Economic and cultural centre
The region of Blagoevgrad covers parts of three of the biggest Bulgarian mountain ranges – Rila, Pirin and Rhodope, and is also known as the Pirin region, named after the Pirin mountains, dominating its territory like a majestic pillar.
The city of Blagoevgrad is the major city in the region and one the most important economic and cultural centres in southwest Bulgaria. The main international routes connecting Bulgaria with Greece and Bulgaria with the Republic of Macedonia pass through it. Blagoevgrad also allows easy access to the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, approximately 100 kilometers to the north, and to all towns in the region. Blagoevgrad is known for the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG), founded there in 1990. The other higher educational institution in Blagoevgrad is the Southwestern University where the emphasis is on the humanities and teacher training.
The region around Blagoevgrad has abundant natural resources. The Blagoevgrad area is part of the region, known as Pirin which is characterized by its unique geographic location, physical beauty of the surrounding mountains, and rich flora and fauna. Three majestic mountain ranges grace the plain - the Rila, Pirin and Rhodope Mountains. Picturesque lakes and roaring rivers provide the region with pure, fresh spring water. The names of the local rivers Bistritsa, Glazene, Struma and Mesta echo in the songs and the folklore of the region. The Blagoevgrad municipality has an ample supply of pure mineral water, river systems and lush mountain forests. The landscape is varied and beautiful. The physical characteristics combine to make Blagoevgrad the largest and most important town in southwestern Bulgaria. It is an important cultural, administrative, and industrial centre for the entire southwestern part of the country.
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