Sofia Municipality with its centre – the city of Sofia – is situated in the Sofia Field with an average altitude of 550 metres above sea level, covering an area of 1,342 km2. The city of Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria and the biggest political, administrative, cultural and educational centre in the country, with a current population of more than 1,2 mln. inhabitants (according to the 2011 census).

Sofia is one of the oldest European cities, founded 7 thousand years ago. It is the geographical centre of South East Europe and represents the cross point of three Pan-European transport corridors. Due to the abundance of beautiful parks Sofia, enjoys the reputation of a “green” city and thanks to its geographic location and the multitude of monuments of culture it is also an interesting destination for international and domestic tourism.

In terms of territorial scope Sofia district is identical with Sofia Municipality. The settlements network is composed of 38 settlements, including four cities (Sofia, Bankya, Novi Iskar and Buhovo) with a total population of 1 291 591 people (2011), including as follows: 1 202 761 people in the city of Sofia and 88 830 people in the surrounding area. The number of the population in the zone of active impact of the city of Sofia and Sofia District (comprising eight neighbouring municipalities) is about 103,000 people.


Sofia Municipality is an administrative unit with a status of a region and is divided into 24 districts, administered by local mayors. The main activities include: preservation of the environment, healthcare, social, educational and cultural activities for the citizens of Sofia.

The local authority is represented by the Sofia Municipal Council, a body of local self-government, and by the city’s Mayor who performs executive functions supported by the municipal administration. The Municipal Administration is divided into nine sectors with different spheres of activities.

The competence of Sofia Municipal Council is to adopt and implement strategies,  programmes and plans on local issues concerning the sustainable development of the city.

Sofia municipality is a legal entity. It has the right to own real estate property and movables. The municipality can conduct economic activities and establish enterprises. It can also participate in joint ventures, provided that it’s liability does not surpass it’s share. The municipality can invest estates and unused funds, except for the subsidies granted by the state budget.

The municipality makes its own budget on the basis of its income and state subsidies.

Some indicators

Birth rates

Total number of births



Born alive

Still born

Sofia district (excl. city of Sofia)






City of Sofia






Sofia district (excl. city of Sofia)






City of Sofia






Sofia District (excl. city of Sofia)

2 148

1 125

1 023

2 119


City of Sofia

13 812

7 093

6 719

13 742




Unemployment rate – %

Sofia district (excl. city of Sofia)

4 100


City of Sofia

26 600


Sofia district (excl. city of Sofia)

8 800


City of Sofia

44 200


Sofia district (excl. city of Sofia)

10 200


City of Sofia

38 300


Sofia produces 34% of the national GDP which is 70% of the EU average – expected to become 80% by 2015. In 2004 on the area of the Municipality was achieved the highest GDP nationwide – BGN 11,393 million or 33.0% of the national total. The GDP per capita (at current prices), produced by the Municipality amounts to BGN 9,733 at BGN 4,885 national average. With respect to this indicator Sofia Municipality (District) ranks the first among all country districts. In 2004 the GDP per employed person in the District was BGN 19,652 (10,048 Euro).

In 2007 the capital attracted 78% of all foreign investments in BG.

The city of Sofia is the biggest university centre in the country with higher educational establishments in almost all spheres of education and science. Due to the more than 20 (nearly the half of the higher educational establishments in the country) universities based in Sofia, the employed with higher education are 45% and with secondary – 51%.

In 2004 the sectoral structure of the Sofia socio-economic complex reveals that the tertiary sector plays a leading role [73.4% of the total GDP (BGN 7,243 million) and 76.5% of the number of employed persons]. Industry has conceded from the positions it used to occupy in the past and undergoes a process of serious restructuring.

Sofia  Municipality  


  • More than 1,6 million citizens;
  • One of the oldest European Cities, founded 7 thousand  years ago;
  • Capital of Bulgaria since 1879;
  • Geographical Centre of South East Europe and    
  • Entry point to the Middle East;
  • Cross point of Three Pan-European Transport Corridors;


  • Sofia Municipality is the administrative, political, economic, educational and cultural centre of Bulgaria.
  • Sofia Municipality is situated on the Sofia Plain with an average altitude of 550 metres above sea level, covering an area of 1,342 km2.
  • The main Sofia Municipality building at 33, Moskovska str.;
  • Housed the Mayor, Sofia Municipality Council, the Deputy Mayors, the European Programmes and Projects Directorate, etc.

OTHER PROJECTS, in which Sofia Municipality was involved and to some extent close to MESSE project are:


OPEN Cities is a British Council project funded by URBACT and led by Belfast City Council in collaboration with a network of European cities.


Sofia’s programme as a dynamic European capital

OPEN Cities’ idea fits with Sofia’s vision as a dynamic European capital and with the main priorities of its development as defined by the mayor Ms Yordanka Fandakova:

  • an environment for entrepreneurship and initiative;
  • business and sustainable development;
  • a business and investment centre in South East Europe;
  • culture as a resource.


Development of Sofia as a dynamic European capital with an environment of intitiative, enterepreneurship, business and sustainable development which affirms itself as a business and investment centre in South East Europe and looks at education and culture as resources.

Aims and objectives


Development of Sofia as an open, inclusive and attractive city creating optimal opportunities for investment and business, integration, intercultural familiarisation and dialogue.

Specific aims for the three strategic themes:

Development of city leadership which strangthens integration and inclusion and shaping management governance capacity of Sofia Municipality to implement an effective integration policy.

Forming intercultural sensitivity, establishing an environment for intercultural dialogue, interest and familiarisation with intercultural differences, for inclusion and integration with intercultural environment.

Implementing a pro-active policy for internationalisation of the capital, for transforming it into an centre attracting foreign investors, entrepreneurs, and highly qualifies European citizens as well as citizens of third countries.

Open cities

CoNet – Cohesion Network – URBACT I

The experience of Sofia Municipality in the implementation of Cohesion Network – CoNet – project

  • Cohesion network – CoNet – is a network of cities across Europe exploring current approaches to strengthen social cohesion in neighbourhoods, co-financed by the ERDF and national funds.
  • Partners
  • Berlin, Germany- Lead partner
  • Liverpool, UK
  • Vaulx-en-Velin, France
  • Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Alba Iulia, Romania
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
  • Zabrze, Poland
  • Malmö, Sweden
  • Gijon, Spain
  • Palermo, Italy
  • Leadexpert
  • Prof. dr. Rotraut Weeber

CoNet – exploring current approaches to strengthen social cohesion in neighbourhoods

  • located in Krasna Poliana district with about 65 000 inhabitants, among them 35 000 of the Roma population. About 90% of them lives in the living area “Faculteta”. 90% – unemployed because of lack of education, segregation and discrimination of the employers.
  • Case study; SWOT analysis → Need: social integration and adaptation of Roma population

Goals within CoNet: Social inclusion of segregated population and areas by proper education, vocational training and information society, short-courses qualification, parents and children learning, cultural identity, sport and leisure activities.

Establishment of LSG (local stakeholders)

  • CoNet – exploring current approaches to strengthen social cohesion in neighbourhoods
  • Activities: exchange of experience, city-to-city project support, mutual learning.
  • Liverpool, UK - Social entrepreneurship – the way to professional development of minority ethnic groups
  • Vaulx-en-Velin, France and AlbaIulia, Romania - identified practices when working with minority groups
  • Apeldoorn, The Netherlands - work with minority groups and cooperation between municipality and associations working in the social sphere
  • Gijon, Spain - integration of immigrants and cooperation btw. Municipality, associations and local integration centers
  • Palermo, Italy - focuses on the problems of poor urban areas and regeneration programs
  • main goal - work with children and youth, intellectual development and prevention of addictions, vocational guidance and provide full assistance primarily on a voluntary basis
  • CoNet – exploring current approaches to strengthen social cohesion in neighbourhoods

Outputs: LAP – high value, elaborated by the stakeholders, capitalized knowledge, integrated approach.

The main strategic goal of LAP:

Creating conditions and environment for effective implementation of sustainable local policy for equal integration of Roma in “Krasna Poliana“ district by :

  • access to rights, goods and services;
  • educational integration and adaptation;
  • active involvement and participation in all public areas;
  • improve quality and standard of living