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31.01.2012 Sofia Voted Best City to Live in 2011

Trud Daily, 31.01.2012, excerpt

Bulgaria’s capital Sofia was voted The Best City to Live in Bulgaria for 2011. This is what the fifth annual ranking of 24 Chasa Daily and Darik Radio showed. Bourgas was voted the best place to live in the country in 2010 and last year it was voted the best city only in the internet ranking of 24 Chasa Daily.

All 27 regional cities took part in the competition, as this is Sofia’s second win, the first one being in 2009. “This is normal as a lot of people around the country want to come to live in Sofia. Because for a person to have a good living standard they have to receive a good salary as well”, commented Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova. The cities are ranked as per 28 criteria, as there are two new ones introduced this year.

Apart from the online results what are also taken into consideration in the final ranking are the special questionnaires filled in by the correspondents of the two media. Only part of their answers could be subjective, like “a good main street” or “a place to have good coffee in the center”. Most of the criteria are measurable, for example “cycling alleys (km)”, “number of universities and high schools with a foreign language profile”, “number of parking spaces”, etc.

The ranking becomes permanent
There is a possibility the ranking of the best places to live in Bulgaria to become permanent and the assessment to run throughout the year. The new “city index” will be improved as it will include more and more objective and measurable criteria.

The Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works will also take part in drawing up the criteria, Minister Lilyana Pavlova announced. The reason is that this will help bigger cities in Bulgaria develop their urban development projects. The development of the urban environment is expected to be the main highlight of the Operational Programme 'Regional Development' after 2014.

The most beautiful and cultural
Bulgaria’s old capital Veliko Tarnovo was awarded the Cultural City prize. The city’s Mayor Daniel Panov said Veliko Tarnovo is applying for Europe’s 2019 Cultural Capital.

The greenest
Velingrad – the town of the many mineral springs, received the price for Bulgaria’s Greenest City in 2011. The reason for that is that people love it and support it, Mayor Ivan Lebanov commented.

The most prospering
Sevlievo was named the Most Prospering City in Bulgaria in this year’s ranking. One of the largest foreign investments in the country was made there – the factory of US owned Ideal Standard.

The best for doing business
Stara Zagora was named the Best City for Business. It is one of the places with the lowest unemployment levels in the country and with the highest investment flow.

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