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Bulgarian Regions

Sofia region

SofiaSofia Region is situated in the central part of Western Bulgaria, It is bounded by the regions of Sofia City, Montana, Vratza, Lovech, Plovdiv, Pazardzhik, Blagoevgrad, Kyustendil, Pernik and west - by Serbia. The region has a varied relief. It encompasses some parts of the western Balkans, the proper and Ihtiman Sredna Gora Mountains, the Rila Mountains (with the highest peak - Mount Musala, 2925 m), the Verila and Plana Mountains, as well as parts of the kettles of Sofia, Samokov, Ihtiman, Zlatiza and Pirdop, Botevgrad. Many rivers cross the region, the largest of which are the Iskar, Maritza, Topolnitza and Nishava Rivers. There are mineral springs near the towns of Kostenetz, Dolna Banya and in the vicinity of the villages of Belchin and Pchelin. The Belgrade-Sofia-Istanbul international railroad as well as the Sofia-Varna and Sofia-Burgas national railroads and Thrace (Trakia) and Hemus highways cross the territory of the region. The defile of the Iskar River and the mountain passes of Petrohan and Vitinya link Northern and Southern Bulgaria.

The favorable natural conditions allow the development of the holiday resort, sports and tourist sectors. Borovetz Resort is an international skiing center; Iskretz, Kostenetz and Dolna Banya are climatic resorts and the villages in the Iskar defile are villa areas. A recreation and sports complex with golf grounds, stables and sports facilities are built near Ihtiman, about 50 km away from Sofia. There are more than 300 protected sites and natural landmarks in Sofia Region - such as the reserves of Marichini Lakes, Skakavetz, Barikadite, the caves and the cliffs near Laksknik, the waterfalls Skaklia, Skakavitza, Sini Vir, Kostenetz, etc. The woods in the vicinity of Chepan and at the foot of Mount Kom are suitable for tourism and hunting and the courses of the Nishava River and the mountain rivulets and water basins are appropriate for sports fishing.

SofiaVantages of human life dated to the late Paleolithic Age have been found in Sofia Region (in the caves near Lakatnik). There are remains of Roman roadside stations left in the area of Dragoman, Ihtiman, Vakarel, etc. and some remnants of medieval settlements - near Ihtiman and Kostinbrod, Koprivshtitza, Samokov. The Etropole Monastery was a major literary center during the National Revival period. At the end of the 18th century the Samokov Art School thrived. The National Uprising of April 1876 started in Koprivshitza. At the Arabakonak Pass a monument has been erected to commemorate the Russian soldiers who perished in the violent battles there in 1877 during the Russian-Turkish War aimed to liberate Bulgaria from the Ottoman rule.