The masquerade festival

Pernik is a region in the western part of Bulgaria. It was named after the city, which is its administrative center.


The city of Pernik is situated on both banks of the Struma River. The town was originally a Thracian settlement from the 4th century BC. It is believed that the city was named after the Slavic god Perun.


Surva, one of the biggest masquerade festival in Eastern Europe, takes place in Pernik every January. Kukeri is a pagan ritual men perform during the festival. The costumed men walk and dance, scaring away evil spirits.


An underground temple and well dating back to the XII century BC are located near the village of Garlo, in the gorge of Konska River. This ancient religious construction is unusual for the Thracian culture.


The village of Studen Izvor is the home to the Museum of Kiselo Mlyako (yoghurt). The museum is situated in the birth-house of Dr Grigorov - the creator of the bacteria used to produce Bulgarian yoghurt.


The predominant sectors of the economy of the region are mining and heavy industry. 


Regional stories

Bulgarian Border Population Loss Regions
By Sanja Stamenkovic, Jefferson Institute

The Balkan Peninsula is the European region known for its persistent negative population growth. Beside the largest number of deaths versus births, migration is one of the reasons for decreasing number of residents of the Balkans.

Some of the main demographic indicators related to population quantity are natural increase rate and population change. Natural increase rate is the difference between the number of births and deaths per 1,000 residents. Population change is the difference between the population number in two periods, divided by the earlier one. Population change is represented in percentages. Bulgarian Border Region comprises 23 regions of Bulgaria (11), Macedonia (3), Serbia (7) and Turkey (2).

Unlike many European countries with low or negative natural...