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Vratza - City and District Information - Invest Bulgaria
Vratza - City and District Information
Vratza - City and District Information - Invest Bulgaria

Vratza Basic Data

City Population: 68,995
District Population: 215,734
Area size: 3,619.7 square km.
Places of interest: Borovan, Byala Slatina, Kozloduy, Krivodol, Mezdra, Mizia, Oriahovo, Roman, Hairedin

Vratza General Information
Vratza district is located in north-west Bulgaria, the city itself is in foothills of Vrachanski Balkan, only 115 km from the capital – Sofia. Vratza is bordered by four other districts – Pleven, Lovech, Monatana and Sofia. The north frontier of the region is Danube River, which creates natural conditions for direct connection with Romania. The region is a crossroad for two European transport corridors - №4 (connection with Western Europe), and №7 (Danube river).

The population of Vratza’s district is 215,734 people (105,900 men and 109,834 women). The urban population accounts for 122,000, while the rural population is 93,734 people. The density changes from moderately high -125 people per square km in the city, to low density of only 20 people per square km. in the villages. These numbers are from the lowest numbers for the country, which makes Vratza region a thinly populated area. The Roma population of 8.5 % is a little higher compared to the other districts, provided that 4.5% is the total Roma population of Bulgaria. In terms of the age of the population, the common tendency for the country is that the portion of people 65 years old or more is growing up, while the portion of children 15 years old or less is going down – a proof of the fact that the nation is getting old.

The climate in the district is temperate-continental. Temperatures are averaging -2 to -1.8 C in January and 22-23 C in July. Over 75 % of the territory of the district is situated 150-300 m above sea level. 1.9 % of the whole territory of the region is covered by water area. The biggest water resources passing through the region is Danube River and Iskur River. There are also more than 15 small rives, 4 artificial lakes, 38 small dams and a couple of mineral water springs. All these water resources are equipped with 62 hydro-technical installations. The district has enough water resources which an excellent pre-condition for development of the plant-growing.

Vratza dates back from ancient times. The biggest Thracian treasure found in Bulgaria was found in 1986 near Rogozen village. It dates back from V-IV century BC and includes 165 silver and golden items - utensils, containers and crafts. There are also remains of Thracian fortress in the region. Vratza is a member of the 100 national tourist sites of Bulgaria. Ledenika Cave is one of the most popular tourist destinations. Another protected site is the highest waterfall in Bulgaria – Skaklya, 141 m. All these historical and geographical conditions give the region high potential to become a popular tourist destination. The archeological finds together with the monasteries (Cherepishki Monastery) and the churches create premises for cultural tourism.

Vratza Economy
The region has contributed 3 % of the GDP of the country in 2003, a rise of 50% compared to the year 2000. In 2003 the industrial enterprises are 513 (most of them are sole proprietors), only 12 of which are with more than 250 employees.The unemployment rate is one of the highest for the country – 25.5%. This comes as a result of the migration of the active population and the still functioning grey sector.

The climate is suitable for cultivating fodder, wheat, barley, potatoes, oats, beans, tobacco, vegetables, sunflower, lucerne, soy-beans. 77.8 % of the land in the district is agricultural. The arable land per person in Vratza is 4.2 decares (1 decare = 1000 mІ). A disadvantage is the growing percent of deserted lands – this is a result of the decrease in the population of Bulgaria as a whole, the advancement of age of the nation and the growing urbanization. The tendencies over the last couple of year show a decrease in the areas sown with barley and corn due to the increase in the growing of sunflower. Vegetable-growing is not so widely used in the region; nevertheless, progress has been shown, registering slightly higher yields of tomatoes, cucumbers and onion in the recent years.

The region is proving itself to be extremely favorable for stock-breeding because it is, to a bigger extend, a mountain region with lots of lawns and streams. Forest areas in the region are 56,230 ha. Traditional extractive raw materials in the region are carbonate rocks used for production of cement and lime, brick and clay.

Industries of interest:
1. Food and tobacco processing industries – production of canned vegetables, whole fruit and low jams (Byala Slatina); beer, malt and bio-products (Mezdra); bread and flour products; milk and milk products (cheese, butter, yellow cheese, etc.); plants and herbs growing.
2. Textile industry – production of silk, yarn and cotton, production of sewing, crude and ready fabrics, uniforms and all kinds of clothes – suits, coats, shirts, shoes, accessories, etc. (Vratza); linens (Mezdra)
3. Iron processing and machinery industry – metal products, metal-cutting equipment, metal constructions, spare metal parts for textile and chemical industries, special units and pieces, diesel engines and pumps, spare parts for farming equipment
4. Power production – it used to be Vratza’s biggest sector in reference to the GDP of the region due to the Bulgaria’s only Nuclear Power Plant in Kolzoduy. The NPP used to have 6 pressurized water reactors, 4 of which are taken-off now – 1 & 2 at the end of 2003 and 4 & 5 prior to the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union. Kozloduy NPP is of greatest importance not only to the district but the whole country as well; it allowed Bulgaria to produce and export energy. The shutdown of the 4 reactors will have long-term negative effect for the region in terms of unemployment; it will automatically lead to disbalance in the labor market. Many small enterprises directly connected to the NPP will be left out of work. At the moment Vratza has no alternative industry to compensate the loss of income, which may lead to migration to other districts due to the structural unemployment.
5. Chemical Industry – supply of technical gases in the world, cement, agricultural chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides and anti-corrosion coatings; ceramic products, cement and lime.
6. Tourism – high potential for development.

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