|Provinces of Bulgaria|
Oбласти на България (Bulgarian)
|Location||Republic of Bulgaria|
|Number||28 (as of 1999)|
|Populations||101,018 (Vidin) – 1,291,591 (Sofia City)|
|Areas||1,348.90 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: области – oblasti; singular: област – oblast ; also translated as "regions") which correspond approximately to the 28 districts (in Bulgarian: окръг – okrǎg , plural: окръзи – okrǎzi), that existed before 1987.
The provinces are further subdivided into 265 municipalities (singular: община – obshtina , plural: общини – obshtini).
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.
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)  ||Population (Census 2011)  ||Population growth (2001/2011) ||Land area (km2)||Population density (/km2)||Municipalities||Planning|
|Sofia City||1,170,842||1,291,591||+10.3%||1,348.90||957.44||1||South Western|
|Sofia (province)||273,240||247,489||−9.4%||7,062.33||34.01||22||South Western|
|Stara Zagora||370,615||333,265||−10.1%||5,151.12||67.20||11||South Eastern|
|Veliko Tarnovo||293,172||258,494||−11.8%||4,661.57||55.19||10||North Central|
In 1987, the then-existing 28 districts were transformed into 9 large units (in Bulgarian called oblasts – provinces), which survived until 1999.→ 
The 9 large provinces are listed below, along with the pre-1987 districts (post-1999 small provinces) comprising them.
|Comprising former districts (future provinces)|
|Burgas||Burgas, Sliven, Yambol|
|Haskovo||Haskovo, Kardzhali, Stara Zagora|
|Lovech||Gabrovo, Lovech, Pleven, Veliko Tarnovo|
|Montana||Montana, Vidin, Vratsa|
|Plovdiv||Pazardzhik, Plovdiv, Smolyan|
|Razgrad||Razgrad, Ruse, Silistra, Targovishte|
|Sofia||Blagoevgrad, Kyustendil, Pernik, Sofia|
|Varna||Dobrich, Shumen, Varna|
On 1 January 1999, the old districts were restored with some modifications, but the designation ("oblast") "province" was kept.
Eastern Rumelia was an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire with a total area of 32,978 km2, which was created in 1878 by virtue of the Treaty of Berlin and de facto ceased to exist in 1885, when it was united with the Principality of Bulgaria, also under nominal Ottoman suzerainty. It continued to be an Ottoman province de jure until 1908, when Bulgaria declared independence. Ethnic Bulgarians formed a majority of the population in Eastern Rumelia, but there were significant Turkish and Greek minorities. Its capital was Plovdiv. The official languages of Eastern Rumelia were Bulgarian, Greek and Ottoman Turkish.
Smolyan Province is a province in Southern-central Bulgaria, located in the Rhodope Mountains, neighbouring Greece to the south. It is named after its administrative and industrial centre — the city of Smolyan. The province embraces a territory of 3,192.8 km2 (1,232.7 sq mi). that is divided into 10 municipalities with a total population of 124,795 inhabitants, as of December 2009.
Kardzhali Province is a province of southern Bulgaria, neighbouring Greece with the Greek regional units of Xanthi, Rhodope, and Evros to the south and east. It is 3209.1 km2 in area. Its main city is Kardzhali.
Haskovo Province is a province in southern Bulgaria, neighbouring Greece and Turkey to the southeast, comprising parts of the Thracian valley along the river Maritsa. It is named after its administrative and industrial centre - the city of Haskovo. The province embraces a territory of 5,533.3 km2 (2,136.4 sq mi) that is divided into 11 municipalities with a total population, as of December 2009, of 256,408 inhabitants.
Kyustendil Province is a province in southwestern Bulgaria, extending over an area of 3,084.3 km2 (1,190.9 sq mi), and with a population of 163,889. It borders the provinces of Sofia, Pernik, and Blagoevgrad; to the west, its limits coincide with the state borders between Bulgaria and North Macedonia, and between Bulgaria and the Republic of Serbia. The administrative center of the Province is Kyustendil.
Pazardzhik Province is a province in Southern Bulgaria, named after its administrative and industrial centre - the city of Pazardzhik. The territory is 4,456.9 km2 (1,720.8 sq mi) that is divided into 12 municipalities with a total population of 275,548 inhabitants, as of February 2011.
Plovdiv Province is a province in central southern Bulgaria. It comprises 18 municipalities on a territory of 5,972.9 km2 (2,306.1 sq mi) with a population, as of February 2011, of 683,027 inhabitants. The province is named after its administrative and industrial centre — the city of Plovdiv.
Ruse Province, or Rusenska Oblast is a province in northern Bulgaria, named after its main city, Ruse, neighbouring Romania via the Danube. It is divided into 8 municipalities with a total population, as of February 2011, of 235,252 inhabitants.
Pleven Province is a province located in central northern Bulgaria, bordering the Danube river, Romania and the Bulgarian provinces of Vratsa, Veliko Tarnovo and Lovech. It is divided into 11 subdivisions, called municipalities, that embrace a territory of 4,653.32 km2 (1,796.66 sq mi) with a population, as of February 2011, of 269 752 inhabitants. The province's capital is the city of Pleven.
The Muslim Bulgarians are Bulgarians who follow the faith of Islam. They are generally thought to be the descendants of the local Slavs who converted to Islam during Ottoman rule. Most scholars have agreed that the Bulgarian Muslims are a "religious group of Bulgarian Slavs who speak Bulgarian as their mother tongue and do not understand Turkish, but whose religion and customs are Islamic". Bulgarian Muslims live mostly in the Rhodopes – Smolyan Province, the southern part of the Pazardzhik and Kardzhali Provinces and the eastern part of the Blagoevgrad Province in Southern Bulgaria. They also live in a group of villages in the Lovech Province in Northern Bulgaria. The name Pomak is pejorative in Bulgarian and is resented by most members of the community, The name adopted and used instead of Pomak is Bulgarian Muslims.
Northern Thrace or North Thrace, also called Bulgarian Thrace, constitutes the northern and largest part of the historical region of Thrace. It is located in Southern Bulgaria and includes the territory south of the Balkan Mountains and east of the Mesta River, bordering Western Thrace and East Thrace in the south, and the Black Sea in the east. It encompasses Sredna Gora, the Upper Thracian Plain, and 90% of the Rhodopes.
The Bulgarian Red Cross, or BRC, was established in 1878 after the liberation of the Principality of Bulgaria and the region of Eastern Rumelia from the Ottoman Empire. The first BRC organization was established in May 1878 in Sofia. The regional governor, V.P. Alabin, recruited many prominent citizens of the city, and led their work in the first BRC. The two Bulgarian provinces, Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia, became unified on September 20, 1885. The National Organization of the BRC was then founded, with the approval of the statues of the organization by the first Bulgarian Prince, Prince Alexander of Battenberg. On October 20, 1885, the BRC was recognized by, and became a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Significant contributions made by Tsar Boris III during the period of 1918–1943, which provided the organization with the ability to establish itself, and to take the first steps towards creating a Bulgarian social health system.
The Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) is a geocode standard for referencing the subdivisions of Bulgaria for statistical purposes. The standard is developed and regulated by the European Union. The NUTS standard is instrumental in delivering the European Union's Structural Funds. The NUTS code for Bulgaria is BG and a hierarchy of three levels is established by Eurostat. Below these is a further levels of geographic organisation - the local administrative unit (LAU). In Bulgaria, the LAU 1 is municipalities and the LAU 2 is settlements.
Southern Bulgaria is the southern half of the territory of Bulgaria, located to the south of the main ridge of the Balkan Mountains which conventionally separates the country into a northern and a southern part. Besides the Balkan Mountains, Southern Bulgaria borders Serbia to the west, North Macedonia to the southwest, Greece to the south, Turkey to the southeast and the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast to the east.
Sofia City Province is a province (oblast) of Bulgaria. Its administrative center is the city of Sofia, the capital of the country.
The 2004–05 Bulgarian Cup was the 65th season of the Bulgarian Cup. Levski Sofia won the competition, beating CSKA Sofia 2–1 in the final at the Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia.
Sarnitsa Municipality is one of the municipalities located in Pazardzhik Province. Its administrative centre is Sarnitsa. The municipality was established on 1 January 2015.