Pazardzhik region is located in the central part of Southern Bulgaria. It covers 4% of the total territory of the country. More than half of this territory (57.1%) is forest fund, 35.9% is agricultural fund, 3.3% is urbanized territory, 2.6% – rivers and water areas, 0.6% – road infrastructure and 0.4% – quarries and mines. The population is over 270 thousand people, the cities are 13, the villages – 104. Out of a total of 32 settlements in the municipality, 14 are located directly and near the three major rivers – Maritsa, Topolnitsa and Luda Yana. Batak, Panagyurishte, Belovo, Peshtera, Velingrad are among the largest municipalities in the district.
Part of the Eurasian transport corridor connecting Western Europe with the Middle East and Central Asia passes through the district via the Trakia highway, as a section of the European road E-80. The main railway line is the international line CE-70, connecting Central Europe with Asia, part of the Orient Express route.
The nature is diverse, in the area are some of the most beautiful places in Bulgaria – Rila, Rhodopes, Sredna Gora, Thracian lowlands. The relief of the district is flat (Pazardzhik-Plovdiv field, representing the western part of the Upper Thracian lowland) and mountainous (parts of Ihtiman and Sashtinska Sredna Gora, Western Rhodopes and Rila). The climate is transitional-continental in the plains, and mountainous in the eastern slopes of Rila and the high parts of the Rhodopes.
Education & Child Care
There are 221 schools in Pazardzhik district, including a language and mathematics high school in the district center. There are 87 all-day kindergartens in the district. The network of vocational schools specializing in forestry and woodworking, economics and tourism, economics and management, mechanical and electrical engineering, construction and architecture, agriculture, industrial technologies, clothing, chemical and food technologies is widely developed. information technologies, transport, mechanization of agriculture. In the town of Pazardzhik there is a Training and Research Center at the Higher School of Agribusiness and Regional Development – Plovdiv, specializing in educational, scientific, applied, consulting, artistic, sports activities. The center in Pazardzhik provides training in bachelor’s and master’s programs.
In 2021 in Pazardzhik was opened a Center for Practical Training at the Medical University – Plovdiv. The first class of students in the specialty “Nurse” with a bachelor’s degree has been enrolled and is already undergoing training. The nurses will use the base of the former Teachers’ Institute in Pazardzhik, which already has training rooms and a lecture hall.
Pazardzhik district has one of the best health care systems in the country. Primary outpatient medical care in the district is provided by 620 medical institutions (all practices) and 47 for specialized outpatient medical care. The medical establishments for hospital care in Pazardzhik district are Specialized Hospital for active treatment of pneumo-phthisiological diseases Dr. Nikola Penchev – Pazardzhik and 9 MHATs. The hospital directly serves the population of the municipalities – Pazardzhik, Septemvri, Belovo, Lesichevo. He also provides consulting and methodological assistance to the existing Municipal Hospitals in Panagyurishte, Peshtera and Velingrad.
Industry & Jobs
Agriculture and animal husbandry, industry and tourism form the economic profile of Pazardzhik region.
The arable lands have an area of over 1 million decares. Different types of crops from the following groups are grown: cereals (wheat, barley, rye, corn, rice, oats), oilseeds (sunflower, rapeseed), technical (tobacco), vegetables and fruits, incl. greenhouses (peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons, melons, etc.), tubers (potatoes), vines (dessert and wine), fruit, incl. seed, stone, berry, nuts (apples, pears, quinces, cherries, sour cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, raspberries, strawberries, walnuts), essential oils (oil rose, lavender), fodder (corn, peas), medicinal and aromatic (hops and others). High mountain animal husbandry is well represented.
The highest share of enterprises is in the sector “Trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles “- 39.21%. In second place is the sector “Agriculture, forestry and fisheries” with 10.57%, followed by “Manufacturing” – 8.56% and the sector “Professional activities and research” – 7.59%
Among the leading enterprises in the district are
- DS Smith AD, Pazardzhik, one of the largest packaging paper companies on the Balkan Peninsula. The company is the newest and most modern enterprise with a European look in the District. Its production is independent of the main raw materials and has a completely closed cycle – from waste paper it produces paper for corrugated cardboard and its packaging.
- Mill Plant “Melor” AD – Pazardzhik. It produces rice and has a flour mill. This industry is highly developed due to the availability of sufficient quantity and quality of raw materials.
- Rubber Company, Pazardzhik, the only one in Bulgaria for the production of conveyor belts, bicycle and motorcycle tires. It has modern Finnish equipment. The products are mainly for export to Italy and the countries of the Arabian Peninsula.
- ZMM Metallic AD, Pazardzhik, a large plant specializing in the production of lathes, mainly for export. Production is reoriented towards the creation of smaller and lighter lathes, which are exported mainly to Japan.
- RAIS is the leading company in the Balkans and Europe for the production of CNC machines, tools and equipment for various sectors of industry.
- Battery plant “Elhim-Iskra” Pazardzhik.
- Belovo Paper Plant AD – one of the established producers of soft paper on the market.
- “Biovet” JSC – Cave with subject of activity: production and sale of products for veterinary practice and agriculture, mainly antibiotics and stimulants for prevention and treatment of farm animals.
- Assarel Medet AD – Panagyurishte – a major producer of copper and pyrite concentrates in Bulgaria is one of the largest in Europe.
- Optikoelectron EAD – Panagyurishte – Development and production activities in the field of opto-mechanical and optoelectronic instrumentation, tools and services for the population.
- Optics AD – production of optics and optical devices.
The gross domestic product per capita in 2020 is BGN 10,995 (5,621 Eu). For comparison – in the country it is 8 844Eu. Unemployment in the district is 5.0%, slightly higher than the national average.
Among the most sought-after professions with higher education are accountant, civil engineer, credit specialist, master pharmacist, nurse, mechanical engineer. The sought-after specialists with secondary education are a painter, a cook, a motor vehicle diagnostician, a carpenter, an electrician, a car mechanic, a welder, a foundryman, an installer.
Cultural & Historical Heritage
Tourism is diverse in the Pazardzhik region. Snow retention in the Rhodopes is over 6 months a year, which creates real conditions for ski tourism. The town of Velingrad is titled as the spa capital of Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula. Balneotherapy tourism is strongly represented in the district, here are some of the most popular in Bulgaria springs of healing mineral water – in the region of Velingrad, Bratsigovo, Belovo, Panagyurishte and Strelcha.
Cultural tourism is developed on the basis of the rich historical and ethnographic heritage. Among the favorite places of tourists are the park island in Pazardzhik, the historic complex in Batak, Snezhanka cave near Peshtera, Tsepina fortress near Dorkovo, the rock church and basilica in Golyamo Belovo, Fotino waterfalls near Fotinovo.
The current average price of rents for housing – BGN 200-300 per month.