Vratsa is a district in North-western Bulgaria, bordering Romania. Its center is the town of Vratsa, while other towns include Byala Slatina, Kozloduy, Krivodol, Mezdra, Mizia, Oryahovo and Roman.
The region is bordered to the north by the Danube River, and to the south by District of Sofia. It has an area of 3,621.8 km². The population of 235,189 inhabitants is distributed over 10 municipalities.
The region's climate characterizes with warm summer and cold, but not frosty winter - the average temperature in January is -1.9 °С, the average temperature in July is 22.2 °С. The spring comes comparatively early- in March and April, the weather heats fast in April and the temperatures quickly go up. The summer months July and August have the highest temperatures.
The administrative center of the province is Vratsa in the southern parts, about 116 km from Sofia. The distance to the major cities is as follows: Vratsa - Varna 414 km, Vratsa - Plovdiv 217 km; Vratsa - Pleven 108 km; Vratsa - Burgas 416 km. The international road E79 passes through the province. The major European port and ferry complex Oryahovo-Bechet, on the River Danube, is situated in Oryahovo Municipality.
The natural peculiarities of Vratsa Province contribute to the development of agriculture, lumber industry and electricity production. Major companies are the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant, of national importance; Chimco AD - fertilizer factory, Beloizvorski cement - cement factory and brewery; Ledenika AD - joint stock company; Centromet AD - centrifugal casting; Vratitsa LTD - yarns, raw and finished fabrics, sewing articles; OMK Holding - machining and machinery, tooling equipment, foundry, special production; Hemus-M AD - limestone, slabs, tiles, blocks, columns; Sunnytex AD - production of household linen, weaving etc.; Metizi AD - steel wires, ropes and their products, spare parts; Variana LTD - concrete articles, greyiron cast, metal safes; Enemona Holding - civil engineering.
The main projects are related to the development of the transport infrastructure, water supply and sewerage, agriculture - vegetables, cattle breeding, silk-worm breeding, mushroom cultivation, development and strengthening of the existing industrial plants, development of alternative forms of tourism - rural, ecotourism, cultural, religious, spaeology, mountaineering, hang gliding etc. The long-term strategy for the regional economy is to promote small and medium enterprises as an alternative way to develop the industry.
Because of the close distance to the capital Sofia (site of the main universities in Bulgaria), only one local centre of New Bulgarian University, one pedagogical college - branch of the Veliko Tarnovo University and one medical college exist in the province. The vocational schools have their main disciplines mostly in agricultural techniques, mechanics and electrotechnics, chemical technologies, civil engineering and construction, language school and mathematical secondary school. The total number of primary schools in the province is 54, 14 of them situated in the municipality of Vratsa and all state-owned. There is only one private school, Europe Schools for English Language and Management.
Historical Museum in the town of Oryahovo
The year of 1928 was accepted as a beginning of the museum work of Oryahovo when was created the first museum collection to the Town cultural center /Chitalishte/.
Since 1939 the new-created Archaeological Society began its activity and enriched the collected historical material. The same year was taken a decision to transfer the library museum collection to the Archaeological Society in Oryahovo. Thus was laid the beginning of the museum as an institution.
The general exhibition area of the museum is 185 sq. m. On the first floor are situated three exhibition halls- "Archaeology", "Renaissance" and "Icons from the Renaissance church St. George" which is in restoration. The Historical museum's collected material runs up to 7 650 fund units of which 2007 are books. The fund is situated on the second floor in three rooms where documents, archaeological materials and weapons are kept.
Two of the exhibits preserved in the museum- the statue "The good herdsman" and "Stone cross" from the 4th century are priceless from historical point of view. They have been part of exhibitions of the early Christian Art in Rome and Brussels.
Ethnographic house in Oryahovo
Since 1989 in this house have been exposed ethnographic materials. They are arranged in two halls- "Popular customs and culture" and "Urban customs and culture from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century".
Diko Iliev's Museum House- Oryahovo
It keeps the memory of the great national musician and composer- author of "Dunavsko horo", lived and created 42 years in Oryahovo. In 1994 the composer's house was restored. Photo exhibition and documents connected with his life and work are exposed there.
National museum Radetzki Steamer in the town of Kozloduy
It is transformed into a national floating museum, keeping alive the memory of the Botev's detachment. From river-bank begins the Memorial complex "Botev's park", really representing an unique park.
Town Art Gallery in the town of Mezdra
It is located in "House of the railwayman". It was opened in 1971 and has an exhibition area of 100 sq.m. and fund of over 300 works= paintings, black and white drawing, sculpture and applied art.
Art Gallery in Byala Slatina
The gallery fund includes pictures, black and white drawings, sculptures and works of the applied art. It was created in 1984. The gallery fund consists of 260 pictures, black and white drawings and sculptures. The gallery is one of the important centers of the cultural life in the town.
There are museum collections in the town Mezdra, town Krivodol and villages Kunino, Sofronievo, Borovan, Glogene and Harletz. In the library building in Krivodol there is a picture gallery with about 200 works of the plastic and applied art.
On the territory of the district are situated a great number of cultural monuments, as "Gradishteto"- relics of a pre-historical settlement, located 3 km North West of the Krivodol's center, an antique mausoleum in the place "Rosnenitza"- village of Urovene- the 2nd- the 4th century,"The humped bridge" near the village Lipnitza and many others.
In the town Vratsa could be visited the towers of Meshchiite and of Kurtpashovite, built in the17th century, as housing- defensive. The towers have a big historic- archaeological value and were declared as cultural monuments of a national importance.
The following protected natural attractions and historical monuments are located on the territory of the State Forestry Board Vratsa: