Bulgaria Table of Contents
Since ancient times, Bulgaria has been a crossroads for population movement. Early settlement occurred mainly in the most fertile agricultural lands. After World War II, however, Bulgarian cities grew rapidly at the expense of rural population in concert with state industrialization policy.
In 1991 Bulgaria was divided into nine provinces (oblasti--sing. oblast). These administrative units included the city of Sofia (Grad Sofiya) and eight provincial districts: Burgas, Khaskovo, Lovech, Mikhaylovgrad, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Sofiya (the region outside the city), and Varna (see fig. 1). Each province was named for the city that was its administrative center. Excluding the city of Sofia, the provinces encompassed territories ranging from 9.5 percent of the country to 17.2 percent, and their population ranged from 7.5 percent to 14 percent of the national total (see Table 2, Appendix). The eight provinces were divided into a total of 273 communities (obshtini--sing. obshtina); the city of Sofia was divided into districts (raioni--sing. raion). Because this system was established in 1987, references to another type of district, the okrug (pl. okruzi), remained common in the early 1990s. The new government that took office in 1991 announced that yet another change was needed in Bulgaria's political subdivisions because the 1987 system reflected the discredited policies of the Zhivkov regime.
Data as of June 1992