Geographic situation

 

Rakotovo municipality is situated in the West Rhodopes and occupies part of Chepino hollow and the surrounding mountain ridges. The municipality’s area is  246,4 sq. km.

Its territory is located in a region with comparatively preserved nature and significant biologic and landscape variety, which in combination with the available recreation resources in the municipality and the neighbouring municipalities is a considerable potential for the development of alternative types of tourism. Via III-class road connection Pazardjik – Velingrad, passing through the western part of the municipal territory it is connected with the internal part of the country and quick tracks of Trakia and Maritsa highways.  

 

Natural resources potential

 

The availability of beautiful and preserved natural environment favours the development ofsofttypes of tourism (educational, ecotourism etc). Agriclimatic conditions, permit growing of agricultural crops, characteristic for mountain and semi-mountain conditions. The considerable water resources of surface and underground waters favour the development of short weekly resting and fishing tourism. The extremely rich forests and the good general status of forests resources in the municipality, has an important economic, water protective, anti erosion and recreation significance.

 

Demographic situation

 

In 2005, the municipalitys population numbers 15620 people, 7866 of which are women.

Due to the fact that two of  three municipality settlements are towns (Rakotovo and Kostadinovo), the urban population is predominant. Positive characteristic of the municipality’s demographic development is that there is a tendency for birth growth in the last years.

There is an increase in young people motivation in the municipality for increasing their qualification and educational level, due to the understanding of the advantages of higher educational degree for searching and finding jobs.

 

Local economy

 

       After the year 2000, an increase of companies’ net incomes from sales is noted, which fact is an indication for economic stabilization. The presence of small factories in the municipality is a prerequisite for higher adaptation and flexibility of the local economy towards the challenges of market economy. Relative macroeconomic stability of small enterprises is a fact in the municipality. In the municipality’s territory there is:

Ø      availability of considerable labour resources with traditions in agrarian sector, forestry wood cutting and wood processing industry, light and foodstuff industry.

Ø      availability of free terrains for investments;

Ø      availability of educated and enterprising young people;

Ø      considerable potential for development of forestry and non timber forest products gathering (herbs, wild fruits, mushrooms, game, fish etc);

Ø      strong control over the illegal cutting of forests;

The available natural and anthropogenic tourist resources are prerequisite for the development of soft types of tourism mainlyeco- and rural tourism, educational, cultural tourism etc. The comparative nearness to other significant tourist sites in the district allows some local sights to be included in common regional routes.

 

Tourism

 

Natural resources

“Mantaritsa” reserve

It is declared as a reserve with Ministry of Forests and Forest Industry’s Ordinance ¹ 960, dated 8.VI.1968. The target is preservation of biotypes of wood-grouse capercailzie. Century old virgin coniferous forests and trees, older than 40 years can be found in Mantaritsa.  

            The reserve is situated in the West Rhodopes (41 58' N and 24 2 E) in the land of the town of Rakitovo and includes the areas of Petlite, Kainatsite and Mantaritsa. It is located north of the highest peak of this part of the Rhodopes – Golyama Syutkia (2186 m)

Lepenitsa Cave is situated on the left bank of Lepenitsa river. Lepenitsa is 1 525 m long and comprises three floors. The lower one is 273 m long and is crossed by underground river. There are four lakes on the second floor during rainy periods; during the dry ones only two are left. The third floor is dry. It is located at an altitude of 1000-1300 m. It is announced as natural phenomenon with Ordinance No. 2810 dated 10th of October 1962 and protected area of 52 decares. It is unique for Bulgaria, but not developed and planned.

Ostrata skala (Sharp rock)natural phenomenon, located north-east from the village of Dorkovo.

Paleontologist field in Dorkovo village is a natural phenomenon, announced with Environmental Committee’s Ordinance 90, dated 31st of January 1990. There are deposits of bones (skeletons) of mammals, mainly mastodonts and hiparions, located in the land of Dorkovo village, municipality of Rakitovo.

 

Anthropogenic sights

 

 The clock tower. The tower has two parts with stone masonry, height of 18.60 m, wall thickness of 80 cm. Rakitovo clock tower is a historical monument of national significance.

The remnants of Tsepina fortress are situated 5 km northwest from the village of Dorkovo in the north-eastern part of Chepino valley. It is built up no a high and rocky peak with altitude of 1136m. The peak is surrounded by Metoshko gully to the east, Kostin gorge to the west, Karkariisko gully – to the north. The only access is from the south, where on the foothills of the fortress, the real town was situated. During Medieval Ages, Tsepina was one of the most famous Rhodope fortresses in the basin of Chepino river. This is confirmed by the fact, that it is mentioned several times by the Byzantine chronicles in 12 – 14 century due to the role it played in the struggle between Bulgarians and Byzantines. 

Early Christian Church in “Nikolitsa” area.  It originated in V – VI century. IThe church was existing till 17th century, and was destroyed. Since 1923, a small chapel, called “St. Nikolas” was built. The basilica is connected with the culture of local Thracian tribe – besi – and is equal by plan to “St. Sofia” basilica in the town of Sofia. 

Historical Museum  in Rakitovo is situated in Apostolovata house and newly attached building. The house was built in 1906. There are three exhibitions in the museum – archaeological, ethnographic and historical.

 

Labour force and labour market

 

The employment policy of Rakitovo municipality complies with the requirements for adequacy to European and world standards, reflected in the European Strategy for Employment and its priorities, the recommendation of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD) and other international organizations.

The municipality is characterized by greater share of population in under active age, compared to the average for the state, the planned region and the district. 

The unemployment level deceased in half after 2000. Different projects for encouragement of employment and in the social facilitation sphere are under development, aiming to decrease the high social price of transition period.

 

Technical infrastructure condition

 

            Railway and road transportation are developed in the municipality. The density of road network is only 35 km/100sq.km. Road connections with the district center and neighbouring municipality centers are well developed. Part of district and regional transportation traffic from and to South Bulgaria is serviced in the municipality’s territory. The energy and communications infrastructure is relatively well developed. All three settlements in the municipality are provided with water supply and sewerage.

 

Ecologic situation

 

Natural environment in the municipality territory is clean and preserved. The general status of environmental components is good – there are no territories and sites, referred to the 14 “hot ecological spots” in the country. There are no big enterprises, deteriorating the air, waters and soils in the municipal territory. The ecological condition of soils allows practicing of biological agriculture and production of ecologically clean products, complying with the European standards. No deterioration of radiation situation is observed in the district. The municipality has gained significant experience in development and fulfillment of different projects and programs within the scope of rational utilization of natural resources and environmental protection.

 

Territorial structure

 

The variety of natural environment and availability of varied territorial structure permits multifunctional and complex utilization of municipal territory. The considerable share of forests territories and territories with river flows and water objects favours the development of forestry and tourism. The existing large settlements in the municipal territory have potential for development and rich cultural life.