Provinces of Bulgaria

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Provinces of Bulgaria
Oбласти на България (Bulgarian)
Regions of Bulgaria Map.png
Category Unitary state
Location Republic of Bulgaria
Number28 (as of 1999)
Populations101,018 (Vidin) – 1,291,591 (Sofia City)
Areas1,348.90 km2 (520.81 sq mi) (Sofia City)– 7,748.07 km2 (2,991.55 sq mi) (Burgas)

The provinces of Bulgaria (Bulgarian : области на България, romanized: oblasti na Bǎlgariya) are the first-level administrative subdivisions of the country.


Since 1999, Bulgaria has been divided into 28 provinces (Bulgarian: областиoblasti; singular: област oblast ; also translated as "regions") which correspond approximately to the 28 districts (in Bulgarian: окръг okrǎg , plural: окръзиokrǎzi), that existed before 1987.

The provinces are further subdivided into 265 municipalities (singular: община obshtina , plural: общиниobshtini).

Sofia – the capital city of Bulgaria and the largest settlement in the country – is the administrative centre of both Sofia Province and Sofia City Province (Sofia-grad). The capital is included (together with three other cities plus 34 villages) in Sofia Capital Municipality (over 90% of whose population lives in Sofia), which is the sole municipality comprising Sofia City province.


Distribution of provinces by NUTS: Level 1 (regions): Northern and South-Eastern, South-Western and South-Central (that are logistical regions too, the area covered by a truck from its logistic center in a day go and back); Level 2 (planning regions) NUTS BG Level 1 and 2.png
Distribution of provinces by NUTS: Level 1 (regions): Northern and South-Eastern, South-Western and South-Central (that are logistical regions too, the area covered by a truck from its logistic center in a day go and back); Level 2 (planning regions)

The provinces do not have official names – legally (in the President's decree on their constitution[ clarification needed ]), they are not named but only described as "oblast with administrative centre [Noun]" – together with a list of the constituting municipalities. In Bulgaria they are usually called "[Adjective] Oblast"; occasionally they are referred to as "Oblast [Noun]" and rarely as "oblast with administrative centre [Noun]".

The Bulgarian term "област" (oblast) is preferably translated into English as "province", in order to avoid disambiguation and distinguish from the former unit called "окръг" (okrag, translated as "district") and the term "регион" (always translated as "region"). At any rate, "district" and "region" are sometimes still used to name these contemporary 28 units.


Province Population (Census 2001) [2] [3] Population (Census 2011) [2] [3] Population growth (2001/2011) [2] Land area (km2) Population density (/km2) Municipalities Planning
Blagoevgrad 341,173323,552−5.2%6,449.4750.1714South Western
Burgas 423,547415,817−1.8%7,748.0754.5813South Eastern
Dobrich 215,217189,677−11.9%4,719.7140.368North Eastern
Gabrovo 144,125122,702−14.9%2,023.0159.774North Central
Haskovo 277,478246,238−11.3%5,533.2961.0611South Central
Kardzhali 164,019152,808−6.8%3,209.1137.907South Central
Kyustendil 162,534136,686−15.9%3,051.5245.169South Western
Lovech 169,951141,422−16.8%4,128.7634.218North Western
Montana 182,258148,098−18.7%3,635.3841.2011North Western
Pazardzhik 310,723275,548−11.3%4,456.9262.7212South Central
Pernik 149,832133,530−10.9%2,394.2256.186South Western
Pleven 311,985269,752−13.5%4,653.3263.9811North Western
Plovdiv 715,816683,027−4.6%5,972.89114.3518South Central
Razgrad 152,417125,190−17.9%2,639.7447.287North Central
Ruse 266,157235,252−11.6%2,803.3689.938North Central
Shumen 204,378180,528−11.7%3,389.6853.6510North Eastern
Silistra 142,000119,474−15.9%2,846.2941.747North Central
Sliven 218,474197,473−9.6%3,544.0754.164South Eastern
Smolyan 140,066121,752−13.1%3,192.8534.4710South Central
Sofia City 1,170,8421,291,591+10.3%1,348.90957.441South Western
Sofia (province) 273,240247,489−9.4%7,062.3334.0122South Western
Stara Zagora 370,615333,265−10.1%5,151.1267.2011South Eastern
Targovishte 137,689120,818−12.3%2,558.5344.175North Eastern
Varna 462,013475,074+2.8%3,819.47124.4012North Eastern
Veliko Tarnovo 293,172258,494−11.8%4,661.5755.1910North Central
Vidin 130,074101,018−22.3%3,032.8832.8911North Western
Vratsa 243,036186,848−23.1%3,619.7745.5910North Western
Yambol 156,070131,447−15.8%3,355.4831.235South Eastern


Provinces (with ex-districts) in 1987-1999 Oblasti de Bulgarie 1987-1999.png
Provinces (with ex-districts) in 1987–1999
Provinces of Bulgaria from 1987 to 1998 Oblasti 1987-1998 by Plamen Tsvetkov.png
Provinces of Bulgaria from 1987 to 1998

In 1987, the then-existing 28 districts were transformed into 9 large units (in Bulgarian called oblastsprovinces), which survived until 1999.→ [4]

The 9 large provinces are listed below, along with the pre-1987 districts (post-1999 small provinces) comprising them.

Comprising former districts (future provinces)
BurgasBurgas, Sliven, Yambol
HaskovoHaskovo, Kardzhali, Stara Zagora
LovechGabrovo, Lovech, Pleven, Veliko Tarnovo
MontanaMontana, Vidin, Vratsa
PlovdivPazardzhik, Plovdiv, Smolyan
RazgradRazgrad, Ruse, Silistra, Targovishte
SofiaSofia City
SofiaBlagoevgrad, Kyustendil, Pernik, Sofia
VarnaDobrich, Shumen, Varna

On 1 January 1999, the old districts were restored with some modifications, but the designation ("oblast") "province" was kept.

See also

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  1. "South Central Planning Region". European Commission. Archived from the original on 2014-10-13. Retrieved 2014-10-07.
  2. 1 2 3 Национален статистически институт. "2011 Population Census – Main Results" (PDF). Retrieved 15 October 2017 via
  3. 1 2 Представяме Ви резултатите от Преброяване 2011 за страната, по области и общини. Archived from the original on 18 August 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  4. "Bulgaria – Government Structure". Retrieved 15 October 2017.