- Smolyan Province
Infobox Province of Bulgaria
Cyrillic = Област Смолян
Municipalities = 10
LicensePlate = CM
Governor = Petar Fidanov
Website = http://region-smolyan.org/
Smolyan Province (Област Смолян, "Oblast Smolyan") is a province in southern
Bulgaria. It borders Greeceand 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 Orthodoxand a whole 39,003 deciding not to discuss their religion [http://www.nsi.bg/Census/Religion.htm] .
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 developed timber industry in Dospat, Smolyan, Devin. In Smolyanthere are big plants producing machine tools and other machinery, while textile industry is mainly developed to the east in Nedelino, Zlatograd, Madanand 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
Pamporovoand 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 Devinand Bedenare 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.
* [http://www.bulgarianproperty.info/Regions/Smolian/tabid/195/Default.aspx Pictures from Smolyan Province]
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