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MUNICIPALITY POPOVO
Characteristics of the population Popovo Municipality

There are 35 settlements on the territory of Popovo Municipality, including one town and 34 villages. According to official statistic data, the stationary population of the Municipality is 36 600 people. 20 000 live in the town of Popovo. 51,5 % of them – women and 48,5 % - men. The number of active population is 9 520 people (56 %).
The share of people with higher education or college diploma is 14%, 46 % having high school diploma, and 21 % have not concluded their elementary education.

In the ethnical structure of population, the share of the Bulgarian ethnical group is 71%, Turk ethnical group – 21%, and on the third place – Roma with 5%.

In our Municipality all of the ethnic groups live together in an atmosphere of tolerance and human rights consideration, there are no evidences of ethnical based conflicts. Our general concerns are economical – unemployment and poverty, mainly in Roma minority.


 
 
Characteristics of the geographic region
The town of Popovo is situated in the North-East part of the Republic of Bulgaria.
The strongest advantages of the town are connected with the favorable geographic situation towards main international corridors.
The town is situated on central railway line connecting Sofia and Varna, 70km far from the town of Russe and the Romanian border, 150km away from the port of Varna, which gives access to international ports and industrial centers, under the influence of international transport corridors No 7 and No 9.
In connection with the project for “Hemus” highway, connecting Sofia and Varna, transport and social-economic relation in the region will be improved.
These facts contribute to the forming of Popovo as one natural communication center in this part of the country.
Agricultural lands form 71 % of the territory of Popovo Municipality, which determines the economical activity.
The climate in our region is temperate-continental. Winters are cold. Spring comes early – in the middle of March. Because of the comparatively high altitude and the nearness of Stara Planina Mountain, summer is not too hot.
 
Land fertility gives great opportunities for agriculture – wheat, grain crops, industrial crops, vegetables, vineyards and fruit growing.
There are great deposits of chalk and clay on the territory of Popovo Municipality, which are partially exploited and there is high potential for developing the sector.
Employment characteristics – industry, agriculture, tourism, etc.

The level of unemployment in the Municipality of Popovo is high, although it is getting lower during last few years.
By 30.09.2005 18 % of the active population is unemployed. The number is twice bigger then the average for Bulgaria.
57 % of the unemployed are people without qualification, and 24 % are people with working professions.
Most of the unemployed has elementary education.

40 % of the employed work in the industrial sector, 28 % in agriculture.
The share of the employed in the fields of services is low, especially in business- and financial services.

95 % of the active economic property is in the private sector.
Leading branch is the “Manufacture industry”, where lots of investments were made during last few years. On the second place stand the “Agriculture, Reserve and Forestry” industry.

This is the structure of the municipal economy:
• Production of foods, drinks, tobacco – 30 %
• Trade; service and technical maintenance of vehicles, personal belongings and household goods – 20 %
• Production of textiles and textile products – 20 %
• Agriculture, Reserve and Forestry – 14 %
• Production of machines and equipment – 4 %
• Transport, warehouses and communications – 3 %
• Construction – 2 %
Most of the people are employed in the textiles and textile products manufacture.  
Most of the enterprises in Popovo Municipality are small (89 %), with personal less than 10 people.

Textiles and textile products Industry is most developed in the town. Biggest enterprises are “Rodina Popovo” Ltd., “Sport” Joint-stock Company ? “Freshtex” Ltd. The sector is also presented by some smaller firms which mainly work with clients’ materials. Almost 100 % of the production is being exported to the West European countries, USA and Canada.

 
In town there are several manufacturing enterprises for agricultural production, such as “Rosa” Joint-stock Company, for refined cooking oil, which has its own platform at the goods-station in town, the mill “Kristera” Pls and some other smaller mills, meat production enterprises “Bratia Tomovi” and “Tandem – B” Joint-stock Company
 
The “Golden Fruit” company manufactures vegetable cans and pickles.
The transport Company “Meteor” performs passenger and goods transportation services.
The machine-building plant “Cast-iron Fitment - Bulgaria” is the only one in the country to manufacture industrial fittings for water-supply equipment, and part of its production is being exported.

“Polisep” Plc manufactures PVC separators for accumulators, PVC and wooden flatnesses and details, PVC pipes.

The company “Electrical equipment” Plc in the village of Kovachevets specializes in manufacturing spare parts for electric trucks and telphers, spare electrics for household, military production.

“Steel profiles” Plc is a licensed producer of steel shapes and pipes for construction industry, machine building, electronics, furniture industry, agriculture, etc.

Agrotehremont 61 Ltd. that produces and repairs agricultural machines and is specialized in repairing tractor diesel engines and spares.
The firm “Rodna Industria” exploit local clay field and manufactures bricks for the construction.

The firm “Forest Group” is dealing with logging and woodworking and sells most of its production on foreign markets.

In 2004 “Vinprom Popovo" Plc resumed its activity, as its installations were put into action after a long time of a standstill and the capacity for manufacturing vine and spirituous liquors raw materials is increasing.

Active in the sphere of construction works are: “Geostroy” Plc, “Antola” Plc, ST “LIMO – Sasho Sabev, “Road Maintenance – Popovo” Ltd and some other smaller firms.

For several years there is a gas company functioning in our town – “Gas Supply – Popovo”, that maintains the gas-supplying systems, and the number of industrial and everyday life subscribers has increased.

An enterprise for extraction and bottling of mineral water was put into operation near the town in 2004. The natural mineral water is good for drinking and balneotherapy.

Municipality of Popovo has on its disposal some good natural resources for developing agricultural activity - plenty of fertile lands, which give opportunities for producing raw materials for the purpose of food, wine and tobacco industries.

The natural resources are a precondition for developing grain-producing industry, the wine-producing, the stock-breeding. A serious problem for effective agriculture activity is the strongly parceled out lands. The necessary equipment in agriculture is outdated and overworked.

The machinery fleet is amortized and insufficient. The irrigation systems, which are very important for farming, are also in bad condition. In the mean time, investment opportunities for establishing new agricultural co-operations are limited. There is a certain need of using the opportunities for financing by the EU structural funds and grant programs.

There is a well organized market for agricultural production in our Municipality. There are certain chances of increase of demands, on the base of the well developed food, wine and tobacco industries and the presence of output capacity, not fully exploited yet.

Tourism is one perspective sector with great meaning in economical, social, cultural and ecological aspect, which contributes to opening new work places. The geographical position, favorable climate conditions, wealthy nature and cultural heritage – set as a prerequisite for alternative forms of tourism, profitable economic activities.

In the Municipality of Popovo we can find the following favorable conditions for tourist activity:
Picturesque nature and rich cultural heritage – a great number of cultural and archaeological monuments.
Comparatively favorable geographical situation
Developing tourist super- and infrastructure – there are 4 hotels with capacity of more than 210 beds on the territory of the municipality.
In the region of the State Reserve Station “Cherni Lom” there are 41 hunting grounds,on about 103 345 hectare. Four reserve complexes are established within the borders of the Station on an aggregate area of 16 649 hectare. The State Reserve Station “Cherni Lom” successfully develops organized hunting tourism. The Station possesses 2 luxurious shooting lodges. The high-classed hunting lodge “Elenovo” has 12 beds capacity. The hunting lodge “Goliamo Gradishte” affords an opportunity of 6 beds, swimming pool and one tennis court to tourists. The population of the royal slag, the reserve variety and natural conditions in Popovo locality are a premise for developing international hunting tourism.
There is project financed by the PHARE program funds running, for the purpose of the development of ecotourism – “On the boundary between the Fore Balkan and the Danube Plain – Plains of Adventure”.
The Municipality of Popovo is situated close to some wealthy of tourist attractions regions, which could complement its own supply; to develop regional tourist product, on the base of cultural and cognitive tourism.
At this stage, the tourist demand on the territory of our municipality is unsatisfactory, but the favorable geographical situation and the nearness of some of the leading black sea resorts may become a factor for the development of concomitant tourism, to stimulate local tourist services demand. Most of the tourists visiting our town are Bulgarians. Among the foreign guests, the Russians, Turks, Serbians, Spanish, French and German predominate.
Developing business services is important for improving the competitiveness of local enterprises. On the territory of Popovo Municipality function 8 bank institutions and 6 insurance companies.
Participation of small and middle-sized enterprises in the process of development of the private sector is increasing. We could definitely mark a progress in the future development of the municipal economic, on the base of creating possibilities for the small- and middle-sized business.The volume of foreign investment does not correspond the real capacity.  
A good precondition for drawing foreign investments is the fact, that from 2003 the Municipality of Popovo is one of the few Bulgarian municipalities where the investors are not charged with the corporative tax if they are registered and carry out its activity on municipal territory. That preference stays in force even 5 years after the Municipality is dropped out of that list.
There are certain perspectives for investments in the food, drink and tobacco industry, textile and tailoring industry, agricultural machine-building industry, modern agro-industry for producing and manufacturing of plant and animal products.  
Cultural characteristics.  

In the Municipality 40 settlement mounds and prehistoric villages have been registered; More than 70 tumuli, the biggest in the village of; more than 50 antique medieval strongholds and remains from human settlements.

The stronghold “Kovatchevsko Kale” is located 6km west from the town, just on the road to Veliko Turnovo. It is supposed that the stronghold was a refreshment stand on the road between the Roman cities Nikopolis ad Istrum and Marcianopolis. It was probably built in the first half of the IV century round one earlier Thracian settlement, which acquired lately a city pattern. Among the most interesting founds are a marble sanctuary table, two bronze lamps, fibulas, applications, amulets, sealed bricks, coins (including gold ones), handiworks made of bone and horn, etc.
The early Byzantine stronghold near the village of Dolna Kabda. In the valley formed of low leveled, but steep-slope hills, 10km east from the town of Popovo is located the village of Dolna Kabda. On a 2km distant from the village locality were found the remains of ancient stronghold, known among local population as “Kaleto” or “Chichek Kalesi” (the stronghold of flowers). The hill is steep-sloped. The remains from the stronghold wall are kept under the form of high embankments, surrounding some space at about 20-25 decare. Besides the usual materials, connected with the lifestyle of the inhabitants, two collective coin founds (one from the Roman period, I-II century and the other from the Byzantine period, XII century) were made there.
The antique stronghold in the village of Dolets.
Architectural Monuments of the Bulgarian national revival are the churches in Palamartsa, Voditsa, Zaraevo, Sadina, Lomtsi and Konak.
Monuments in the localities of the battles during the Russian – Turk War of Liberation: the villages of Svetlen, Zaraevo, Posabina.
The Monument of Tanyo Voivoda, put up in “Kerchana” locality, near the village of Aprilovo.
• The Historical Museum – Popovo preserves mobile monuments, historical records, prehistoric cult plastic arts,small roman bronze plastic, consecrated ground marble,icons of the Bulgarian national revival, relics from old town living, and other objects, connected with the economical, political, educational and cultural life in town, masterpieces of outstanding Bulgarian painters and some local authors. In a separate building (the Mara Tasseva house) is set the ethnographical exhibition “Living and culture of village people and small-town population from the end of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century”.
 
• The Aegean ethnographic museum in the village of Svetlen
• The Ethnographic museum in the village of Sadina
• The 1863 year-built church “Sveti Arhangel Mihail” of the Bulgarian national revival.
• The “Uspenie Bogorodichno” church in Popovo.
On the territory of the Municipality function 32 community centers.
These cultural institutions are keeping, developing, popularizing and carrying out cultural activity. Together with the community centers, the Municipality maintains open public libraries.

The main goal of these centers is developing amateur art activity. Especially significant are the honors of the successful: Dancing Group “Severnyatsi”, of the Folklore Assemble “Severnyache”; the “AGRA” vocal trio; The Modern Ballet Studio, Dance formation “Char”, Dancing Group “Veselyache”; Children Music School by the Community Center in, the “Antola” Vocal Group, artistic groups performing authentic songs, customs and festivities.

The Cultural Calendar of our Municipality includes: Balkan film festival “Golden Eye” for cameramen artistry, National festival of the alternative movie “Mini film”, The “Capantsi Fair” – a local population festivity in the village of Sadina, The Aegean fair in the village of Svetlen, The Ethnical Fair, The May Days of Culture, village folk fairs, The feast of the town of Popovo and many other.

In Popovo functions a private art gallery called “Art-TT”, which organizes exhibitions together with the Municipality.


 
Contact address:  
Popovo Municipality  
Dr. Ludmil Vesselinov - Mayor of the Popovo Municipality  
Phone:+359 608 4-00-88  
Fax: +359 608 4-00-24  
E-Mail: obstina@popovo.bg; eu_program@popovo.bg  
Internet: http://www.popovo.bg