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The municipality of Garmen is a small municipality in the South-western Rhodopi mountain.We do not have big industrial factories but we do have a lot of cultural and historical monuments that show our region’s interesting past.There are also unique natural resources, fresh air and healing thermal mineral water.All this combined with the perfect climate conditions is a reasonable potential for the development of various touristic activities you can invest into.The wealth of Garmen municipality is its people famous for their hospitality and diligence, people who have succeeded to preserve their originality and their skills in creating beauty.
If you choose to invest in our municipality you will take part together with us into the turning of this municipality into an attractive place to live in and work in and a preferred place for business and recreation.

When you come here you will find not only excellent partners for your business but you will also find out a picturesque part of Bulgaria, an interesting mixture of past and future, traditional and modern.

Welcome to Garmen municipality!

Ahmed Bashev - mayor of Garmen municipality

Welcome to Garmen municipality!
The municipality of Garmen is situated in the south-western part of Bulgaria on an area of 388,5 sq km.It includes parts of the river Mesta valley and parts of the western mountainsides of the western Rhodopi Dabrash ridge. To the east, north and south it borders the municipalities of Satovcha, Bansko and Hadjidimovo and to the north-east and south-west it borders the municipalities of Velingrad and Gotse Delchev. The municipality consists of 16 villages with 15 114 residents. The municipality’s centre is Garmen village
Transport infrastructure

The road network of Garmen municipality includes third-class roads (34 km) and municipality roads (51 km). The main thoroughfare is road III-197 Gotse Delchev-Satovcha-Dospat.
Of special importance for the municipality’s social and economical development is the connection with road II -19 Simitli-Razlog-Gotse Delchev-Drama which is a prerequisite for an active economical development and makes the municipality more attractive for the outer business. The importance of this connection will increase with the opening of frontier checkpoint post Ilinden.

3/4 of the villages in the municipality have central water-supply laid on and 80% of the population have an access to these public utility services. The water-supply system consists of exterior system 40km and interior system 65 km.

Well developed: the GSM operators Mtel and Globul have covered the whole area of the municipality. All villages are connected to the automatic telephone dialing system. The Internet access is performed through the net built by the cable operators.

The electrical network is with an even distribution throughout the municipality area and includes all villages. The network is entirely aerial, with a total length of 144 km and 90 km aerial main power lines.

The subterranean natural resources in the municipality are highly varied.
The gneisses on the land of the villages Krushevo and Dolno Dryanovo are of great interest- they have excellent decorative features, they could be glazed and are weather –proof. They are used for the covering of buildings.
On the land of the villages Baldevo and Garmen there are brown coal finds and in Garmen-kieselguhr finds.
The water resources on the territory of Garmen municipality are formed by surface water and underground water. The surface water is the river of Mesta and its Rhodopi tributaries Kanina and Dabnishka river (Varbitsa). There are 17 warm mineral spa springs 1km to the north-east of the village of Ognyanovo in the valley of the river Kanina.
The forestry fund occupies 26 760 de cares or 69% of the municipality’s territory. It is comparatively rich- coniferous woods are predominant (pine, spruce, white fur) but there are also deciduous trees represented by beech and oak.

The municipality is situated in the borderline between two climate zones-temperate continental which is the predominant one and transitory Mediterranean which comes from the Mesta river valley. The seasons are clearly distinguishable-a warm summer and a moderately cold winter.

According to the data from the Civil Administrative Municipality Register the population of the municipality of Garmen is 14 395 people by 31st December 2004 - 7178 men and 7217 women. The density of population is 37 people per square km. The age structure of the population is favourable for a demographic development-3306 people (22,48%) are in an under-able bodied age, 8866 people ( 60,29%) are in an able-bodied age , and 2533 people(17,23%) are unable to work.
Employment and unemployment
According to the data from the National Statistics Institute 52,6% of the people are employed in the agriculture from which 17,7% in tobacco gowing.42% are employed in industry. In the utility services sector the public sector is predominant-25%, trade ranks second with 3%, and tourism-1%. Women are mostly employed in agriculture and in textile industry and men are employed mostly in agriculture and industry.

In October 2005 the unemployment level in the municipality of Garmen is 9,5% or 725 people. Most of them are women and 347 men.The long-term unemployed –for more than a year are 361 people.

Condition and tendencies
The number of the firms registered in Garmen is 863 and the active firms are 236. The number of the active firms is constantly growing during the period 1999-2005. The greatest part of the firms registered is in the sphere of public utility services (81,82%), industry (16,06%), and agriculture (12,12%).
We expect that the opening of the frontier checkpoint post Ilinden will contribute for the economical growth and will influence the business development by attracting Bulgarian and Greek investments.

Forestry enterprise
The timber resources on the territory of the municipality of Garmen is 270 270 decares or 69,6% of the municipality’s territory.97,92% of the forestry area belong to the state forestry fund, 1,74% are private property, 0,23% belong to religious organizations, and the remaining 0,11% are municipality property.
Garmen municipality is situated in a hilly region where the local economy is strongly dependent on agriculture as a source of incomes and employment. 52,6% of the employed people work in farmyards.
The main part of the arable land is occupied by tobacco (6535 decares) and maze (1200 decares). There are perennial plants too (1200 decares).
The stock-breeding has got a smaller share in the agricultural production. Cattle-breeding and sheep-breeding are dominating. There are some positive results in the field of bee-keeping-three registered bee-keepers and 83 apiaries
Garmen municipality is not strongly industrialized, theris not an industrial production to worsen the environmental parametres and the percentage of industry employed people is 41,4%.
The light industry is represented by boot-and shoe industry and clothing industry as well as food industry- its production is released in the municipality region-bread and non-alcoholic drinks etc. The growth potential of this sector is strongly dependent on the agricultural growth.

Leshten - country house village
The municipality of Garmen is very favourably situated to develop its tourism. The touristic sector has got a significant growth potential and is of big importance for the local economy. The execution of PHAR project for trans-frontier cooperation – the rehabilitation of road II-19 Razlog-Gotse Delchev-Drama will improve the access to the municipality and will increasw the number of tourists visiting our region.
Up to now there are 15 shelter utilities's with the capacity of 650 beds in our municipality.
The municipality of Garmen has got an enormous potential to develop various touristic supply-spa-tourism, historical, cultural, rural and eco tourism.
Touristic eco-paths: Kovatchevitsa- Skrebatno- Osikovo- Ribnovo; Kovatchevitsa- Dolen and Garmen- Kovatchevitsa can bring you closer to the preserved nature of the Rhodopi mountains and they are an excellent resource for the eco tourism development.
Architectural reserve Kovatchevitsa(23 km away from Gotse Delchev) can be a prerequisite for the development of historical and cultural tourism.

It is an architectural and historical phenomenon acknowledged a unique architectural testimony together with the architectural building school in the southwestern Rhodopi with its centre and most outstanding representative – Kovatchevitsa.
Most of the houses are restored (keeping the old tradition) and are ready to receive visitors. Out of these houses the more famous ones are: Bayatevata kashta (Bayatev’s House), Zherevata, Kapsazovata, Milchevata, Velchevata kashta (all Houses).

A precious resource for the tourism’s development in Garmen municipality are the archeological and natural objects situated in the village of Garmen.
Archeological objects:
• “NIKOPOLIS AD NESTUM” – an ancient Roman city situated in the southern suburb of Garmen village. It occupies an area of 13 hectares. As a result of the excavations in 1980 280 meters have been cleared out. Judging from the typical shape of the towers and the building of the fortifications as well as the findings discovered here we can say that the fortress dates back to the 4 century and it probably was destroyed in the end of 6th century or the beginning of the 7th century. This city was created by emperor Trayan. We must say that during the excavations there have been discovered findings from other historical periods. This fact leads us to the conclusion that the city have been inhabited for more than 14 centuries.
• “BASILICA” –it is situated 2,5 km to the south-east of “Nikopolis Ad Nestum”in the “Gramadeto” area. As a result of the excavations held in 1978-1979 there was discovered a basilica with a nave and two aisles of the Elinistic type with an average length 24,71 m.
Natural objects:
• Rock formations “Koziya Kamak”(The Goat’s Stone”)(0,6 hectares)- with an ancient astronomical map and “Chernata Skala”(The Black Rock)- approximately 15 km away from Kovatchevitsa village, declared landmarks with order 1187( 09.04.1976 of the Ministry). The point of departure for the rock formations is Forestry “Beslet”.
• “Kayaliyskite Skali”(Kayaliyski Rocks) – they could be a rival to the famous Belogradchik Rocks- approximately 20 km away from Kovatchevitsa village.
• A well-kept reserve “Tamnata Gora”(The Dark Forest)– declared a reserve with order 2811(10.10.1962) of Main Forestry Board. It is situated in the western Rhodopi Dabrash ridge on the territory of Kovatchevitsa village, its altitude is 1500-1700m and its area is 30,2 hectares.It is made to preserve the age –old spruce-beech-pine tree forest.
• The Deep canyon by the river of Kanina in the area “Siniya Vir”(the blue pool) is approximately within 1,30 hour walking distance from Kovatchevitsa.
• “Tchinarite”(the plane trees) in Garmen-venerable tres nearly 600 years old declared landmarks with orders 17 and 96 from 08.06.1968.
• Centuries –old white poplars in Dabnitsa
• The cave “Manolova Dupka”(Manol’s hole) near Osikovo village-the longest cave in Dabrash.

Historical places:
“Kara tash”(order 357 from 09.02.1973) 3,1 hectares area and “Partizanski most(gurilla’s bridge)- order 3962 from 20.12.1973, 3,2 hectares area have been declared historical places in the municipality of Garmen.

The rural tourism is one of the most important and leading tendencies in the touristic supply. It is well developed in Leshten( a country house village).

Country house village “Leshten”( 15 km away from Gotse Delchev)- there are 15 reconstructed old Rhodopi style houses for a rural tourism. They have got telephones, TV sets, kitchenettes and modern bathrooms and WC's available- a perfect combination of Bulgarian tradition and modern life utilities.The two taverns available for the guests offer delicious Bulgarian dishes and are supplied by the owners’ farms. We can offer to our guests a lot of options for leisure activities-hunting, fishing, riding, going out for a walk to the mountain by jeeps or carts, herb or mushroom collecting.
The balneotherapy is connected with the thermal mineral springs in Ognyanovo(12 km from Gotse Delchev) which have got a favorable effect on a number of diseases. The beautiful nature and the thermal mineral water turn Ognyanovo into a most preferred spa resort for a lot of tourists from Bulgaria and abroad.
There are two groups of thermal mineral springs 1km away from each other. The first group consists of 14 springs known as “Gradski bani” (town’s spa), situated in the valley of Kanina river, and the second group consists of 3-4 springs-the so called”Selski bani”(village’s spa) is 1km to the north-east of Ognyanovo-hence-“Ognyanovo spa resort”. The mineral water here is clear, without any odour and pleasant to drink. The temperature of the thermal mineral water varies between 39° and 43°. The Ognyanovo thermal water has got a healing effect on some gynecological diseases, helps the functioning of the kidneys; it has got a septic effect on the peripheral nervous system, it also has got a healing effect on rheumatism and neuralgia, renal calculus (stone in the kidney) and biziary calculus (gall-stones).
There are three spas in the first group and two spas in the second group of springs.
The Ognyanovo mineral water spa resort, situated in the valley of Kanina River can offer you a good vacation within the whole year. The coniferous and acacia foreste surrounding the spa, as well as the clear water of Kanina river make this region more attractive. You can enjoy a magnificent view from the nearest slopes to the peaks of the majestic Pirin mountain. The Ognyanovo thermal mineral water spa resort can offer very good conditions for the development of different kinds of specialized tourism. The favourable geographical position, the wonderful climate conditions and the healing effect of these thermal spas attract a lot of tourists from the region, the country, and from Greece. There are several resorts in the area whose capacity is approximately 500 beds.

Hotels and restaurants
In Ognyanovo village-phone code 07523:
1. Hotel «Victoria» telephone: 31 82
2. Spa resort «Mineral springs» telephone: 21 38
3. Hotel «Elis» telephone: 20 65
4. Villa «Mary» telephone: 21 68
5. Hotel «Bohema» telephone: 31 18
6. Villa «Paradise» telephone: 20 58
7. Hotel «Delta» telephone: 20 05
8. Complex «Petreliyski» telephone: 0888 846993; 0898 564942
9 . Hotel «Chinara» telephone: 0887 791421; 0887 472387
In Marchevo village- phone code 07523:
1. Hotel «Cherniya Kos» telephone: 30 82
2. Hotel «Meiz» telephone: 21 67
Country House Village Leshten:
telephone: 0751/2 91 07; 07527/522
telephone /fax: 07527/448

Kovatchevitsa village:

1. Spasov’s House telephone: 02/24 30 83
2. Zhechev’s House telephone: 02/986 47 70; 07527/461
3. Kapsazov’s House telephone: 07527/443; 048 902 122; 048 969 676
4. Bayatev’s House telephone: 07523/30 44
5. Milchev’s House telephone: 07527/445
6. Velchev’s House telephone: 07527/482

The potential for tourism development on the territory of the municipality of Garmen is connected with the creation and promoting of ecotouristic products, rural and cultural routes. The perspectives for the tourist business are connected with the exploitation of the cultural and historical resources available and the promoting of a regional tourist product in cooperation with the other municipalities from the south-western touristic region.

Municipality Administration Address:
2960 Garmen village, district Blagoevgrad
telephone: 07523/20-40, 20-47
A person to contact with:
Violeta Boulgurova ”EU programmes and administrative register” expert
Telephone: 07523/20-40 and 20-47/ 117
GSM: 0887 612338