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MUNICIPALITY GOTSE DELCHEV
The Gotse Delchev municipality encompasses an area of 315.8 sq, km in the southwest part of Bulgaria. It borders the municipalities of Hajidimovo, Garmen, Bansko and Sandanski.
The town of Gotse Delchev is situated in the Gotse Delchev Hollow, at the southwest foot of the Middle Pirin Mountain, along both banks of the Nevrokopska (Gradska) River - a tributary to the Mesta River, which flows 3 km west of the town.

The Gotse Delchev Hollow and the low-mountain hilly places were inhabited even as early as the prehistoric age because of their favourable climate. There are numerous remains of the material culture of the prehistoric man from the Stone and the Stone-Copper Age; of the Thracians - from the first millennium BC; of the period of the Roman rule and late antiquity; and of the Slavonic tribe Smolyani. The region was annexed to the Bulgarian kingdom in 837 AD. During the Ottoman rule, especially in c. 16 and 17, as a result of the assimilation policy of the conquerors, part of the local Christian population was forcibly converted to the Islam, but preserved its national consciousness and traditions.
The economic progress during the National Revival period was expressed in the development of stock-breeding, agriculture, bee-keeping, silkworm-breeding and the flourishing of the crafts and commerce. The town, which was then called Nevrokop, become known for being the only producer of a famous brand of sheep bells. Skilful builders were building residential and public buildings of remarkable architectural merits; the town and the villages were renewing, developing and enlarging themselves. The export and commerce took a southward direction - towards the towns of Aegean Macedonia and other parts of present-day Greece, and a westward one - towards Serbia and Austro-Hungary. The annually conducted Nevrokop Fair was of great importance to the economic life of the region.
During the National Revival, the Bulgarian population waged long and dramatic struggles for education in Bulgarian and a Bulgarian Church, and also took an active part in the struggles for national liberation.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Relief

The relief in the region of the Gotse Delchev municipality is very varied. The highest point is at an altitude of 2 709 m above sea level in the Pirin Mountain, and the lowest point - at about 430 m in the Gotse Delchev Hollow. The most impressive land shapes are the alpine southern parts of the Northern Pirin with the three southernmost cirques -The Kamenitsa Cirque with its six lakes, the Breznitsa Cirque with three lakes and the Kornitsa Cirque with two lakes. Summits with a pronounced alpine character rise over them - the Chengel Chal, the Kadiev Rid, the Demir Chal, the Hleven and the Boikov Vrah. The lonely rising summit Orelyak - the highest in the Middle Pirin -also has an alpine character. The medium-height parts of the Southern Pirin, grown over with beautiful forest, are of special interest. An important tourist object for the region is the Ali Botoush Mountain.
The Rhodope Mountains close the Gotse Delchev Hollow from the east. The western part of the mountain has a high-mountain relief, which is a combination of comparatively high rounded summits and a deep and complicated network of beautiful canyons and well-shaped valleys. The largest part of the mountain is densely forested with coniferous and deciduous forest areas, whose slanting slopes form beautiful natural pastures and meadows.
The canyon of the Kabina River and the canyon-like shape of the Delchevska River near the town of Gotse Delchev are especially interesting. The Momina Klisoura Defile and the defile of the Bistritsa River bring additional variety to the landscape.
The very pronounced mountain parts serve as a background to the extremely beautiful Gotse Delchev Hollow with attractive failures, from which numerous mineral springs start. The tributaries to the Mesta River have furrowed the mountain slopes with narrow defiles, which are of tourist value.
The numerous rock formations, summits, glacial lakes, canyon valleys and separate isolated elevations together with the other surface and subsurface formations are the great natural tourist potential of the Gotse Delchev municipality.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Climate  
The Pirin Mountain and the valley of the Mesta River belong to the Transitional Mediterranean Climatic Area. In the Pirin Mountain itself, the Mediterranean influences change with the altitudinal belts, which outline three climatic sub-areas:
The valley of the Mesta River up to 1000 m above sea level
Middle-mountain sub-area from 1000 to 2000 m
High-mountain sub-area above 2000 m
The varying relief forms influence the temperature regime and the air humidity, the wind velocity and the amounts of precipitation.
The average wind velocity in the town's region is about 0.8 m/sec, and the hollow character of the area predetermines the very great number of windless days, which constitute averagely 72 % of the days in a year.
The average annual temperature is 11.3 degrees Centigrade, the average January temperature - 0 degrees, and the average July temperature - 21.6 degrees.
The average annual precipitation is between 620 and 780 mm, with a maximum in winter and a secondary maximum in autumn. The month with minimum precipitation is November, and the month with maximum precipitation is August.
There are averagely 100-110 days per year in the period from May to September inclusive that are suitable for explorative tourism.
Water Resources
The Gotse Delchev region is one of the richest in water in Bulgaria. The main water source are the surface and the subsurface waters.
Rivers
The whole Gotse Delchev region is situated in the valley of the Mesta River and its tributaries. The Mesta springs from the southern slopes of the Rila Mountain and its upper part flows between the Rila Mountain and the Rhodope Mountains, then cuts into the western slope of the Rhodope elevation Dabrash and forms the deep and picturesque defile Momina Klisoura, and after that its middle part enters the Gotse Delchev Hollow. Its lower part flows through Greece and flows into the Aegean Sea. The total length of the river is 273 km, 126 of which are in Bulgaria. It has 13 main tributaries, one of which is the Kanina River.
Lakes
The lakes in the region are situated on the northeastern slopes of the Pirin Mountain and pour their water into the Mesta River through its tributaries. Most of them occupy the bottoms of cirques, which were formed by glaciers' activities, and usually form groups. The more attractive of them are the group of three lakes in the Breznitsa Cirque and another three comparatively small lakes in the Kornitsa Cirque. The average size of the lakes is about 15 decares.
Of the dam lakes, we should mention here the larger water reservoirs near the settlements in the region. There are three water reservoirs above the town of Gotse Delchev at the foot of the Pirin Mountain.
Mineral springs
There is a deposit of nitric thermal waters in the Gotse Delchev region, which generates springs in the region of the villages of Ognyanovo, Garmen, Marchevo and Zagrade, which are about 10 km away from the town of Gotse Delchev. The springs are about 16 in number with an approximate total flow rate of 120 l/sec. The mineral water of the Ognyanovo springs is pure, without a smell and with a pleasant taste; its temperature is about 39-43 degrees Centigrade.
The mineral springs in the Toplika area are about 4 km away from the town of Gotse Delchev. They are about 10 in number. The water has a constant temperature of 22 degrees Centigrade and never freezes even in the coldest winter days. The flow rate is about 40 l/sec. The springs are situated in a picturesque area with a beautiful acacia forest around them and a panorama view of the summit Lyaskovski Vrah opposite. The remains of an ancient fortress are situated near them
Flora
Southwest Bulgaria is known for its rich and varied vegetation.
The Pirin Mountain Zone
The 600-700-metre altitudinal belt, known as the belt of the oak forests, is well-manifested along the western, the southern and partly the eastern and northern slopes of the mountain. It is covered mostly with oak and hornbeam forests. The Austrian pine communities occupy substantial areas of the belt. There is a compact belt of beech forests at an altitude of 900-1000 è 1500 m, and even of 1800 m along the eastern slopes of the Orelyak Summit. There is also a wide and compact belt of coniferous forests in all parts of the Pirin mountain. It begins at an altitude of about 1500-1600 m above sea level and reaches up to 2000-2200 m. The largest territories in it are occupied by the communities of the common spruce and the white fir. The belt above 2000 m is covered with dwarf pine and juniper bushes.
There are about 70 endemic species in the Pirin Mountain.
The Slavyanka Mountain Zone
The vegetation of the Slavyanka Mountain is similar to that of the Pirin Mountain. 30 Bulgarian endemic species grow here, 10 of which are unique to the mountain.
The Rhodope Mountain Zone
The belt from 600 to 800 m is mostly covered with a birch-poplar-and-alder forest. The belt from 800 to 1300 m is mostly covered with durmast oak, beech and spruce forests. The highest belt - from 1300 to 1900-2000 m - is covered with beech, fir and spruce forests
Fauna
There is an optimal ratio of the forest, grass and farming areas in the region of the Gotse Delchev municipality, which is an important prerequisite for the development of the animal populations.
The wild boar - one of the most important representatives of the useful wild animals in the region. The number of its population has stabilized in recent years.
The red deer - another important representative of the useful wild animals. Its population used to be much more numerous in the past..
The roe inhabits the whole region and its population is in a comparatively good state.
The wild goat - its hunting is forbidden. It lives in the high rocky parts of the Pirin, the Slavyanka and the Rhodope mountains.
The bear is a protected species. Separate animals live in the Rhodopes and the Pirin.
The wolf inhabits the whole region separately or in packs.
The hare inhabits mostly the low-mountain parts of the region.
The squirrel inhabits all forest parts of the region.
The woodcock - a few individuals inhabit the Mourata area.
The rock partridge - separate flocks inhabit the rocky low-mountain parts.
The partridge inhabits mostly the cultivable lands in the region's open-air farming areas.
The wood pigeon inhabits the whole region.
Other animal species inhabiting the region: the fox, the badger, the jackal, the tortoise, the wild cat, the alpine rook, the wild dove, the mountain trout.
Protected Objects
The region of the Gotse Delchev municipality includes part of the territory of the Pirin National Park. It was granted that statute for the preservation of the unique ecosystems and landscapes of the Pirin mountain. The park's territory encompasses the catchment areas of many rivers and lakes. The vegetation resources are also great - about 2 000 higher plant species, 110 of which are entered in the Red Book of Endangered Species of Bulgaria. The animal world is also very varied - wild goats, bears, wolves, roes, etc.
The reserves are of special importance in the system of protected objects. All activities which violate the original character of nature are forbidden there. Even the entry into them is not allowed without a special permit. The following reserves are situated on the territory of the Gotse Delchev municipality:
THE ORELYAK - situated in the Pirin Mountain upon an area of 850 hectares. It is a typical forest reserve of age-old beech forests. About 15 hectares of it are occupied by mountain pastures, where the famous Pirin tea-herb grows.
THE ALI BOTOUSH - situated in the Pirin Mountain upon a total area of 1628 hectares. The most widespread tree species here is the Austrian pine. Above the Austrian pine forests grows the black fir - one of the rare representatives of the Bulgarian flora.
TAMNATA GORA (THE DARK FOREST) - situated in the Western Rhodopes upon an area of 30.2 hectares. The reserve was founded for the preservation of the age-old spruce,-beech-and-fir forest.
THE KONSKI DOL -situated in the Western Rhodopes upon an area of 32 hectares. The reserve was founded for the preservation of the age-old fir, spruce and beech forests.
THE SLAVYANKA BIOSPHERIC RESERVE - preserves the largest habitat of the black fir in Bulgaria. The reserve is a natural botanical garden.
An ecological police section was founded in the Gotse Delchev municipality in 2000.
Population
The total population of the eleven settlements in the municipality numbers 37 138 people, 23 573 of whom live in the town of Gotse Delchev.
There were 2 235 registered unemployed in the municipality by the beginning of 2000. That number constitutes 13.96 per cent of the municipality's economically active population.
INFRASTRUCTURE
Transport
The second-class road Simitli - Razlog - Gotse Delchev, which connects the town of Gotse Delchev with the capital (200 km), and the third-class road Gotse Delchev - Dospat pass through the municipality. Both roads are in a good condition.
Great expectations about the development of tourism and the region's economy as a whole are set on the construction of a new checkpoint, which is to connect Gotse Delchev with Northern Greece and provide access to the Greek harbour Kavala (90 km).
There are not any railway lines on the municipality's territory. The nearest railway station is Dobrinishte.
The military airport near the town, which could be restructured into a civil airport, is also a potential for the development of the transport.
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Water Supply
All settlements in the region are centrally supplied with water, but many of the pipes of the water-supply system are too old and have to be replaced.
The town's sewerage system is over 98%; the construction of a waste water purification plant is planned.
Communications    

The communications system is at a comparatively high level. The analogue devices are being gradually replaced with digital.
The municipality is within the range of the mobile telecommunications operators.

Electricity supply - All settlements in the municipality are supplied with electricity
 

AGRICULTURE
The climatic conditions and the Mediterranean influence favour the development of farming. The wide valley of the Mesta River offers suitable cultivable areas. The main crops grown in the region are the tobacco and the cereals. Tomatoes, potatoes, onions, peppers, grapes, watermelons, strawberries, apples, cherries, plums, pears, etc. are also grown.

  TOURISM

The Gotse Delchev municipality offers all kinds of places for the lovers of nature. The natural sight Chinarbey (a 500-year-old plane-tree with a height of 24 m) is near the bank of the Delchevska River. The age-old chestnut-trees Bliznatsite (the Twins) grow 1.5 km away from the town of Gotse Delchev. The fishpond by the Mesta River (3km along a highway and 2 km along a dirt road northeastwards) offers tourist attractions and a specialized fish restaurant.
The picturesque 25-km-long defile of the Mesta River called Momina Klisoura is situated on the municipality's territory. It connects the Razlog Hollow with the Gotse Delchev Hollow and separates the Pirin Mountain from the Western Rhodopes. A very beautiful part of the Pirin National Park - the Kornitsa, Breznitsa and Kamenitsa cirques - occupies 1487.2 hectares of the municipality's area. The Orelyak reserve (758.1 hectares - 751.5 hectares of forest areas and 6.6 hectares of pasture areas), known for its primeval beech forests, is also situated here. The Popovi Livadi area (a climatic mountain resort at an altitude1 430 m above sea level) is a convenient starting point for the Orelyak (2.30 h northwards along a marked track) and the crest of the Debeli Rid elevation, surrounding the three cirques. The International Tourist Route E4 (the Pyrenees - Peloponnese) also passes here.
Tours to the famous national and international tourist centre Bansko (32 km) can be undertaken from the town of Gotse Delchev. Picturesque mountain roads lead from the Popovi Livadi area to the interesting village of Pirin (44 km), the Pirin Chalet (61 km), the famous Rozhen Monastery (79 km) and the cultural and historical reserve Melnik (80 km)

CULTURE AND ART
Museums
The Historical Museum is situated in the old central part of the town. It is housed in the Prokopovata Kashta (a house, which is an architectural monument of national importance). The archaeological materials, the traditional craft products, the unique collection of traditional local costumes and pieces of home-made fabric, the numismatic collection, the photographs and the documents show the rich and varied historical heritage of the region.
Near the museum, in a house built in 1894 (a cultural monument), the richest private ethnographic collection in the Pirin region, which was collected with decades by Mr. Zafir Kanchev, can be seen.
Sights of the Municipality
 

The St. Archangel Michael Church (1811) is remarkable for its old holy gates, included in the iconostasis composition, for its richly decorated with fretwork ceilings, and 70 icons from 1881 by Sergi Georgiev.
The Ouspenie Bogorodichno (the Assumption) Church (1838) has an extremely interesting painted iconostasis, masterpieces of fretwork, and icons by eminent representatives of the Bansko Painting School.
The architectural complex of Rifat Bey (a local Ottoman ruler) in the Bulgarian National Revival style, the ensembles of post-National Liberation houses in the old central part along the Hristo Botev, Targovska and Ivan Vazov streets, and the artisans' workshops along the Zvancharska Street also contribute to the town's atmosphere.
The Sveta Bogoroditsa (the Holy Virgin) Monastery, built in 1888, and the remains of the Momina Koula medieval fortress are situated 3 km away from the town
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Folklore

The folklore, the local customs and the traditional holidays are an inseparable part of the spiritual culture of the inhabitants of the Gotse Delchev municipality. The clearest idea of the folk traditions can be acquired from the performance of the Ensemble for Folk Songs and Dances of the town of Gotse Delchev, from the Easter and Christmas ritual tables organized by the Historical Museum in the town of Gotse Delchev, from the church holidays of the Holy Virgin, celebrated with a solemn liturgy, a ritual meal of boiled mutton and common tables by the monastery of the same name, and from many other cultural events in the whole municipality.


     
Contact Information:      

Mr. Ognian Lazarov ovl@abv.bg
Municipality Goze Delchev
Address: BG-2900 Goze Delchev,
District of Blagoevgrad
2, Zariza Joanna
Phone: +359 (0751) 600 70 (Exch)
+359 (0751) 600 60, 600 61
Fax: +359 (0751) 600 66
E-Mail:
oba@gocenet.net

http://bulgaria.domino.bg/gotsedelchev/