Smolyan Province is a province
in southern Bulgaria. It borders Greece and is situated in
the Rhodope Mountains. The province is largely populated by
Bulgarian Muslims, as Muslims constitute 58,758 people out
of the province's total 140,066, some 41,599 being Eastern
Orthodox and a whole 39,003 deciding not to discuss their
The economy of the province is based on tourism, mining, timber
and machine industries and livestock raising. The main crops
of the region are potatoes (about 30% of the national production),
rye and barley; but sheep, pigs and cattle are of greater
importance for the agriculture. In the eastern parts of the
province are located more than 20 lead and zinc mines, which
form one of the most extensive ore deposits in the Balkans.
The dence coniferous forests are prerequisite for well developped
timber industry in Dospat, Smolyan, Devin. In Smolyan there
are big plants producing machine tools and other machinery,
while textile industry is mainly developped to the east in
Nedelino, Zlatograd, Madan and Rudozem. There is also a synthetic
rubber plant in Madan.
Nowadays, tourism is the
backbone of the economy, especially in winter due to the excellent
ski resorts of Pamporovo and Chepelare; having been completely
renovated and modernised. The only factory for skiing equipment
is located in Chepelare and employes 400 people. The mineral
springs in Devin and Beden are very popular among tourists.
The beautiful, unspoilt nature and the spectacular gorges,
rock bridges and caves attract many people from around the
country as well as foreign tourists, while the numerous dams
are popular with campers and fishermen.
Its main city is Smolyan, and other municipalities are: