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National Register of Populated Places (NRPP) is developed according to the Law on Administrative-territorial Structure of Republic of Bulgaria (LATSRB), article 37, paragraph 2.
The register contains data on populated places, on their administrative-territorial belonging and inclusion in different territorial groupings and formations at each moment of the period, covered by the register. In order to reflect accurately all changes in the country administrative-territorial structure, the register includes also the territorial and administrative-territorial units existing during the different periods before and after enforcement of the Law on Administrative-territorial Structure of Republic of Bulgaria.
Data entered in the register about the populated places and their territorial belonging are in accordance to the legislation on administrative-territorial structure during the respective period.
Register main goal is to ensure unique identification of the territorial and administrative-territorial units, entered in the register, as well as to present information to state administration, organizations and citizens about all changes that took place in the country' administrative-territorial structure. The last updated condition of territorial and administrative-territorial units and connections between units are automatically reflected in the Unified Classification of Administrative-Territorial and Territorial Units (UCATTU).
Identification codes of the register units and relations (connections) between them, according to other national and international registers and classifications and in accordance to the requirements of legal regulation or administrative acts and European Union regulations are also entered in the NRPP. National Register of Populated Places ensures also maintenance of NUTS.BG - Bulgarian part of Eurostat Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics, maintained according to the Regulation 1059/2003 (adopted by the European Parliament and EU on 26.05.2003) and the Regulation 176/2008 (adopted by the European Parliament and EU on 20.02.2008).
In order units, covered by the register, to be identified, identification codes of NRPP should be used in all national information systems and have to be pointed in all documents.
Data about the following types of units are entered in the National Register of Populated Places:
  • populated places
  • municipalities
  • districts
  • districts and other administrative-territorial units existing during the period covered by the register
  • planning regions according to Law for the regional development (prom. SG. 14/20.02.2004)
  • regions I-st and II-nd level according to Law for the regional development (prom. SG. 50/30.05.2008)
  • state
  • mayoralties
  • districts of Sofia (capital) municipality, districts of Varna and Plovdiv towns;
  • settlement formations
  • other territorial formations, located at the territory of one or more populated places and created based on any kind of functional principle (for example: zones of pollution, agglomeration and others).
So called "full name" of the units is maintained in the register, which includes the unit type, name and administrative-territorial belonging.
  • Data on creation, closure and changes, connected to the unit:
    • type of change (event);
    • data about the document on which basis the change is done;
    • date of the enforcement of change;
    • connection to other units in cases of merging, annexation, separation, division;
  • Administrative-territorial belonging;
  • Other identification codes:
    • NUTS code;
    • Composite administrative-territorial index (CATI);
    • Code according to the Unified Classification of Populated Places;
    • Code according to the BULSTAT.
  • Characteristics in accordance to the legislation in force during the respective period:
    • functional type;
    • category;
    • other characteristics.
  • Type of populated place - town, village, hamlet etc.
  • Populated place average altitude ;
  • Populated place area - in dka;
  • Population - based on census data and at the end of year, according to the current demographic statistics.
Also the following data is entered for settlement formations:
  • type of settlement formation - of national or local importance;
  • list of units, which are fully or partially included in the settlement formation.

Abbreviation Meaning
NRPP National Register of Populated Places
TU Territorial units
ATS Administrative-territorial structure
ATU Administrative-territorial Unit
U Composite Administrative-territorial Unit
NSI National Statistical Institute
SG State gazette
UCATTU Unified Classification of Administrative-Territorial and Territorial Units
UCPP Unified Classification of Populated Places
NUTS Classification of territorial units for statistics
CATI Composite Administrative-territorial index
dist district
amend. amendment
suppl. supplement

All populated places, for which no official document is found for their creation (recognition as populated places), are entered with an event for creation "observed for the first time" and document "Office document for creation of the populated places" issued on 03.03.1878, i.e. it is accepted that these populated places are at the country territory since the Liberation.
Municipalities, for which at present no official document for their creation is entered or found, are entered with an event "creation with new administrative-territorial structure" and document "Decree 794/24.09.1949 of the Presidium of the National Assembly (in force from 28.09.1949)".
Administrative-territorial hierarchies, existing prior to 1949, are not described and defined in the register at present.
Closures of mayoralties, based on "Law on changes of Law for local self-government and local administration", 34 (issued SG N 69/03.08.1999) and creation of mayoralties on the grounds of "Law on changes of Law on administrative-territorial structure of Republic of Bulgaria", 2 (issued SG N67/2003 and modified SG N 80/2003), for which no decisions of municipality council is existing or decisions are not issued, are reflected into the register.
Data on functional type of the existing at 08.06.1979 populated places are entered with an event "change of characteristic" under the document "Decision N 35 of Council of Ministers".
Data about populated places and municipalities category is entered with event "change of characteristic" under the document "Order RD-02-14-256/31.05.2004 of Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works". There is not yet entered data on categories for quarters of Capital municipality, quarters of Varna and Plovdiv and of mayoralties, because those are not categorized at present.
Data on populated places' area at 31.12.2000 are entered with event "change of characteristic" under the document "Letter 4813 of the Cadastral agency". There is no data entered prior to 31.12.200.
Data about documents, for which no entries of changes will be done, are also entered in the register, for example:
- acts, regulating order for introducing administrative-territorial changes, appearance of new or dropping off some units characteristics;
- Council of Ministers decisions for creation/restoration of populated places (creation/restoration is introduced on the grounds of President of the Republic of Bulgaria Decree, concerning populated places names);
- Council of Ministers decisions on administrative-territorial changes of districts or municipalities boundaries (these changes are introduced based on the respective President of the Republic of Bulgaria Decree, concerning confirmation of the administrative-territorial change).
Units, entered in the register are identified at a certain date by unique identification code. Administrative-territorial units code is unique for a certain period only.
Identification code of populated places and administrative-territorial units within the period 1970-1995 coincide with codes of those units, used in Unified Classification of Populated Places (UCPP). Identification code of populated places and administrative-territorial units after 1995 coincide with the code, according to the Unified Classification of Administrative-Territorial and Territorial Units (UCATTU). Administrative-territorial units, which do not exist before 1970 (not included in UCPP and UCATTU, hundreds and okolyia for example) are identified in the NRPP by new identification codes and the principle of code hierarchical structure, depending on country administrative-territorial structure at respective date, is preserved. Populated places, erased before 1970, for which till the moment no identification codes are assigned are given in NRPP new 5-digit identification codes.
Populated places identification code is 5-digit and unique for each populated place. The code is not changed us long us the populated place exists and is not used for identification of another populated place, even in case of its eventual closure. It means that codes of closed populated places cannot coincide with codes of existing populated places.
Identification code of the territorial formations is 5-digit and within the diapason 94000 - 99999. The code is unique and does not coincide with the identification code of any populated place.
The fifth digit of the identification codes of populated places and territorial formations is a control one, calculated as follows:
The sum is calculated:
  where 1is the first code digit, a2 - the second etc.
- Residual is calculated by module 11 for the sum
- If the residual is different from 10, it is defined as fifth digit
- If the residual is 10, the following sum is calculated
   where 1 is the first code digit, 2 - the second etc.
- Residual is calculated by module 11 for the new sum
- If the residual is different from 10, it is defined as fifth digit; if it is 10 - "0" is defined as a fifth digit.
Identification codes of administrative-territorial and composite administrative-territorial units are unique at each given moment. Identification code structure depends on country administrative-territorial structure at the respective period and reflects hierarchical connections between units (for example: municipality code shows the district, the municipality is included in; mayoralty code shows the municipality, the mayoralty is included).
Identification codes structure of the existing at present ATU and CATU (districts; municipalities; mayoralties; quarters of Sofia-city, Varna and Plovdiv municipalities) is defined exhaustively in Council of Ministers Decision N 565/1999.
Units' administrative-territorial belonging and inclusion into composition of different types of units is reflected within the frame of "hierarchies" defined in the register. Hierarchy describes connections between certain types of existing at given moment units and presents information about country administrative-territorial structure (ATS). For example, hierarchy "ATU_1987" presents information on division of Bulgaria by districts and municipalities; "Mayoralties" presents information on country division by districts, municipalities and mayoralties.
Hierarchy, reflecting country administrative-territorial structure (ATU) at a certain date is considered as basic. Additional hierarchies are defined in NRPP, describing another hierarchical connections between units - for example, hierarchy "QUARTERS_SOFIA" describes division of Sofia-city municipality by quarters; hierarchy "REGION_PLANNING" describes country division by planning regions, districts and municipalities.
Populated places are included in all hierarchies.
Just after the Liberation, Russia takes the responsibility to arrange and organize the country territorial structure and this task is entrusted former mayor of Moscow, prince V.N.Cherkazky. He studied in details Turkish administrative division and pointed that "a lot of Turkish laws and especially that on vilaet (districts) are quite satisfying in respect their form and content and in some parts even have undoubted qualities".
Based on the confirmed by the Commander-in-chief of Russian army "Instruction for arrangement of initial military police station in Bulgaria" issued on 03.06.1877, the Turkish administrative division - sandjak,(small province), kaaza, mahia and municipality - is maintained. Prince V.N.Cherkazky does not accept establishment of vilaet (district), which in his opinion is no of importance for the relatively small territory of the country. Afterwards, the instruction became "Project for civil government of the sandjak and districts", issued on 07.07.1877, containing more details.
After the Berlin treaty, signed on 13.07.1878, the European political map changed considerably. Principality Bulgaria boundaries (63 thousand sq. km) are defined in article 2 of the treaty. The North one goes along the Danube river, from the Timok river outflow to Silistra town, after that - to South-East, where reaches Black sea, a few kilometers south of Mangalia, which remains in Romania. East border follows the seaside, reaching cape Emine. The South border goes on Balkan ridge to Pirdop town, after that descend some more to south, covering the territory of former Sofia sandjak. To the West - the former Turkish-Serbia border is followed, excluding territories around Pirot and Vrania, which fall under Serbian jurisdiction. Five gubernia (Sofia, Varna, Ruse, Tarnovo and Vidin) and 33 okrag remain on the territory of Principality Bulgaria.
After voting Tarnovo constitution (16.04.1879), the territory of Principality Bulgaria is divided to okrazhie, okoliya and municipalities. 21 okrazhie are created with centers: Vidin, Lom - palanka, Ryahovo (Oryahovo), Berkovitsa, Vratsa, Pleven, Lovech, Svishtov, Sevlievo, Tarnovo (Veliko Tarnovo), Ruse, Razgrad, Eski Djumaia (Targovishte), Shumen, Provadia, Silistra, Varna, Tran, Kyustendil, Sofia and Orhanie (Botevgrad). 58 okoliya are included in this okrazhie.
Eastern Rumelia is divided to 6 departments: Tatar Pazardzhik (Pazardzhik), Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Haskovo, Sliven and Burgas. So called "kantoni" are included in these departments.
There is certain similarity between these 27 administrative units (21 okrag in Principality Bulgaria and 6 departments in East Rumelia) and later existing (till 1987) okrag in respect number and territorial coverage as well as in categorization and typifying of okrag and okoliya in tree groups. This proves the availability of historically created basic centers of national system of populated places.
On 10 May 1880, the II Ordinary National Assembly adopts the Law on administrative division of Principality Bulgaria, confirmed by Decree N 226/23 May 1880 of prince Alexander Battenberg and issued SG N 45/28.05.1880. The Law is based on Tarnovo constitution, article 3. According to the Law, gubernia are removed and all their institutions are closed. Also 10 of the existing okrag are closed: Samokov, Dupnitza, Hadjioglupazardzhik - with administrative center Hadjioglu Pazardzhik (now Dobrich), Balchik, Osmanpazar - with administrative center Osman Pazar (now Omurtag), Elena, Gabrovo, Nikopol and Belogradchik. The rest 21 okrag are renamed to okrazhie. Okrazhie are divided to okoliya and their number and coverage are defined by Council of Ministers. According to the decision of Prime Minister Dragan Tzankov, confirmed by Decree N 317/26.06.1880 of Prince Alexander Battenberg (issued SG N 55/05.07.1880) the existing in Principality Bulgaria 21 okrazhie are divided to 58 okoliya.
According to the Decree N 265/04.04.1881 of Prince Alexander Battenberg (issued SG N 23/16.04.1881) 9 okoliya are closed. In May, September and October 1881 most of the closed okoliya are restored.
According to the Decree N 573/28.06.1882 of Prince Alexander Battenberg (issued SG N 91/21.08.1882) a new, second after the Liberation, Law on administrative division of the territory of Principality Bulgaria is adopted. There are 14 okrazhie according to the law. These are divided into 56 okoliya, each of them with 25 to 50 thousand population approximately. Both okrazhie and okoliya are named after their administrative center - town or village.
After the Union of Principality Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia (06.09.1885) new reform is done. In 1886 consolidated Bulgaria has territory of 96 thousand sq. km and over 3 million population. Administrative division includes 23 okrazhie and 84 okoliya. There are 75 groups of municipalities and 7 independent municipalities created.
All these changes in the territorial coverage of okrazhie are result of increased sphere of influence of the respective centers and strengthened concentration of functions and activities.
In 1901 the second, in respect its importance after the Liberation, administrative-territorial reconstruction of the country is realized. It existed 33 years (up to 1934). Number of okrag is reduced to 12. Centers of okrag are as follows: Vidin, Vratsa, Pleven, Tarnovo (V.Tarnovo), Ruse, Shumen, Varna, Kyustendil, Sofia, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora and Burgas. The last administrative-territorial division remains the same a relatively long period of time. Partial changes in the number and coverage of units are caused predominantly by cession or annexation of territory, due to the wars, in which the country is involved and to the wars consequences. As a result at the end of 1920, the number of okrag is 15, of okoliya - 82 and of municipalities - 2391.
Considerable changes are observed during the 30-s, when okrag is removed as a unit in the country administrative-territorial division and replaced by districts.
Instead the existing 12 okrag, 7 districts are created by 1934 reform. District characteristics are close to the characteristics of districts, existing within the period 1987-1999. District centers are as follows: Vratsa, Pleven, Shumen, Sofia, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora and Burgas. The last reform puts the stress on local self-government of municipalities and mayoralties and their self-government functions are strengthened. It should be also noted that the largest towns are no district centers. For example, district Shumen includes towns that are larger compared to Shumen - Ruse and Varna. The traditional functional and spatial connections with the rest of populated places are the reason later Varna and Ruse to became separate districts, dividing district Shumen.
The subjective intervention of totalitarian state structures in the analysis of circumstances and decisions of the competent state bodies distinguish the period after 1944. Levels of administrative-territorial units, established after the Liberation, are the same - districts, okrag, okoliya and municipalities. New are the names of districts, okrag and okoliya centers, resulting of the social-economic development dynamics, which influence also, creation and strengthening of new towns and settlements.
Instead of the 9 districts, 14 okrag and 101 okoliya are created in 1949. The last increased to 116 later on. Okrag centers are the following towns: Burgas, Vidin, Vratsa, Gorna Jumaia (Blagoevgrad), Gorna Oriahovitza, Pleven, Plovdiv, Sofia, Stara Zagora, Stalin (Varna), Ruse, Haskovo, Shumen and Yambol. Sofia is under the central bodies of state government. Gorna Oriahovitza and Yambol became okrag centers for the first time.
In 1959, population concentrates in urban areas, due to the increased demand for labour resources for industry. Also changes in country administrative-territorial structure are done - okoliya are dropped off and number of okrag increase to 30, three of which urban (city) - Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna. The rest are okrag with centers: Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Varna, Vidin, Vratsa, Gabrovo, Dimitrovo (Pernik), Kolarovgrad (Shumen), Kyustendil, Kardzhali, Lovetch, Mihailovgrad (Montana), Pazardzhik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Ruse, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Sofia - Sofia okrag, Stara Zagora, Tolbuhin (Dobrich), Targovishte, Tarnovo (V.Tarnovo), Haskovo and Yambol. Number of municipalities reaches 979, divided to urban and rural. Municipalities are created through grouping of the existing more than 5300 populated places.
In 1964, based on Decree of the National Assembly Presidency (issued and enforced in parallel with the Law on changes of the Law on People's councils, issued SG N 47/16.06.1964) okrag Plovdiv - city, and Varna - city are erased and up to 1987 the okrag number is 28. The last division remains the same relatively long time and changes are done just in number and coverage of municipalities. The basic idea of the reform is the rural population concentration and development of industry equipment to be realized for bigger number of towns (some of which created within the same period) and thus, the basic framework of national system of populated places to be widened and stabilized. On this basis, it may be asserted that up to 1987 towns-centers as Smolyan, Kardzhali, Silistra, Razgrad, Sliven, Pazardzhik, Tolbuhin, Targovishte, Mihailovgrad, Lovech, Gabrovo, Kyustendil and Blagoevgrad are created and strengthened.
Radical administrative-territorial reform in the coverage of 28 existing okrag is done in 1979, concerning the second level of municipalities' territorial government. Factors that predetermine new territorial communities of populated places, called "systems of populated places" are the substantial changes in their economic and social development, in urbanization and industrialization, in agricultural collectivization and concentration in services, removal of land boundaries and large-scale construction of 3th and 4th class roads. Systems of populated places are territorial management objects of new quality, which in 1979 were administratively differentiated in 291 municipalities instead of 1389 existing till that moment, which were no more important for territory management. Their number is fixed at 300 in 1981.
New reform is realized in 1987, which removed okrag and created nine districts instead with the following centers: Mihailovgrad, Lovech, Razgrad, Varna, Burgas, Haskovo, Plovdiv, Sofia-city and Sofia-district. Consolidation of municipalities is done to 249 excluding those in Sofia-city (the total number of municipalities reaches 273, including Sofia-city). Regulations on self-government of territorial communities are improved and municipalities and their executive-competent bodies - mayoralties - became the main units of territorial management. Districts are given limited functions only, including control and coordination.
Law on administrative-territorial structure of Republic of Bulgaria is adopted in 1995 (issued SG N63/14.07.1995) arranging creation of administrative-territorial and territorial changes. According to the Law districts and municipalities are administrative-territorial units; composite administrative-territorial units within the municipalities are mayoralties and quarters; territorial units are populated places and settlement formations. Populated places are two types - towns and villages and the existing to the moment populated places as neighborhoods, hamlets, stations and industrial villages became villages (article 7, paragraph 3 of Additional and Final provisions).
Change, concerning the district level is introduced in 1999. Number of districts became 28 and their boundaries correspond to the okrag boundaries from 1964. Municipalities are 262 and their boundaries are changes based on the legislation and peoples will.

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