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Profile of Veliko Turnovo Municipality-short description

Veliko Turnovo Municipality is situated in central part of North Bulgaria and it is included in the administrative and territorial boundaries of Veliko Turnovo district. Veliko Turnovo is almost in the middle of the distance between the biggest cities in the country – Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv and Burgas. Veliko Turnovo Municipality is the biggest municipality in the district and it is located on 885 m2.

The population of Veliko Turnovo Municipality as to 01.01.2004 is 89 320 persons with permanent address registration, inhabiting 37 populated areas-three towns and 34 villages and neighborhoods.
Veliko Turnovo is administrative, cultural, educational, economic center. The Municipality has one of the favorable age structures for the country /38% age dependence coefficient/. Municipality has very high proportion of the population inhabiting the urban areas -81,9%. The density is 102,1 persons/m2.
The economic profile of Veliko Turnovo Municipality is characterized with development of modern tourist industry, which provides cognitive, cultural, congress, rural and ecological tourism. Structure defining branches are wood processing and processing industry, electronics, construction works, food industry, commerce and services.
In social aspect municipality has well developed networks of educational, health and sports institutions.
The historical prerequisites and the tolerance of the local population formed the diverse character of the population of Veliko Turnovo Municipality. There are not any towns and villages on the territory of the municipality with concentration of the existing ethnic groups.
The analysis of the unemployment in accordance with the registration regime of Labour Bureau-Veliko Turnovo illustrates a tendency towards decrease of the unemployed, indicative is the level of the unemployment as to 31.12.2004-7,49% which is lower with comparison to the average of the country.The technical infrastructure is well developed in respect to electricity and water supply and communications. Well developed internal road infrastructure exists, where some of the roads are amortized and need rehabilitation and repairs.
Veliko Turnovo Municipality has relatively good parameters of the environment. There are ecologically clean territories, which provide excellent opportunities for ecological agriculture and production. On the territory of the municipality rich flora and fauna exists, there are interesting natural sights, among which mineral springs and protected places.
The rich cultural and historical heritage and the unique natural, historical and architectural entities constitute Veliko Turnovo as a remarkable historical, cultural and tourist center. Cultural monuments, combined in reserves-ensembles, complexes, grouped sites and single ones. According to the historic period to which they belong they are: pre-historic, antique, medieval; and belonging to the time of the National Revival and according to their scientific and cultural characteristics – archeological, historical, architectural and constructional, art and ethnographical. The unique audio-visual show “Tsarevgrad Turnov – Sound and Light” is the emblem of the city – a pageant, contributing to the emotional perception of time, when the city rightfully was ranked next to Rome and Constantinople.
General characteristics of the local economy
Following difficult period of development and adaptation in 90s the economy of the municipality makes progress. After 2000 positive tendencies in the economic development are registered. The municipality has a potential to be transformed into a model for sustainable and modern development in correspondence with the new challenges and requirements of the labour market, applying the already accumulated resource for development of “economy of knowledge” For achieving this objective long-term and purposeful efforts of all community are necessary.
The economy of Veliko Turnovo Municipality records diverse branch and relatively balanced territorial structure. It is characterized with prevailing share of commerce and services towards industrial and processing manufacture and agriculture. Their ratio at the end of 2004 is 6:3:1, as the share of commerce and services is continuing to go higher with small steps at the expense of industry and agriculture.
Structure defining branches of the local economy are wood industry and processing industry, electronics, construction works, food industry, trade and services. On the territory of the municipality private and corporative property are prevailing, while there is lasting tendency to increasing the share of the private sector at the expense of state and municipal sectors. This fact contributes to enhance the efforts of all structures for sector development of small and medium enterprises, stimulating the local entrepreneurship, sustaining the private sector by stimulating the awareness, skills, qualification of the working people in this sector.
The economy falls into three branches-industry, agriculture, services, as for the period 2000-2003 the relative share of each of these branches on the basis of gross output records growth of increase with 41,33% averagely. /agriculture-35%; industry-41%, services-48%/.
The flow of foreign investments in the municipality is insufficient-about 1% of total flow for the country. Positive tendency is their increase with nearly 2,5 times in 2001-2003, which is indicative for the increase of the attractiveness of he region for foreign investments, but still they are insufficient to achieve the necessary technological and infrastructural renovation with permanent economic consequences for the municipality.
Small and medium enterprises /SMEs/

As a result of the substantial change in the property of the enterprises-liquidation or splitting in 90s, as well as setting up new companies, total number of the business units, which functions in Veliko Turnovo municipality in 2003 is 4 123, 99% from them with prevailing non-governmental management.
During the last years the number of the newly registered companies is lower and merely one permanent level of active business units is maintained. The entrepreneurship activity in the municipality is about the average for the country, which can be approved with the density of the companies. The number of the certified enterprises is higher than most districts in Bulgaria, which is a prerequisite for maintaining and developing further the activity after the membership of Bulgaria to EU.
The main part of the enterprises in Veliko Turnovo Municipality in accordance with the employed people falls into SMEs category-99,1%. The greatest share is that of micro enterprises-90,9%. Small enterprises records greatest growth during the last years and the employed people there are 7.12%, while in the middle enterprises the employed people are a bit higher than 1%.
One of the most dynamically developing branches in the municipality following the national tendency is “Operations with immovable property”, where falls 7,3% of the active companies.
Sales net incomes come up to 947 063 thousand BGN. Private sector has main contribution. There is a tendency of increasing the share of sales net incomes in private sector for 4-years period-2000-2003.
Contrary to the aggregated branch group greatest share of these incomes is of “Trade and services” branch-57%, which includes wholesale and retail, following “Industry” branch-23%. Sales net incomes of the provided tourist services are increased-from 12 545 thousand BGN for the year 2000 to 15 297 thousand BGN for the year 2003.
There is growth of the unemployed in the basic areas of the economy on the territory of the municipality, as the greatest employment growth is in the agriculture-15%, following the services-14% employed and industry-8%. There is a tendency in increasing the number of employed people in the main sectors of economy on the territory of the municipality, with growth of 11,4%.

Business and market infrastructure

In Veliko Tarnovo municipality the following business structures branches are set up: Commerce chamber, Veliko Tarnovo Chamber of commerce and trade, Wine producers chamber, Union of private entrepreneurs “Vazrajdane” and others.
Veliko Tarnovo municipality follows the tendency of general validity for almost all the country of the increasing significance of commerce, as result of the inflow of huge foreign commercial chains. In small populated areas the problem with the market infrastructure is treated not as a necessity for enlargement, but mainly in the direction of European likeliness and enhancement of accessibility, services providing quality and sites aesthetization. Town retail markets and the shops network in the municipality is another element necessary in order to find market for consumer goods, while there is a tendency to modernize them towards improvement of the necessary equipment, eco laboratory, information and other services in compliance with the European practice.
The level of the provided business services is not satisfactory, although there is a growth during the last years. The employed in the business services at the municipality for 2003 are 62 per 10 000 citizens, with the figure of 183 per 10 000 for the country. This sector of the municipal economy has very huge resource for further development in respect to the rich potential of the municipality and the future membership of Bulgaria to EU. Evidence of this is the increased investment in times during the last years.
Development of the information and communication technologies
Comparatively good is the level of using information technologies, mainly Internet. The number of companies, providing and using its capacity is continuously increasing, while the network access is used mainly for market observation and data collection. In a view to partial researches Internet is used mostly for marketing monitoring, study and comparison with competitive companies, data acquisition for new tendencies in the branch.
Many enterprises have their own Internet pages, but only some of the company web-pages are interactive, most offer products advertisement, catalogues and price lists without feedback, small is the number of companies, which offer or use e-commerce. Basic indicators of the business units /non-financial sector/-commerce, services, tourism.

Commercial activity in Veliko Tarnovo Municipality is implemented by public catering sites, shops network for food and non-food goods, markets, services studios, offices.
The processes of restructuring and shifting towards market principles, leading to breaking the monopoly right of the public sector, are running most intensively in the area of commerce and services.
The distribution of commercial sites is uneven. Shops for food goods and small public houses exist mainly in small communities and in the quarters located in the surroundings of the towns
Tourism conditions and resources
Dynamic structural changes occur in the tourist sector, defined sometimes as “Tourist industry”. The basic share of tourism still continues to be the recreative and cognitive tourism, but with more complex and changing dynamically configuration of the requested tourism types and with great diversity of the related services with them.
Veliko Tarnovo municipality and the adjacent region have at their disposal very good potential for the all year development of diverse tourism forms-they can be defined by the existence of natural and anthropogenic recreation conditions and resources: favourable climate forms, unique relief, natural and historical sights, preserved folklore artistic crafts. The potential of the town is in the development of modern tourist industry, which offers cognitive, cultural, congress, rural and eco tourism. On the territory of the municipality is concentrated one of the biggest concentrations of cultural and historical monuments in the country. At the same time most of the rural regions have no other alternative for development but this type of tourism. The sustainable development of this type of tourism has the possibility to enliven the underdeveloped parts of the territory of the Municipality and to transform them into better place to live. During the last years the number of the tourists from Germany, France, England, Israel, Holland, USA, Scandinavian countries and Japan to Veliko Tarnovo increases. There were established many agencies, family hotels, guest houses and sports clubs, which provide services in this area. The estates purchase in the communities turns to be very popular for the citizens of Europe. Unfortunately, the successful development of tourism and its alternative forms is endangered seriously by the lack of subsidies, from the processes of restitution and other.
Municipality has remarkable tourist attractions, related to folklore, customs, traditional crafts /for example Samovodska market place/, as well as periodic and episodic events such as /fairs, holidays, congress events and others/. The business visits and meetings are not only source for huge incomes, but they are developing intensively in the big towns.
The hunting tourism in the region is traditionally well developed. The fields for hunting in the district are managed mainly by hunting and fish associations.
Veliko Tarnovo Municipality adopted a program for development of sustainable tourism in correspondence with the town priorities, as the town is awarded with a special distinction for sustainable development of EU for 1997. The municipality has at its disposal sufficient capacity for accommodation places and sheltering means, the total amounts to 45. The accommodation fund provides 5508 beds. Catering establishments-585, restaurants-79, snack bars-209 and cafes-68.
The natural resources as a whole can not be treated as unique and it their use the municipality faces serious competition from other municipalities and districts. This fact supposes combination of both main resources for the formation of integral product in order to be achieved uniqueness and competitiveness.
In the area of commerce, services and tourism the absolute number of units has been increased from 2 866 for 2000 to 3144 for 2003, the increase is with 1,096 times and respectively the sales net incomes are 1,709 times. Long term assets have variable growth, but the increase of the relative share of the area towards total long-term assets for municipality is from 45,20 for 2000 to 55,13% for 2003 or they are 9,93%. Increased is the number of occupied and employed people. These changes illustrate development of the activities in the area in one positive direction regulated, either from the increase of long-term assets and by the increase of units and of the employed people in these activities. The result is increase of the net incomes from sales with 266 155 thousand BGN in comparison to 2000 and 2003.
  Economic effect  

Income annualized from accommodation in Veliko Tarnovo Municipality in 2003 amount to 2,275 million BGN, which is 0,73% from night spending in Bulgaria. By using other data for other regions in Bulgaria, can be assumed that the total amount of the incomes from tourism is 2 to 2,5 times higher from the accommodation incomes /4-5 million BGN/, while if the non-included activity from statistics is assumed, it is possible these incomes to be times higher /9-10 million BGN/.
Data from Territorial statistical Bureau and National Statistical Institute confirms the evaluation for the amount of the total incomes from tourism. At the same time they assigned small share of tourism in the municipal econonomy-9,4% from the active companies, but only 1,2 % from sales incomes. Simultaneously with the small size of the companies, the sector is three times smaller from the average sales value per one employed and 2,5 lesser profit per one employed.

Urban areas    
The traditional connection between the town and the village is preserved. Well developed is the network of inhabited areas on the overall territory. The physical environment in the populated areas is amortized, public utilities and the engineer network are in poor condition. The production territories are underdeveloped and they are developed with old fashion and unattractive and amortized buildings, which can hardly be modernized and used. The residential complexes are still under construction and are not developed, the panel buildings do not meet the regular requirements for living comfort. The public buildings for culture, education, health care located in the villages and the non-completed construction of cultural sites are not in good condition. The public green places are insufficient, abandoned and they undergo the processes of aggression.
Environment state and ecological conditions.
The complex evaluation of the particular factors, reflecting on the quality of the environment illustrates that Veliko Tarnovo Municipality is characterized with good quality of the environment.
The air quality
Among the factors that cause air pollution on the territory of the municipality are the car transport, boiler installations of the industrial enterprises and consumer heating during the winter period.
At the moment the first stage of the gasification process of Veliko Tarnovo is towards completion, which will have remarkable effect in improving the air quality. Large companies –causing pollution by emitting harmful substances into the ambient air undergo reconstructions towards shifting to gas because up to the present moment they use conventional fuel as source of energy.
Monitoring on air condition in Veliko Tarnovo is implemented periodically by monitoring the following air pollutants: sulphur dioxide /SO2/, nitrogen dioxide /NO2/, ozone, H2S, lead aerosol, dust and dust-PM 10, as for the period 2001-2004 the following tendencies can be observed:
The average levels of sulphur dioxide keep permanent tendency towards decrease. The highest level is reached during the heating period and the basic reason for this is the work of the local steam –boiler installations and consumer heating. This pollutant is expected to have lower level after the gasification of the big towns.
The pollutions with nitrogen dioxide are relatively permanent and are in safe norm. During the period 2001-2004 sporadic exceeding over the limits are registered in towns as result of the outdated car park.
The average concentrations of H2S have temporary character due to industrial activities.
The tendency towards decrease of the yearly concentrations of lead aerosols on the territory of the whole region remains because the production and use of lead petrol has been stopped and control system over the quality of the used oils is introduced.
Dust particular matter /total suspended particular matter and dust PM10/ continues to be the most harmful pollutant on the territory of the municipality, as the tendency is towards keeping the traditional high level of pollution on the territory of Veliko Tarnovo. All probes shows exceeding over the average annual and average daily norm. The cause for the high levels of dust is that the street network is not cleaned regularly, as well as the wide use of solid fuel /wood and coal/. On the territory of Veliko Tarnovo Municipality two stationary units for air control exist.
-The impact of industry and agriculture is insignificant and it is with territorial local scope. Unfortunately there is a lack of local purging facilities in most industrial enterprises.
As a whole the territory of Veliko Tarnovo Municipality is with good ecological parameters, which can be characterized with favourable soil, micro-climate and sanitary conditions.
  Water quality
The condition of the surface and ground water of the municipality depends on the concentration of urbanistic units and industrial activities, as well as on the extent the sewage and purifying infrastructure are constructed.
Yantra river has important place in the national network for surface quality control. The quality composition of Yantra water and its tributaries is control by monthly monitoring from the National System for ecological monitoring.
The analysis of the accumulated data illustrates that the rivers in Yantra basin were with good oxygen regime and indicators responding to the regulations of water treatment plant.
The surface water in the observed locations were out of the normal indexes on the following indicators: nitric acid-the maximum is reached in the summer months, when the high temperatures quicken the processes of nitrification and denitrification: phosphates and insoluble substances, because of the direct flow into the water reservoirs of residual water from the populated areas.
The share of the water treatment plant for 2003 is scarcely 23.1% for the district. Corresponding to the EU regulations, there should be constructed new water treatment plants, which should comply with the European standards and requirements.
The final termination of water pollution of Yantra river from the non-purified grey water from Veliko Tarnovo will be dissolved when second urban water treatment plant will be constructed, for the rest of the populated areas- with the construction of local water treatment plants for grey water in correspondence with the EU agreement.
The public and the institutions should be more concerned with the problems of water pollution, because water is vital resource.
Waste management    
Waste is direct pollutant of air, water and soil, which can cause immediate risk to human health, therefore solving waste problems connected with waste management seems to be one of the serious ecological problems. On other hand waste is valuable energy and raw material source and waste minimization and reuse leads to natural resources preservation.
Waste management condition is under improvement by including great number of populated areas in the organized collection and transportation of consumer waste and overall equipment of the populated areas with waste containers. The consumer waste treatment from Veliko Tarnovo is granted to concession within 15-years term after completed competition. The main problem concerning the consumer waste of Veliko Tarnovo Municipality is Consumer waste depot in Sheremetiya village. The depot capacity is going to be exhausted very soon. The decision is Regional depot to be constructed, for this aim a regional association of 6 municipalities is registered. The alternative of this decision is the construction of contemporary plant for utilizing and processing the consumer waste.
Lands and Soils
• Soils  

The implemented analyses on the territory of Veliko Tarnovo municipality under the monitoring program of Ministry of Environment and Water for the period 2001-2004 do not report soils contamination with heavy metals and pesticides over the permissible concentration. There are not any agricultural lands, which to be permanently deteriorated, polluted and inappropriate for agricultural production.
The use of junk and pesticides is in the norms. Annually examination is made on the condition of the warehouses and stored unfit pesticides.
The most significant effect to reduce the harmful effect on people’s health and the soils contamination is the construction of Centralized municipal warehouse of forbidden, unfit, with expired term pesticides and other toxic substances.
To implement the tendency towards ecological environment improvement all opportunities for environment protection of EU funds, the enterprise for environment activities management, funds of republican budget as well as own funds of the municipal budget will be used.

    • Noise pollution

Noise as factor of the environment is getting to be topical question, because it can be harmful to man’s physical and mental state by its permanent and general presence. The unfavourable acoustic environment of Veliko Tarnovo in the vicinity of busy roads and highways is based on the increasing car traffic, inappropriate urban decisions with the lack of self-defence of the population, insufficient traffic capacity.
In Veliko Tarnovo Municipality the observed places for measuring the noise level are 30. The accumulated data illustrates that in most of the observed places the measured noise level exceeds the admissible sanitary norms of 55-60 decibel.

  Life standard
Differences concerning life conditions exist between the populated areas of Veliko Tarnovo municipality, regarding the specific character in their development. Leading is the role of the economic development, but important is significance of the social factors. Sustainable human development conception is in the human development index. Health, education and economic indicators for the development are stated. The equality of these indicators means that in spite of the incomes, important is the role of education and healthcare as correcting factors.
Human development index includes three components: the expected life expectancy, combined education index /literacy of the population, enrolling in the three educational grades/ and economic component.
Veliko Tarnovo Municipality is over the average in all indicators, close to the maximum grades. Regarding the combined educational index Veliko Turnovo Municipality has the highest educational index. /6th place in the country/, regarding the economic component-9 place. Veliko Tarnovo municipality is stated as very developed in accordance with the total index of human development.
Main conclusions:    
Incomes averagely per person of household for Veliko Tarnovo Municipality are higher in comparison with these for the country, while there is a tendency of increasing their nominal meaning.
The basic sources of incomes are salaries, pensions and the individual farms, while in the structures of the incomes the share of the incomes of salaries and individual farms increases.
Comparatively high percentage of the consumer expenses for meal and for maintaining the households
Concerning the demographic development of the municipality the population in the urban areas is in more favourable condition with the reproduction potential in comparison to the population in the rural areas
In the town of Veliko Tarnovo is concentrated approximately 76,5% of the population of urban territories of the municipality. The population of the town is with high labor potential and high educational level.
The educational level of the population of Veliko Tarnovo municipality is high and is with a tendency towards increasing the number and the share of highly educated persons. In Veliko Tarnovo municipality the share of the highly educated people is higher in comparison to the average level of the country.
As result of the economic growth and the effectiveness of the municipal policy on the employment in Veliko Tarnovo Municipality, the level of the unemployment in Veliko Tarnovo Municipality reached the lowest level from 5 years -7,49%. The reported rates are lower in respect to national level as to November 2004-11,74%. Dominant in the structure of the unemployment is the group of persons with special secondary education. Still high is the relative share of the unemployed youth with secondary education. The lack of competence and practical skills turned to be the main problem when employing them.
Basic factor for the permanent decrease of the unemployed people in Veliko Tarnovo Municipality is the municipal policy directed towards providing jobs, by participation in national programs and projects on micro and macro level. In terms of structural reform and the decreasing labor taking productions, effective passive and active measures are necessary in overcoming the unemployment, which to preserve the favourable tendency-decrease of the unemployed citizens of Veliko Tarnovo Municipality.
Veliko Tarnovo Municipality maintains optimized and well functioning network of schools of general education and professional schools in the following directions-tourism, economy, light industry, electronics, construction works.
In the area of high education, Veliko Tarnovo Municipality can be characterized by Veliko Tarnovo University “St. st. Cyril and Methodius”, which is the second biggest in Bulgaria and inherited the educational and cultural traditions of the prominent Tarnovo School of letters from 14 century. Veliko Tarnovo Municipality provides education in humanitarian and economic profiles, in 7 departments: philological, department of history and law, art, pedagogical, orthodox-theologian, department of economy and philosophical department. The number of students, which are educated in Veliko Tarnovo University is over 10 000 in more than 60 subjects. Annually on the occasion of the day of Bulgarian students, Veliko Tarnovo Municipality awards Academic award at the rate of 5 000 Euro to a student.
In Veliko Tarnovo is located the biggest and the oldest High Military School in Bulgaria-“Vassil Levsky” National military high school.

Important characteristic of the population is its educational level. The population with high educational level /high, college and secondary education/ for Veliko Tarnovo Municipality is 53,2% of the population at the age of 7 and older, which is over the average for the country /52,0%/. For the period between the last two censuses /1992-2001/ there is absolute and relative increase of the population with high, high special /college graduates/ and secondary education. More than half of the people with high education are in Veliko Tarnovo.
Implementing the cultural policy of the municipality, the most important events with international, national, regional and local significance can be emphasized:
1. International folklore festival
2. International eco festival
3. International festival « Balkan folk »
4. International seminar in painting “Veliko Tarnovo”, “Miniature graphic” and “Wood plastics”
5. National exhibition of the pedagogues-artists
6. National bread fair
7. National commemoration of the Independence day
8. Municipal festivities of amateur art works and other
Non-government organisations  

The basic trend in the work of the local authorities is synchronising the work of the NGOs on local, regional and national level and stimulating common initiatives for sustainable partnerships for the benefit of local communities for developing working mechanisms for civil participation in the processes of decision taking and achieving more effectiveness of the local authorities and the development of the region. On the territory of the municipality about 62 NGOs are working actively with different scope of work and missions, although they differ in their activity they contribute directly or indirectly to local community.

For the period 2000-2004 Veliko Tarnovo Municipality in partnership with NGOs implemented projects at the total amount of over three millions in different spheres of public life-health care, education, social activities, local government, culture and tourism.

International relations and town-twinning
For the period of more than thirty years the Municipality signed contracts and memoranda for partnership and understanding with cities and municipalities from all the continents in the world except Australia. Its sister cities are Toledo-Spain, Krakow-Poland, Asti-Italy, Poltava-Ukraine, Shopron-Hungary; Tver-Russia,Serres-Greece,Nish-Serbia and Montenegro,Golden-Colorado – USA, Colognia Tovar-Venezuela, MenaraGeliz-Marakesh-Morroco.

For contacts:    
Municipality Veliko Tarnovo  
2, sq Maika Bulgaria    
BG-5000 Veliko Tarnovo    
Phone: +359 62 61 93 04    
Fax: + 359 62 62 79 97