Provinces of Bulgaria

The provinces of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: области на България, romanized: oblasti na Bǎlgarija) are the first level administrative subdivisions of the country.

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Provinces of Bulgaria
Oбласти на България  (Bulgarian)
CategoryUnitary State
LocationRepublic of Bulgaria
Number28 (as of 1999)
Populations101,018 (Vidin) – 1,291,591 (Sofia City)
Areas1,348.90 km2 (520.81 sq mi) (Sofia City)– 7,748.07 km2 (2,991.55 sq mi) (Burgas)
GovernmentProvince government, National government

Since 1999, Bulgaria has been divided into 28 provinces (Bulgarian: областиoblasti; singular: област – oblast; also translated as "regions") which correspond approximately to the 28 districts (in Bulgarian: окръг – okrags, plural: окръзи – okrǎzi), that existed before 1987.

The provinces are further subdivided into 265 municipalities (singular: община – obshtina, plural: общини – obshtini).

Sofia – the capital city of Bulgaria and the largest settlement in the country, is the administrative centre of both Sofia Province and Sofia City Province (Sofia-grad). The capital is included (together with 3 other cities plus 34 villages) in Sofia Capital Municipality (over 90% of whose population lives in Sofia), which is the sole municipality comprising Sofia City province.


The provinces do not have official names – legally (in the President's decree on their constitution), they are not named but only described as "oblast with administrative centre [Noun]" - together with a list of the constituting municipalities. In Bulgaria they are usually called "[Adjective] Oblast"; occasionally they are referred to as "Oblast [Noun]" and rarely as "oblast with administrative centre [Noun]".

The Bulgarian term "област" (oblast) is preferably translated into English as "province", in order to avoid disambiguation and distinguish from the former unit called "окръг" (okrag, translated as "district") and the term "регион" (always translated as "region"). At any rate, "district" and "region" are sometimes still used to name these contemporary 28 units.

  • "region": "28 regions (en) / région (fr) / oblast (bg)" – in ISO 3166-2 Newsletter II-3 (2011-12-13, corrected 2011-12-15)
  • "district": "The territory of the South Central Region encompasses five districts – Pazardzhik, Plovdiv, Smolyan, Haskovo, and Kyrdzhali." – in a website of the European Commission.[1]


Province Population (Census 2001)[2][3] Population (Census 2011)[2][3] Population growth (2001/2011)[2] Land area (km²) Population density (/km²) Municipalities Planning
Blagoevgrad512,118581,854+13.6%6,449.4790.2214South Western
Burgas423,547415,817-1.8%7,748.0754.5813South Eastern
Dobrich215,217189,677-11.9%4,719.7140.368North Eastern
Gabrovo144,125122,702-14.9%2,023.0159.774North Central
Haskovo277,478246,238-11.3%5,533.2961.0611South Central
Kardzhali164,019152,808-6.8%3,209.1137.907South Central
Kyustendil162,534136,686-15.9%3,051.5245.169South Western
Lovech169,951141,422-16.8%4,128.7634.218North Western
Montana182,258148,098-18.7%3,635.3841.2011North Western
Pazardzhik310,723275,548-11.3%4,456.9262.7212South Central
Pernik149,832133,530-10.9%2,394.2256.186South Western
Pleven311,985269,752-13.5%4,653.3263.9811North Western
Plovdiv715,816683,027-4.6%5,972.89114.3518South Central
Razgrad152,417125,190-17.9%2,639.7447.287North Central
Ruse266,157235,252-11.6%2,803.3689.938North Central
Shumen204,378180,528-11.7%3,389.6853.6510North Eastern
Silistra142,000119,474-15.9%2,846.2941.747North Central
Sliven218,474197,473-9.6%3,544.0754.164South Eastern
Smolyan140,066121,752-13.1%3,192.8534.4710South Central
Sofia City1,170,8421,291,591+10.3%1,348.90957.441South Western
Sofia (province)273,240247,489-9.4%7,062.3334.0122South Western
Stara Zagora370,615333,265-10.1%5,151.1267.2011South Eastern
Targovishte137,689120,818-12.3%2,558.5344.175North Eastern
Varna462,013475,074+2.8%3,819.47124.4012North Eastern
Veliko Tarnovo293,172258,494-11.8%4,661.5755.1910North Central
Vidin130,074101,018-22.3%3,032.8832.8911North Western
Vratsa243,036186,848-23.1%3,619.7745.5910North Western
Yambol156,070131,447-15.8%3,355.4831.235South Eastern


In 1987, the then-existing 28 districts were transformed into 9 large units (in Bulgarian called oblasts - provinces), which survived until 1999.[4]

The 9 large provinces are listed below, along with the pre-1987 districts (post-1999 small provinces) comprising them.

Comprising former districts (future provinces)
BurgasBurgas, Sliven, Yambol
HaskovoHaskovo, Kardzhali, Stara Zagora
LovechGabrovo, Lovech, Pleven, Veliko Tarnovo
MontanaMontana, Vidin, Vratsa
PlovdivPazardzhik, Plovdiv, Smolyan
RazgradRazgrad, Ruse, Silistra, Targovishte
SofiaSofia City
SofiaBlagoevgrad, Kyustendil, Pernik, Sofia
VarnaDobrich, Shumen, Varna

On 1 January 1999, the old districts were restored, but the designation ("oblast") "province" was kept.

See also


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-13. Retrieved 2014-10-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. "2011 Population Census - main result" (PDF). Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  3. "Представяме Ви резултатите от Преброяване 2011 за страната, по области и общини :". Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  4. "Bulgaria - GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE". Retrieved 15 October 2017.
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