List of Bulgaria province name etymologies

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This is a list of the origins of the names of provinces of Bulgaria.

County name Language of origin First attested Meaning Cognates
Blagoevgrad Province Slavic 1950[1] Named after the city of Blagoevgrad, itself a recent construct from Blagoev + the Slavic suffix -grad, "Blagoev's city". Blagoev is from the Bulgarian personal name Blagoy, from blag, "sweet, figuratively- gentle and kind". Named after Bulgarian Socialist Party founder Dimitar Blagoev. Belgrade (Serbian: Beograd), Stalingrad
Burgas Province Latin Antiquity, current form - 1727[2] Named after the city of Burgas, from the Latin word burgus, meaning a "tower, fort", after a local ancient Roman travel post.[3][4] Burgos, Lüleburgaz, Kumburgaz, Yarımburgaz, Kemerburgaz
Dobrich Province Slavic 1882[5] Named after the city of Dobrich, after the 14th-century Dobrujan ruler Dobrotitsa,[5] from the Slavic root dobr, "good"[6]
Gabrovo Province Slavic 1430[7] Named after the city of Gabrovo, probably from the Slavic word gabar ("hornbeam") + the Slavic suffix -ovo[7] Grabow
Haskovo Province Arabic, Turkish and Slavic 15th century[8] Named after the city of Haskovo, from Arabic حس has ("possession") + the Turkish köy ("village") + the Slavic suffix -ovo[8]
Kardzhali Province Turkish and Arabic Ottoman rule Named after the city of Kardzhali, after the 14th-century Turkish conqueror Kırca Ali,[9] from the Turkish name Kirca and the Arabic name Ali, derived from an Arabic root which means "high" or "Elevated".
Kyustendil Province Latin and Turkish 1559[10] Named after the city of Kyustendil , from Kösten, the Turkified name of the 14th-century local feudal Constantine Dragaš, from Latin constans, "steadfast" + the Turkish il "shire, county"[10] Constanţa (Köstence)
Lovech Province Slavic mid-11th century[11] Named after the city of Lovech, possibly from the Slavic root lov, "hunting" + the Slavic suffix -ech Łowicz
Montana Province Latin Antiquity Named after the city of the same name, renamed in 1993 after the ancient Roman city of Municipio Montanensium, from Latin mons, "mountain". Montana
Pazardzhik Province Persian, Turkic Ottoman rule Named after the city of Pazardzhik, from pazar, the Turkified word of the Persian bāzār, "market" + the Turkic diminutive suffix -cık, "small"
Pernik Province Slavic 12th century[12] Named after the city of Pernik, probably from the name of the Slavic god Perun + the Slavic suffix -nik or -ik or from a local boyar named Perin.[13]
Pleven Province Slavic Hungarian charter of 1270[14] Named after the city of Pleven, from the Slavic root plev ("weed") + the Slavic suffix or ending -en Pljevlja
Plovdiv Province Thracian, possibly Slavic and Greek 15th century [15] Named after the city of Plovdiv, a Slavicized variant of the earlier Thracian name Pulpudeva, from Thracian deva "city" and Thracian puplpu, which can mean "lake" or be the Thracian form of the Greek name Philip "horselover", after Philip II, possibly including the Slavic suffix ov in the middle as the suffixes for family names.[16][17][18]
Razgrad Province Persian and Slavic 1573[19] Named after the city of Razgrad, probably from the Slavic god Hors, whose name comes from the Persian xoršid, or alternatively from the Persian word hezar "thousand", or from Arabic hissar "fortress". + the Slavic suffix -grad. Hârşova [1]
Rousse Province unknown 1380s[20] Named after the city of Rousse (more accurately Ruse), probably from the root *ru- ("river", "stream") or *h₁reudʰ-ó- ("red" or "blonde"). Other suggestions include Russian settlement, a derivation from Russocastrom, an unattested tribe of Getae (riusi) or the pagan practice of Rusalii[20]
Shumen Province Hebrew or Slavic 12th century[21] Named after the city of Shumen, either from the Slavic word shuma ("forest" or "verdure") + the Slavic suffix or ending -en or from Simeonis, after Simeon I of Bulgaria (itself from Hebrew Shim'on, "harkening", "listening")[21] Šumadija? Šumava?[21]
Silistra Province Daco-Thracian or Latin early 13th century[22] Named after the city of Silistra (old name Drastar, from Celtic Durostorum), possibly from the Ancient Greek name of the Danube, Istrus,[22] itself borrowed from Thracian.[23] or from the Latin words "silo" and "stra", "awl" and "strategy".
Sliven Province Slavic 17th century[citation needed] Named after the city of Sliven, from the Slavic word sliv ("pour, confluence") + the Slavic suffix or ending -en[24]
Smolyan Province Slavic after 1878[25] Named after the city of Smolyan, itself after the local Slavic tribe of the Smolyani, probably cognate to the Slavic word smola ("resin")[25] Smolany, Smolany Dąb, Smolany Sadek, Smolensk, etc.
Sofia Egyptian Vitosha Charter of Ivan Shishman, late 14th century[26] After the Saint Sofia Church[27] from Greek Sophia ("wisdom"), ultimately from Egyptian seba "wise".[28] Sophia
Sofia Province see above see above Named after the city of Sofia, see above see above
Stara Zagora Province Slavic Middle Ages(region)[29] Named after the city of Stara Zagora, from the Slavic root star ("old") and the name of the medieval region of Zagore ("beyond the [Balkan] mountains" in Slavic)[29] Nova Zagora, Zagora, Zagori, Zagorje, Záhorie, Zagorsk
Targovishte Province Slavic translation of Turkish 1934[30] Named after the city of Targovishte, from the Slavic root targ ("marketplace") + the Slavic placename suffix -ishte, "market town" (a calque of the Ottoman Turkish Eski Cuma, "old market") Târgovişte, Trgovište
Varna Province Unknown, possibly

(1) Proto-Slavic, or

(2) Proto-Indo-European (PIE), or

(3) Iranian

Theophanes Confessor (8th century) [31]

(4) Varangians

Named after the city of Varna,

(1) possible Proto-Slavic etymology: varn ("black"), non-metathesized group CorC, later vran; or from Bulgarian var ("lime"),[31]

(2) possible PIE etymology: PIE root we-r- (water); cognate: Varuna

(3) possible Iranian etymology: var ("camp", "fortress")

(1) Warnow/Warnemünde, Varniai, Vranje?

(2) Varanasi? (3) Varosha, Hungarian Vár?

Veliko Tarnovo Province Slavic and possibly Latin 1180s[32] Named after the city of Veliko Tarnovo, from the Slavic root velik ("great") and the root tarn ("thorn") or from Latin turis ("tower") or tres naves ("three ships", referring to the three hills) + the Slavic suffix -ovo[33] Tarnów, Trnava, Tyrnavos
Vidin Province Celtic Antiquity or Middle Ages, current form since 1570[34] Named after the city of Vidin, from the ancient Celtic[35] name Dononia, "fortified hill", through Roman Bononia and finally Bulgarian Bdin, Badin.[34] Bologna
Vratsa Province Slavic translation of Latin 16th century[citation needed] Named after the city of Vratsa, named after the Vratitsa Pass nearby, from the Slavic word vrata ("gate") + the Slavic diminutive placename suffix -itsa, "little gate",[36] used to translate the Latin name Valve Vrata, Mehedinţi
Yambol Greek and possibly Latin Ottoman rule(current form)[37] Named after the city of Yambol, from Diambouli, from Di after Diocletian or Dios (Zeus) + the Greek polis "city"[37]


  1. ^ "За града" (in Bulgarian). Archived from the original on 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  2. ^ "Град Бургас" (in Bulgarian). Регионална библиотека "П. К. Яворов". Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  3. ^ "Burgas Municipality". Burgas. 
  4. ^ "History of Burgas". In Your Pocket. 
  5. ^ a b Петрински, Иван (2008). "Българският език: възродителен процес за имената на месеците". Истинската история на България (in Bulgarian). София: Ciela. p. 163. ISBN 978-954-28-0286-0. 
  6. ^ Vasmer query
  7. ^ a b "История на Габрово" (in Bulgarian). Zone Bulgaria. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  8. ^ a b "Името Хасково" (in Bulgarian). Haskovo Online. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  9. ^ "Как е получил град Кърджали името си?" (in Bulgarian). Община Кърджали. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  10. ^ a b Матанов, Христо (1986). "Феодални княжества и владетели през последните десетилетия на XIV век". Югозападните български земи през XIV век (in Bulgarian). София: Наука и изкуство. p. 126. 
  11. ^ "История" (in Bulgarian). Община Ловеч. Retrieved 2008-09-14. [dead link]
  12. ^ "История на средновековната крепост по археологични данни" (in Bulgarian). Община Перник. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "История на Плевен" (in Bulgarian). Община Плевен. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  15. ^ "Тепетата на Пловдив" (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Пловдив" (in Bulgarian). Мила Родино. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  18. ^ "История на града" (in Bulgarian). Община Пловдив. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  19. ^ Калоянов, Анчо (2002). "Названието на етнографската група хърцои и култа към бог Хърс". Старобългарското езичество (in Bulgarian). Варна: ЕИ "LiterNet". ISBN 954-304-009-5. 
  20. ^ a b "История на Русе" (in Bulgarian). Регионален исторически музей—Русе. Archived from the original on 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  21. ^ a b c "Шумен" (in Bulgarian). Шумен.net. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  22. ^ a b Болгарские алфавиты (in Russian). Archived from the original on December 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  23. ^ Katičić, Radislav (1976). Ancient Languages of the Balkans, Part One. Paris: Mouton. p. 144. 
  24. ^ "За Сливен" (in Bulgarian). БНС – Сливен. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  25. ^ a b "гр. Смолян" (in Bulgarian). BGGLOBE. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  26. ^ "Витошката Мала света гора" (in Bulgarian). Арх & Арт. Archived from the original on 2008-01-12. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  27. ^ "София" (in Bulgarian). Мила Родино. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  28. ^ Dr. Molefi Kete Asante. "n African Origin of Philosophy: Myth or Reality?". City Press. Retrieved 29 August 2015. 
  29. ^ a b "Стара Загора" (in Bulgarian). Верея Тур. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  30. ^ "Търговище" (in Bulgarian). Bulgaria Inside. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  31. ^ a b "Имената на днешната Варна" (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  32. ^ "Търново—политически, религиозен и културен център на Второто българско царство" (in Bulgarian). DiscoveryBG. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  33. ^ "История" (in Bulgarian). Официален сайт на Велико Търново. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  34. ^ a b "Видин" (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  35. ^ "Видин" (in Bulgarian). BG-Tourinfo. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  36. ^ "Враца— кратка справка" (in Bulgarian). PureBulgaria. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 
  37. ^ a b "Туризъм" (in Bulgarian). Област Ямбол. Archived from the original on 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2008-09-14. 

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