equipment, Communication technologies, Computer and communication systems, Machine engineering and technologies.
There is s well developed network of secondary and primary schools.
2 Profiled Secondary Schools ( with profiles - English and German languages; and Natural Sciences and languages).
5 Vocational Schools in: Economics, Construction, Tourism, Politechnics and technologies, Applied arts.
2 Secondary Comprehensive Schools
A National School of Folklore Arts
10 primary and 4 junior schools in town and in the villages of Vievo, Cutela, Petkovo and Katranica
School for children with learning difficulties "Neofit Rilsky" in the village of Chokmanovo.
Boarding school for socially disadvantaged children in the village of Stoikite.
2 secondary comprehensive schools for children with health problems in the villages of Petkovo and Slaveino.
20 kindergartens - 9 of them in the town of Smolyan and 11 in the villages.
Boarding school for children without parents in the village of Shiroka Lucka.
All the schools, except for the Vocational ones and the schools for children with special needs, are municipal property. The number of school children is approximately 4600 students in the municipal schools and with the government and private schools - around 14000 students.
There is wide variety of extracurriculum activities for children with talents and special interests:
State Youth Folklore Ensamble "Orfeus", Children Musical School, Municipal Youth Home with 8 clubs, Municipal Youth Complex, Europe schools for language teaching and computers.
TOURISM. The Rhodope mountains welcome the tourists with beautiful panoramic views and crystal clear air. For thousands of years people have lived in harmony with nature, preserving in the foothills of the mountain uncultivated and intact places of beauty and astonishing biodiversity of the flora and fauna. The region is unique for the negative ionization of the air and the thick ozon layer. The natural resources are important factors for the development of tourism as a priority branch of economy in all its contemporary forms.
The policy for the development of the tourist product is aimed at making the municipality an attractive tourist destination all the year round. There are multiple choices for active recreation and tourism in Smolyan area, as it is the ideal place for rest and relaxation. The visitors may choose from numerous opportunities on offer: admiring the piece and calm of the mountain, releasing stress by choosing one of the three localities in the municipality - villages of Gela, Stoikite and Shiroka Luka, or the areas of Momchilovtsi, Rozhen and Haidushki Poliani or the routes in the area for hiking and cave tourism upstream Arda River Valley. The municipality offers approximately 250 km of marked routes for mountain hiking and cycling, adventure tourism options like rock climbing, penetration in wild caves, alpine pendulum and trolley, all activities may be safely practiced only with a qualified mountain guide, who can be hired from the Tourist Information Centres.
There are 4 sites of interest included in the National network of "100 Tourist Sites" in Smolyan municipality: The History Museum in Smolyan, The Planetarium in Smolyan, The Uhlovitsa Cave, the Architectural preserve in the village of Shiroka Laka.
The connoisseurs of the architecture may visit the architectural complexes - Cheshitska Mahala in Raikovo district, Agushev Konak in the village of Mogilitsa and Alibeev Konak in Smolyan, which is now functioning as a lodging place with a traditional restaurant.
Smolyan offers an unique combination of astronomy places of interest -the biggest Planetarium on the Balkan peninsula (in town) and the National Astronomical Observatory "Rozhen"- 30 km away from the town.
The old traditional crafts are alive in many of the villages - apart from watching tourists can acquire skills in one of the chosen crafts - weaving, woodcarving, embroidery, making terlitsi (traditional slippers), etc.
The cultural traditions of the region attract more and more tourists through various festivals and events like the biannual Youth International Folklore Festival "Orpheus Celebrations", the National Folklore Festival Rozhen, the annual International Theatre Academy and photo-plenary; the Mummers games in the village of Shiroka Luka, the Horse races in the village of Momchilovtsi, the Bagpipe contest in the village of Gela and Bagpipe Fest in Shiroka Luka, the Smilyan Beans Fest and many get-togethers of the local communities.
The new investment projects for the development of tourism are Building of the Perelik Tourist Sport Complex, three new resort centres in the localities of Raikovski Livadi, Haidushki poliani and Smolyan Lakes, the next project stage of the Momchilovtsi Snowboard park. A snowboard piste has been built during the first stage with 2 small drags.
A project for improving the tourist services has been launched - "Establishment of a tourism training vocational centre" in Smolyan in partnership with the MLSP and the German Association for International Co-operation (GOPA).
At the moment another pilot project is implemented for the creation of models to use the cultural and historical heritage of the Smolyan and Zlatograd municipality as a factor for local development through fostering the public private partnerships to preserve and socialize significant cultural and historic sites, by including them in the tourist offer and stimulating the "cultural" entrepreneurship. The project is co-financed by the National Fund "Culture" and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
CULTURAL-HISTORICAL HERITAGE OF SMOLYAN MUNICIPALITY. The region of Smolyan municipality is the first Bulgarian mountain region where residents settled down. The earliest archaeological evidences of settlement in the region date back to the first and the second millennium before Christ. The town obtained his name by the Slavic tribe "Smolyani", which came to this area during 17 -th century after Christ. The oldest location of the town of Smolyan was near the today's residential district "Ezerovo". During the centuries the town moved down towards the valleys of the two Mountain Rivers - "Byala" and "Cherna".
The first settlers in the region are the Thracians, which is evident by documentary sources. For the antique authors the Rhodopes are a sacred Thracian mountain, the birthplace of Orpheus and the mountain, where the famous during the entire Hellenic Antiquity Prophesy sanctuary of Dionysius was disposed.
Several Thracian sanctuaries are recorded on the territory of Smolyan Municipality and a number of necropolises are explored.
During the 1-st century after Christ, the Thracians fell under Roman domination. The earliest pieces of information about construction of roads in the region dated from that time. Archeologists have explored till the present moment the road-beds of two Roman roads: the road starts from the south of Plovdiv, passes through Persenk, west of Smolyan and reaches Aegean Sea. This road is considered to be the connection between the two main Roman roads through the Balkans - "Trayanoviya pat" and "Via Egnacia". At the beginning of the 18-th century the French traveler Paul Lukas has passed through the road. The other antique road crosses the western parts of Smolyan District (Borino, Chavdar, and Dospat). It is assumed to have been a part of the permanent way of Roman road of local significance. Researches of a third antique permanent road are being made now.
From 4-5 -th century the Rhodopes Thracians accept Christianity, evidence for which are the many early Christian basilicas. To the present moment three of those objects are explored. Two of them are found on the territory of Smolyan Municipality - the basilica near the village of Gela, dating back to the 5-th century and a monastery complex, near the town of Smolyan, dating back to 4-5 -th century.
There were about 12 Early Byzantine fortresses built in Rhodopa Province (consisting of Rhodopes and Aegean Region from Mesta /Nestos River to Maritsa River). The fortresses near the town of Smolyan, the village of Mogilitsa, the village of Koshtnica, and village of Podvis are partially explored.
The monuments of the Rhodope Renaissance Architecture are significant elements of the cultural-historical heritage. There are 453 residential buildings and communication equipments recorded in total, from which 8 are of national significance.
Authentic evidences revealing the wealthy cultural-historical heritage of Smolyan Municipality are the movable monuments of culture, preserved in History Museum "Stoiu Shihkov" in the town of Smolyan and the museum collections in the villages of Shiroka laka, Momcilovtsi and Slaveino.
DEMOGRAPHY. The population of Smolyan municipality according to the latest official yearly data of the National Statistic Institute by 31.12.2004 is 45,111 people, of which 21862 are men and 23249 - women. 71% of the population - 32110 citizens lived in the town of Smolyan.
The population under active age is - 15.04 %, in active age - 63.75 % and over active age - 21.21 %.
"Local Economic Development - 5th Phase of technical twinning between Bulgarian and American municipalities"
The programme is operating successfully for 7 years in Bulgaria and is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The partnership for Local Economic Development comprises of 28 Bulgarian municipalities, the FLGR and the International City/County Management Association in Washington D.C. The 5th phase of the program is implemented in the period September 2004- September 2007 and it is in this phase that Smolyan municipality joined the programme.
Work for our common future-stable partnership between the local authorities for the development of the region Smolyan - Rodopi-Euros small Projects Fund of PHARE CBC
The objective of the project is improving the interaction between the Bulgarian and Greek local authorities from the border region, stimulating the good practices and creating conditions for mutual understanding and further development of the potential of the region. The activities on the project are targeted at increasing the efficiency of the work of the Municipality of Smolyan and the Rodopi-Euros district in Greece in the process of using of the structural funds of the EU by organizing seminars, building of partner networks, research and preparation of concrete project proposals.
"Integrated Water cycle of Smolyan" - in process of finalizing the procedure
Current partner projects:
"City Parking in Europe"(INTERREG IIIC) with lead partner Humboldt University- Berlin
Pan-European project that includes partners from Germany, Belgium, Spain, Greece, Italy and Bulgaria, who are collecting, analyzing and evaluating information regarding problems of the stationary traffic and parking. The idea is to be exchanged information and practical experience among cities of different size, but similar problems. It aims at forming a complete conception and policy focused on the parking.
"Introducing the cluster approach and establishment of pilot cluster model"
The pilot project is implemented by the municipalities Smolyan and Chepelare, together with
The Regional Tourist Association "Rhodopes". It is aimed at encouraging the partnership between the tourist business, the associations in the tourist branch and the local authorities in Smolyan region for fostering the competitiveness of the local economy.
Smolyan municipality maintains cooperation and joint initiatives with towns and municipalities from various places of the world:
Pori, Finland
Slutsk, Bellorussia
Novi Sonch, Poland - since 1983
Beltsi, Moldova - since 1989
Eilat, Israel - since 1994
Xanthi, Greece - Cooperation Agreement since 1995
Pendik, Turkey - since 1997
Su Chang, Henan province, China - since 1997
Suhl, Germany - twinning since 1998
Kaluga, Russia - since 2004
Kispest, Hungary - Twinning contract since 2004
Martinsicuro and Contraguerra, Italy - Twinning agreement since 2004

Xanthi, Greece
The implemented activities give the people from the two countries the opportunity to get to know each other and to take part in common projects and events.
Folklore groups from Xanthi took part in the International Youth Folklore Orpheus Celebrations in Smolyan in 2003 and 2005. In 2004 a delegation from Smolyan took part in the City Carnival and in the Thracian Folklore Celebrations in Xanthi.
Implemented joint projects: "Days of friendship"- Smolyan- Xanthi, 2004
Kispest, Budapest - Hungary
Implemented joint projects: Youth exchange - "Smolyan and Kispest - step towards building a common European zone" (2005).
After the floods in Smolyan municipality in the beginning of August, the Municipal Council of Kispest voted for a grant of 1 000 000 Forints to help those who suffered from the calamity.
A delegation, lead by the Deputy Mayor of Kispest, were guests to the celebrations on the occasion of 93 years from the liberation of the Rhodopes. During this visit the future cooperation between the two cities was discussed.
Pendik, Turkey
Since 2003 the relationship has intensified joint activities have started, mainly within the field of the cultural exchange. Every year, folklore groups from Smolyan participate in the festival of the town on the 3rd of July in Pendik and Turkish groups and delegations have been guests to the cultural celebrations in Smolyan. The governments of the two municipalities also exchange good practices on issues of the European integration.
In November 2005, a conference of the twinned towns took place in Pendik. Each town presented its strategic plan for development and ideas were exchanged for joint projects and activities.
Martinsicuro and Contraguerra, Italy
Smolyan Municipality is twinned with two Italian municipalities - Martinsicuro and Contraguerra, Province Terramo. In August 2005 a group of representatives from Smolyan took part in archeological camp in Martinsicuro. The international project, which the municipality is a partner in is organized by European Forum of Heritage Associations.
A number of similar projects are planned for 2006 in Smolyan and Italian municipalities.

Smolyan Municipality
12 Bulgaria Blvd.
Smolyan 4700
Web page:
Mayor: Nikolay MELEMOV