Smart Villages support in Bulgaria
The SR21 Country Page
information on Smart Villages in Bulgaria
How is the concept of Smart Villages defined?
No formal definition of Smart Villages in Bulgaria.
Is digital a key feature of Smart Villages?
No specific features of the ‘Smart Village’ concept have been identified, because it is yet to be defined. However, many see digital innovation as the main – yet not the only – tool for Smart Villages.
Is social innovation a key feature of Smart Villages?
No specific features of the ‘Smart Village’ concept have been identified, because it is yet to be defined.
How is the CAP supporting Smart Villages?
Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Stefan Spasov, Head of CLLD Department
No specific Smart Villages interventions identified.
No specific plans for Smart Village interventions have been identified.
Bulgarian Network Support Unit of the NRN
Tanya Georgieva, Key Expert
CAP Network support
Some network activities on Smart Villages.
Information provision & communication
The NSU follows Smart Villages developments and shares relevant information. Among others, it translated and published several materials related to the Smart Villages topic on the NRN’s website.
How are other policies supporting Smart Villages?
No other policies supporting Smart Villages have been identified at this stage.
Please find further information about Smart Villages support in Bulgaria on the Smart Rural 21 project’s Bulgaria country page
Smart Rural 27 – Smart Villages Taskforce
Information will follow soon
Smart Villages in Bulgaria
Sytovo is a sparsely populated, essentially seasonal, and relatively isolated mountain village located in the Natura 2000 zone in the Rhodopes Mountains. The village has existed since the Thracian era and several archaeological sites are close by. It is an ensemble architectural monument of traditional Rhodope house buildings with “dry stonework” and roofs covered with stone slabs.
In 2019, the local community set up a civic association and reestablish the “chitalishte”, a traditional Bulgarian community culture centre providing opportunities for socialization, education, and local self-government. The efforts of these two civil society organisations, mainly on the bonding and self-organising of the community, improve the village connectivity (transport and digital ones) basis on asphalting of the road connecting the village with the nearest town and delivery of broadband internet connection to it. This leads to a halt of its depopulation – the registered villagers have increased from 11 to 61 in the last ten years (in the summer, the temporary inhabitants of the village are about 500 people).
The lack of local industry and improved digital connectivity, which allows teleworking and distance education, have made the place appealing to young families who want to raise their children in a healthy ecological environment, providing access to the mountain air, water, and food.
The village has a concept for its development with a vision of preserving its appearance as an architectural reserve and turning it into a place for crafts, local traditional food productions and a creative hub for gathering artists and researchers. The primary approach is the revitalisation of the village and improving its living environment by attracting a population of active age, which fosters economic activities related to tourist and education services and food production all year round.
Smilyan is a relatively large Bulgarian village nestled in a lively valley along the upper stream of the Arda river in the Rhodope Mountains. Located at the entrance of a tourist area – the Arda River Upper Stream region, 15 km from the regional center – the town of Smolyan and just 20 km from the border with Greece. The village has a well-developed social infrastructure and operates a visitor information center – providing information and guidance about numerous sites: caves, historical, archaeological, and cultural sightseeing. As a grass-roots approach initiated by the Mayor of Smilyan in 2001, an initiative group of local stakeholders agreed on a long-term concept for future development to prevent an economic decline and depopulation of the area. Its flagship initiative is territorial marketing promotion started in 2003 with the first edition of the Smilyan Beans Festival. Smilyan beans are specific varieties of delicious beans grown only in this area. Six of them are with the protected name “Smilyan Beans” and registered geographical designation since 2007. The Smilyan Beans Festival – an event involving producers, hotel and restaurant owners, cultural operators, local micro-crediting cooperative, associations of beans and dairy producers and the whole community. Since its first edition, Festival visitors in the last five years have reached about 6 000 visitors annually, triple the number of the village population Smilyan Beans is the first Bulgarian Slow Food Presidia, set up in 2005. Since 2005 the Cultural Community Center ventured to become a focal point addressing the needs and initiatives of different community groups and delivering services tailored to their demand – information and training to producers, social support campaigns for vulnerable community members, regular meetings of local stakeholders in tourism services and training to improve the effectiveness of their marketing, awareness-raising on public health issues raised by parents groups, non-formal environmental education to youths and adults.Read more
The village Cherni Osam is surrounded by hills and mountains. On the northern side of the village, the main road ends and there are only small paths leading to the different hills, peaks and huts. Not so far away you can also find also the “Central Balkan” National Park. In the village there is a restaurant, some shops and the Natural Science Museum. Apart from that the houses and gardens of the 1050 inhabitants form the little village adapted to the flow of the river. In the south you can follow the road to the next villages, which Cherni Osam is for now highly dependend on concerning healthcare, shops and other public institutions. The plan is to have more autonomy and improve the public services through the smart transformation.Read more
Kurtovo Konare is a relatively large and lively Bulgarian village. It is located between two rivers in a very fertile part of southern Bulgaria, 20 km from the second largest city of Plovdiv and 10 km from the Rhodope Mountains. It is located in Stamboliyski municipality – one of the most densely populated municipalities in Bulgaria. The village has a well-developed social infrastructure: City Hall, Chitalishte, school, kindergarten, health service, post office, church, stadium. In the land of the village is a former royal palace. The whole mansion is located on an area of 2 thousand acres, over 1400 of them are riparian forest, about 300 acres are a decorative park with unique and rare species of vegetation. From the middle of 2020 the palace and the park to it were open for visits by tourists. Kurtovo Konare is famous for its agriculture and its contribution to the economic history of Bulgaria. The first early tomatoes in the country, the first peanuts were grown here, the first Bulgarian red pepper factory was opened. There are varieties of apple, peach and pepper, which bear the name of the village, but are almost extinct. In the last 10 years, several local varieties – pink tomato, bean, apple “Kurtovka” and pepper “Kurtovska Kapiya” have been listed in the World Ark of Taste of the Slow Food organization. We are also one of the six Bulgarian Slow Food Presidia. Since 2009, the annual three-day festival ‘Kurtovo Konare Fest / Festival of peppers, tomatoes, traditional foods and crafts’ is held, which is already known throughout the country, but also attracts guests from abroad. The village is known as the “Mecca” of lyutenitsa – a popular mash of peppers and tomatoes in Bulgaria.Read more
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