Municipality of Smolyan is located in South Bulgaria. The area is about 854 sq km. – the largest municipality in the Region of Smolyan, consisting of 86 settlements – 1 city and 85 villages with population of 41,452. The Municipality is situated in the Rhodope Mountain near the border with Greece – the nearest border checkpoint is at 65 km distance. The average altitude is 1320 m as the highest peak is 2191 m. The climate is continental with Meditaranean influence – we have mild winters and cool summer.
The Municipality of Smolyan is a local government body, which is responsible for provision of high quality of life for its citizens, including municipal property, municipal finances, municipal tax incomes and fees, municipal administration, town-planning and development of the territory of the municipality, education, health services, culture, construction, municipal undertakings, social services, protection of the surrounding environment and rational usage of the natural resources, waste management, conservation of the cultural, historical and architectural heritage of the region, support of sports, recreation activities and tourism. The municipality ensures variety of cultural and sport activities, manages the institutions and their buildings.
Since 2007 Smolyan has managed to attract a significant amount of European funding for the development of the town and its area. As the municipality is responsible for the territorial planning, it adopts particular strategies and development plans. For the next planning period a focus has been put on infrastructure, cultural-historical heritage, tourism, SME. A special emphasis is placed on the youth and sport policy.
In 2014 the Municipal Council approved the Municipal Development Plan for the period 2014-2020 and the Strategy for the development of the tourism as well as The Integrated Plan for the Development of the Town Territory. The implementation of the plans has started and the Municipality is in the process of preparation of the first projects included in the Integrated plan.
The Municipality has implemented a number of major investment projects during the last programming period. Here a quick overview of some of them:
- Urban Infrastructure – Renovation of main town areas and parks – Old Centre pedestrian area, Charshiya Park in residential area Ustovo, renovation of streets and public areas.
- Cultural-historical heritage – Restoration and socialisation of historic places like Momchil Fortress with main attraction Audiovisual Performance on the Rocks; restoration and socialization of 2 Thracian and Byzantian fortresses and restoration and adaptation Alibey Konak (Old Residental Building of a local Turkish Feodal) for Centre for Entrepreneurship and Education – all these sites are cultural-historical monuments of National importance.
- Nature – Building of new Tourist Information Centre – a house in traditional Rhodopean Style near one of the most popular ecotrails – Kanyon of Waterfalls – ecotrail passing through natural reserve with 48 waterfalls. This project also included renovation of all wooden bridges and steps along the trail as well as building shelters and picnic areas.
- Social Sphere – the Municipality follows stable policy for improving the life conditions and standards of the services in the social care homes, as well as actively works towards deinstitutionalization of the social services through building new family type centers for children and elderly people in risk.
The efforts of the Municipal administration are directed towards achieving sustainable development and growth of Smolyan Municipality as attractive place for living, business, tourism and education, with good infrastructure and communications, lively economy and preserved natural and cultural resources.