The town of Kyustendil (50 243 inhabitants, 525 m above sea level) is situated in the most western parts of Bulgaria, only 27 km in the air from the three borders - Bulgarian-Macedonian, Bulgarian-Serbian and Serbian-Macedonian. The town lies in the most southern part of the fertile valley of Kyustendil, on both banks of the not large River Banshtitsa, leaning on the most northern slopes of the more than 2000 m high Ossogovo Mountain bordering with Macedonia. Quite close to the south of the town flows the big Bulgarian River Strouma. It is 90 km from Sofia to the south-west, 70 km to the north-west of Blagoevgrad, at 40 km to the west of Doupnitsa and at 22 km north-east of the border point with Macedonia - Gyueshevo. The town is a spa resort of national significance.
The Region of Kyustendil is situated in the South-Western part of Bulgaria, extends over an area of 3084,30 sq.km. (constituting 2,7% of the total territory of the Republic of Bulgaria), and has a population of 173 889. To the west it borders the FYROM and the Republic of Sarbia. The administrative, commercial and cultural centre of the Region is Kyustendil. The region
features diverse surface relief - fertile valleys and canyons, separated by hillocks and mountains. The region, however, is most famous for its numerous mineral water springs: hot mineral water springs in Kyustendil, Sapareva banya, the villages of Nevestino and Chetirtsi.There is a well-known and exceptional nature phenomenon found in the region √Ę‚ā¨‚Äú the Stobski piramidi (Stob pyramids).
For the most part, the climate is trans-continental, but at higher altitudes it is mountainous. The main riverfor the region is the Struma.
Forest vegetation is mostly deciduous, although coniferous forests are also present. In the Gabra natural reservation are preserved the last remaining black-pine trees.
The Region of Kyustendil includes 9 municipalities with a total of 182 settlements. The regional administrative centre is the town of Kyustendil situated in its south-western part. The town also serves as an administrative centre with a population of 73 346, of whom 51 300 are residents of the town area. Four main transport routes pass through Kyustendil: from the FYROM on the Skopie-Sofia high-way; from the FRS on the Nish-Bosilegrad-Kyustendil high-way; through Dupnitsa and Kyustendil passes the oldest commercial road that for centuries has linked Constantinople and the Adriatic Sea. Kyustendil has managed to preserve is historical, ecological and cultural heritage. It is a contemporary Bulgarian administrative centre, whose future is mostly seen in the development of cultural tourism, and modern rehabilitation spa developments. It benefits of hot mineral water springs with excellent specifications and huge potential
Eversince ancient times, Kyustendil has been well-known for its miraculous mineral-water springs. Roman Emperors, Byzantine Basileusi, and Turkish Sultants have treated their illnesses here, enjoying the amazing beauty and climate of the area.
In the village of Sapareva Banya is situated the hottest mineral geiser both in Bulgaria and Europe . The water temperature is 103 √ā¬į√ź¬°, and just seeing it as an attraction si amazing √Ę‚ā¨‚Äú you can feel the raw power of nature.
Kyustendil is also home town of the most famous Bulgarian artist - Vladimir Dimitrov-"Maistora√Ę‚ā¨¬Ě
In the Kyustendil region is situated on of the most beautiful natural parks in Bulgaria. Natural Park √Ę‚ā¨ŇďRila Monastery√Ę‚ā¨¬Ě was established in June 2000. The Park√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs territory covers 13 000ha alpine pastures and 14 370.7ha of forests. It√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs purpose is to preserve biodiversity and the beauty of nature, as well as cultural and historical heritage and to provide for the beauty of the places suitable for recreation and tourism.
The intensive weather conditions and gravitational forces bring forth the formation of taluses, landslides and talus-cones.
The area of Kirilova Polyana is very spectacular. there is the beautiful rocky ark, which consists of the peaks Zliya zab, Iglata, Kupenite, Lovnitsa, Orlovets and Eleni Vrah.
The whole slope of the Rilska River valley is cut by numerous steep gull√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs, which are typical erosional forms. There are snow-slips and stone-falls as well. The most famous of these are Belia Uluk, Dalgia Uluk and Varnika, also known as Zlite Pototsi.
A great number of lakes were formed as a result of a gravitational and accumulative action of Nature. There are about 27 glacial lakes in the park. The highest lake is the first of the Dyavolski Lakes (2445 m) and lowest is Suhoto Ezero (1892 m). Here is also the biggest alpine lake in the Balkan Peninsula which occupies an area of 21,2 ha and is 24 m. in depth.
√Ę‚ā¨ŇďRila Monastery√Ę‚ā¨¬Ě Natural Park is surrounded by thirty-six peaks over 2000 m in altitude. The highest of these peaks (over 2700 m) are Golyam Kupen (2731 m), Tcherna Polyana (2716 m), Rilets (2713 m) and Popova Kapa (2704 m).
Many rivers - Rilska, Iliyna, Drushlyavitsa, Otchova, ets. -run trough the park.
Over 1000 plants are found here and 71 are listed in Bulgaria√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs Red Book. 19 of these are endemic and 5 are found only in the park. Of these Rheum rhaponticum, Primula deorum, Verbascum jankaeum, Anthemis orbelica and Ligularia glauca are on the European list of legally protected plans.
The environment of the Rila Valley is determined by the splendid diversity of the rich forest. Oak, beech, fir, spruce, yew, pine, lime, sycamore, ash, birch can be found here according to the altitude.
About 150 animal species live in the park and fourteen of these are listed in Bulgaria√Ę‚ā¨‚ĄĘs Red Book. Here can be seen Triturus alpestris, Hyla arborea, Elaphe longissima, and Aquila chrysaetos.
In 1986 √Ę‚ā¨ŇďRilomanastirska Gora√Ę‚ā¨¬Ě was decreed a protected nature reserve of 3673,5 ha.
The historical complex of Rila Monastery is in the heart of this area. The Monastery was pronounced a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, and the part is named after it.
The Monastery is the start of the several tourist trails of differing length and difficulty, and is also on the international E-4 trail which includes the Pyrenees, the Alps and Olympus in Greece.