Regions of Bulgaria

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Updates: 

Under Population history, I replaced the 1975 census figures with slightly more accurate ones from source [7].

I've added 2011 census data from source [6]. This source also lists 2001 populations, and the figures it gives are almost all slightly lower than the ones from source [5]. The total country population is 0.05% lower according to source [6]. I have used the new data in the Population history section, figuring that they represent a correction to earlier data, since both sources were published by the same organization.

Bulgaria's NUTS codes were completely revised in 2007.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-9 was published on 2007-11-28. For Bulgaria, the changes are all to the spellings of region names. Bulgaria has adopted a new official Romanization scheme. Most of the new names are the same as in the main table below. A few of them are listed as variants under "Other names of subdivisions".

The 1999 reorganization from nine regions to 28 is reflected by Change Notice 5 to FIPS PUB 10-4 (2000-08-10) and by ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-2 (2002-05-21).

International standard ISO 3166-2 was published on 1998-12-15. It superseded ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft international standard). For Bulgaria, the draft standard showed nine regions. Each one was assigned a single-digit code. The final standard showed the same nine regions. Each one had a two-digit code, which was the former code with a zero prefixed. For example, the code for Burgas changed from "2" to "02".

Country overview: 

Short nameBULGARIA
ISO codeBG
FIPS codeBU
LanguageBulgarian (bg)
Time zone+2 ~
CapitalSofiya

 

Bulgaria began the 20th century as a tributary principality of the Ottoman Empire. It consisted of Bulgaria proper and Eastern Rumelia. On 1908-10-05 it became an independent kingdom. In 1913, as a result of the First Balkan War, Bulgaria acquired territory from the Ottoman Empire in what is now southern Bulgaria, Greek Thrace, and a small part of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. In the northeast, however, it ceded territory around Bazargic (Dobitsch) to Romania. In 1915, it acquired another small slice of the Ottoman Empire around Orestias and Dimotika, now in Greece. In the Peace of Sèvres (1920), Bulgaria lost part of Thrace to Greece. The Peace of Lausanne (1923) gave more of Thrace to Greece, resulting in the present-day border between Bulgaria and Greece. The Treaty of Craiova (1940-09-08) transferred Durostor (Silistra) and Caliacra (Tolbukhin) provinces (together known as Southern Dobruja) from Romania to Bulgaria. After World War II, the peace treaty restored Bulgaria to its borders of 1941-01-01, canceling out its conquests in Thrace and southern Yugoslavia. In a referendum, voters chose to end the monarchy and form a republic. The first general election went to the Communists. Bulgaria remained in the Communist bloc until the Iron Curtain fell in 1991.

Other names of country: 

  1. Bulgarian: Republika Bulgaria (formal)
  2. Danish: Bulgarien
  3. Dutch: Bulgarije, Republiek Bulgarije (formal)
  4. English: Republic of Bulgaria (formal)
  5. Finnish: Bulgaria
  6. French: Bulgarie f
  7. German: Bulgarien n
  8. Icelandic: Búlgaría
  9. Italian: Bulgaria f
  10. Norwegian: Bulgaria, Republikken Bulgaria (formal)
  11. Portuguese: Bulgária, República f da Bulgária f (formal)
  12. Russian: Республика Болгария (formal)
  13. Spanish: Bulgaria, República f de Bulgaria f (formal)
  14. Swedish: Bulgarien
  15. Turkish: Bulgaristan, Bulgaristan Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

Land of the Bulgars. Bulgar comes from the Turkish word for mixed, since the Bulgars had mixed origins.

Primary subdivisions: 

Bulgaria is divided into 28 oblasti (regions).

RegionHASCISONUTSFIPSPostPopulationArea(km.²)Area(mi.²)Reg
BlagoevgradBG.BL01BG413BU382700323,5526,4502,4908
BurgasBG.BR02BG341BU398000415,8177,7482,9922
DobrichBG.DO08BG332BU409300189,6774,7201,8223
GabrovoBG.GB07BG322BU415300122,7022,0237814
Grad SofiyaBG.SG22BG411BU4210001,291,5911,3495211
KhaskovoBG.KK26BG422BU436300246,2385,5332,1369
KurdzhaliBG.KZ09BG425BU446600152,8083,2091,2399
KyustendilBG.KY10BG415BU452500136,6863,0521,1788
LovechBG.LV11BG315BU465500141,4224,1291,5944
MontanaBG.MT12BG312BU473400148,0983,6361,4045
PazardzhikBG.PZ13BG423BU484400275,5484,4571,7216
PernikBG.PN14BG414BU492300133,5302,3949248
PlevenBG.PV15BG314BU505800269,7524,3361,6744
PlovdivBG.PD16BG421BU514000683,0275,9732,3066
RazgradBG.RG17BG324BU527200125,1902,6401,0197
RuseBG.RS18BG323BU537000235,2522,8031,0827
ShumenBG.SH27BG333BU549700180,5283,3901,3093
SilistraBG.SI19BG325BU557500119,4742,8461,0997
SlivenBG.SL20BG342BU568800197,4733,5441,3682
SmolyanBG.SM21BG424BU574700121,7523,1931,2336
SofiyaBG.SF23BG412BU582000247,4897,0622,7278
Stara ZagoraBG.SZ24BG344BU596000333,2655,1511,9899
TurgovishteBG.TU25BG334BU607700120,8182,5599887
VarnaBG.VN03BG331BU619000475,0743,8201,4753
Veliko TurnovoBG.VT04BG321BU625000258,4944,6621,8004
VidinBG.VD05BG311BU633700101,0183,0331,1715
VratsaBG.VR06BG313BU643000186,8483,9381,5205
YambolBG.YA28BG343BU658600131,4473,3561,2962
28 provinces7,364,570111,00242,858
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Region codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a global
    context, prefix "BG-" to the code (ex: BG-05 represents Vidin).
  • NUTS: Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4, a U.S. government standard.
  • Post: Start of postal code range for province.
  • Population: 2011-02-01 census (source [6]).
  • Area: Source [2].
  • Reg: ISO code of former region containing this province (see Change
    history, 1993)
  • Capitals: have the same names as the provinces, except that Sofiya is
    the capital of Grad Sofiya.

Postal codes: 

Bulgaria uses four-digit postal codes. Postal codes for Bulgarian addresses can be identified by prefixing them with BG-.

Further subdivisions:

See the Municipalities of Bulgaria page.

There are six level-2 NUTS subdivisions of Bulgaria:

RegionNUTS
North CentralBG32
NortheasternBG33
NorthwesternBG31
South CentralBG42
SoutheasternBG34
SouthwesternBG41

 

The NUTS codes define a hierarchical set of subdivisions of Bulgaria. At level 1, BG3 is called "Northern and Southeastern Bulgaria" and BG4 is called "Southwest and South Central Bulgaria". The level-3 subdivisions are the provinces. The municipalities are the level-4 NUTS areas, and at level 5 there are "settlements". For any subdivision that has a NUTS code, when the last digit of the code is truncated, the result is the NUTS code for the higher-level division that contains it. There have been two previous versions of NUTS codes for Bulgaria. The first set all began with BG0. Around 2000-2003, they were replaced by codes beginning with BG1 and BG2. The current set was introduced about 2007-01-01.

In 1959, there were thirteen okruzhi (provinces; sing. okrug), divided into 105 okolii (counties; sing. okolia), which were further divided into 2,142 obshchini (municipalities; sing. obshchina). A reform that year eliminated the counties, cut the provinces into 28 smaller provinces, and cut the number of municipalities roughly in half. A reform of 1979 cut the number of municipalities from 1,374 to 291. There were 300 municipalities by 1986. In 1987, the provinces were merged to form nine oblasti (regions; sing. oblast). In 1992, these were subdivided into a total of 279 municipalities. As of 2005, the secondary administrative divisions of Bulgaria are 264 municipalities.

Origins of names: 

  1. Blagoevgrad: Bulgarian: city of Blagoev, for Dimitar Blagoev, Bulgarian politician and writer
  2. Burgas: possibly from Ancient Greek pyrgos: walled city
  3. Dimitrovgrad: Bulgarian: city of Dimitrov, for Gyorgy Mikhailovich Dimitrov, Bulgarian politician
  4. Khaskovo: possibly from Turkish has: dwelling place
  5. Plovdiv: the city was named Philippopolis by Philip II of Macedonia. The inhabitants corrupted Philip into Pulpu, and replaced -opolis (city) with their own name for city, diva.
  6. Sofiya: Named by Turks for the church of Saint Sophia, which they changed to a mosque

Change history: 

  1. 1909: Before the first Balkan war, the districts of Bulgaria were Burgas, Kustendil, Pleven, Plovdiv, Ruse, Shumen, Sofia, Stara Zagora, Turnovo, Varna, Vidin, and Vratsa.
  2. 1945: Bulgaria had nine regions at the end of World War II, as listed in this table.
RegionPopulation
Burgas629,593
Gorna Dzhumaya252,258
Pleven527,708
Plovdiv1,056,436
Ruse876,993
Sofiya1,205,484
Stara Zagora821,764
Varna880,484
Vratsa771,486
9 regions7,022,206
  • Population: 1946-12-31 census
  1. 1949-09-22: Nine regions replaced by 15 provinces: Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Gorna Oryahovitsa, Haskovo, Pleven, Plovdiv, Ruse, Shumen, Sofiya, Sofiya City, Stalin, Stara Zagora, Vidin, Vratsa, and Yambol. Capital of Stalin renamed from Varna to Stalin.
  2. 1950: Shumen province and its capital renamed to Kolarovgrad.
  3. 1950: Capital of Blagoevgrad province renamed from Gorna Dzhumaya to Blagoevgrad.
  4. 1951-01-02: Vidin province merged into Vratsa, and Yambol merged into Burgas.
  5. ~1953: Capital of Gorna Oryahovitsa moved to Veliko Turnovo, and province renamed accordingly.
  6. 1956: Stalin province and its capital renamed to Varna.
  7. 1959: The thirteen provinces were regrouped into 28 provinces.
  8. 1965: Kolarovgrad province and its capital renamed back to Shumen. At this time, the provinces were:
ProvinceFIPSPopulationArea(km.²)Region
BlagoevgradBU01303,0006,478Sofiya
BurgasBU02381,0007,618Burgas
GabrovoBU03169,0002,053Lovech
Grad SofiyaBU20895,0001,119Grad Sofiya
KhaskovoBU04290,0004,033Khaskovo
KurdzhaliBU05284,0004,032Khaskovo
KyustendilBU06197,0003,027Sofiya
LovechBU07217,0004,134Lovech
MikhaylovgradBU08241,0003,595Mikhaylovgrad
PazardzhikBU09297,0004,393Plovdiv
PernikBU10181,0002,377Sofiya
PlevenBU11352,0004,216Lovech
PlovdivBU12645,0005,588Plovdiv
RazgradBU13198,0002,648Razgrad
RuseBU14273,0002,616Razgrad
ShumenBU15243,0003,365Varna
SilistraBU16171,0002,862Razgrad
SlivenBU17227,0003,646Burgas
SmolyanBU18160,0003,532Plovdiv
SofiyaBU19318,0007,277Sofiya
Stara ZagoraBU21352,0004,959Khaskovo
TolbukhinBU22236,0004,700Varna
TurgovishteBU23178,0002,735Razgrad
VarnaBU24367,0003,847Varna
Veliko TurnovoBU25339,0004,684Lovech
VidinBU26181,0003,071Mikhaylovgrad
VratsaBU27309,0004,098Mikhaylovgrad
YambolBU28223,0004,209Burgas
28 provinces8,227,000110,912
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Population: 1965-12-01 census.
  • Region: Region containing the province after 1987.
  • Capitals: have the same names as the provinces,
    except that Sofiya is the capital of Grad Sofiya.
  1. 1987-08: Nine regions formed by consolidating the 28 provinces. Topolovgrad municipality transferred from Yambol province to Khaskovo region.
  2. ~1991: Name of Mikhaylovgrad region changed to Montana.
  3. ~1993: Name of Razgrad region changed to Ruse. Since Bulgarian regions have the same names as their capitals, this probably means that the capital of the region moved from Razgrad to Ruse. Both the ISO and FIPS standards use the spelling Ruse, but Rousse is also a common transliteration of the region's name. This is how the regions stood at that time:
RegionHASCISOFIPSPopulationArea(km.²)
BurgasBG.BU2BU29851,70914,657
Grad SofiyaBG.GS1BU301,190,1261,311
KhaskovoBG.HA9BU31906,64813,892
LovechBG.LO4BU321,017,11415,150
MontanaBG.MO5BU33630,51310,607
PlovdivBG.PL6BU341,220,37013,628
RuseBG.RA7BU35768,51410,842
SofiyaBG.SO8BU36986,25318,979
VarnaBG.VA3BU37916,07011,929
9 regions8,487,317110,995
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Population: 1992-12-04 census (source [1]).
  • Capitals: have the same name as their divisions,
    except that the capital of Grad Sofiya is Sofiya.
  1. 1999-01-08: Bulgaria reorganized from nine regions into 28. The new regions seem to be the same as the provinces prior to 1987, except for some name changes: Mikhaylovgrad to Montana, and Tolbukhin to Dobrich. The name of Tolbukhin's capital was also changed to Dobrich, which had been the city's name before 1949; it had also been called Bazargic under Romanian rule, until 1940.
  2. 2001-07-03: Knezha municipality transferred from Vratsa region to Pleven.
  3. 2001-07-17, 2003-04-11, 2003-09-17, 2004-02-25: Several small transfers of territory between Razgrad and Ruse regions took place, all sub-municipality units, mostly to the advantage of Ruse.
  4. 2007-01-01: Bulgaria joined the European Union.

Other names of subdivisions: 

The Bulgarian language uses a Cyrillic alphabet, so all these names are transliterated into the Roman alphabet. Some of the variant names are due to different transliteration schemes. Also note that oblasti and okruzhi come and go, but cities stay. Variant names are shown for capitals, which have the same name as their division whenever the division exists.

  1. Blagoevgrad: Gorna Djumaya, Gorna Dzhumaya (obsolete)
  2. Burgas: Bourgas (variant)
  3. Grad Sofiya: Sofia City (English); Sofia-Grad (variant)
  4. Khaskovo: Haskovo (variant)
  5. Kurdzhali: Kârdžali, Kardzhali, Kirjali, Kurdjali (variant)
  6. Kyustendil: Keustendil, Kjustendil (variant)
  7. Lovech: Loveč (variant)
  8. Montana: Mikhaylovgrad, Mihailovgrad (obsolete)
  9. Pazardzhik: Pazardjik (variant); Tatar Pazardžik (obsolete)
  10. Pleven: Plévène (French); Plevila, Plevna (obsolete); Plyeven (variant)
  11. Plovdiv: Philippopolis (obsolete)
  12. Shumen: Choumen (French); Kolarovgrad, Šumla (obsolete); Šumen (variant)
  13. Sliven: Slivène (French); Slivno (obsolete)
  14. Smolyan: Smoljan (variant)
  15. Sofiya: Sofia, Sofija (variant); Sofía (Spanish); Sofya (Turkish); София (Russian)
  16. Ruse: Rousse (variant); Russe, Ruščuk, Rustchuk (obsolete)
  17. Tolbukhin: Bazargic, Bazardzhik, Dobritch, Dobrici, Hagi Oglu (obsolete); Tolboukhin (French); Tolbuhin (variant)
  18. Turgovishte: Tâgovište, Targovishte, Torgovishte (variant)
  19. Veliko Turnovo: Gorna Oryahovitsa, Gorna Orjahovica (obsolete); Turnovo, Tirnovo, Trnova, Veliko Tarnovo (variant)
  20. Varna: Stalin (obsolete)
  21. Vratsa: Vraca (variant)
  22. Yambol: Jambol (variant); Jamboli (obsolete)

Population history:

Region1965-12-011975-12-021985-12-041992-12-042001-03-012011-02-01
Blagoevgrad303,000322,974346,000351,637341,173323,552
Burgas381,000420,268446,000440,372423,547415,817
Dobrich236,000250,398256,000232,780215,217189,677
Gabrovo169,000175,933178,000161,987144,125122,702
Grad Sofiya895,0001,066,2991,193,0001,190,1261,170,8421,291,591
Khaskovo290,000293,029300,000295,503277,478246,238
Kurdzhali284,000287,099298,000213,806164,019152,808
Kyustendil197,000198,876193,000181,347162,534136,686
Lovech217,000216,844204,000190,262169,951141,422
Montana241,000235,449226,000208,198182,258148,098
Pazardzhik297,000314,006326,000326,123310,723275,548
Pernik181,000174,624176,000163,307149,832133,530
Pleven352,000358,972367,000346,614311,985269,752
Plovdiv645,000719,119758,000734,495715,816683,027
Razgrad198,000204,126197,000167,410152,417125,190
Ruse273,000293,073303,000288,702266,157235,252
Shumen243,000253,437256,000220,320204,378180,528
Silistra171,000176,428174,000161,063142,000119,474
Sliven227,000237,386239,000234,785218,474197,473
Smolyan160,000162,490171,000159,752140,066121,752
Sofiya318,000321,417304,000289,962273,240247,489
Stara Zagora352,000390,207415,000397,339370,615333,265
Turgovishte178,000178,656172,000151,339137,689120,818
Varna367,000431,024466,000462,970462,013475,074
Veliko Turnovo339,000349,108338,000318,251293,172258,494
Vidin181,000178,215165,000151,636130,074101,018
Vratsa309,000311,190288,000270,679243,036186,848
Yambol223,000207,124204,000176,552156,070131,447
Totals8,227,0008,727,7718,959,0008,487,3177,928,9017,364,570

Sources: 

  1. [1] The GeoHive Bulgaria page  formerly had 1992-12-04 census data by province (retrieved 2005-10-31 from http://212.204.253.230/cd/link.php?xml=bg&xsl=neo1, now a dead link). I added the populations of the provinces in each region.
  2. [2] European Integration, Regional Specialization and Location of Industrial Activity in Bulgaria , by Julia Spiridonova. Table 23, pp. 90-91. Other published sources give different areas; these data were the most plausible I found (retrieved 2005-10-31).
  3. [3] National Statistical Institute  website (retrieved 2005-10-31).
  4. [4] European Union Publications Office  NUTS list (retrieved 2010-01-05).
  5. [5] Library of Congress country study  (retrieved 1999).
  6. [6] 2011 Census Results . National Statistical Institute (retrieved 2014-01-04).
  7. [7] 1979 Demographic Yearbook , 31st Ed. Statistical Office, United Nations, New York, 1980 (retrieved 2011-12-28).
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