Bulgarians - Settlements

The location of original settlements in the area was determined by defensive concerns. As settlements expanded, the presence of water and gentle terrain became dominant factors as well, and larger settlements grew up along rivers and in the foothills at the edges of the fertile plains. Contemporary Villages are distributed along important travel routes connecting larger towns. In most of the country villages are concentrated settlements with houses in close proximity to each other around a village square. This area of habitation is surrounded by the land that villagers cultivate. Because of migration and demographic changes, many smaller villages have lost their population base and are basically hamlets. As their current population is primarily elderly, their long-term survival is questionable. Larger villages are faring better as a result of governmental migration restrictions, economic development, and closer integration with nearby urban settlements.

Traditional village houses were constructed of wood and plastered with mud. They were small, one-story constructions with one to three rooms. A similar style of house was also constructed from mud bricks or stone and plaster. While some examples of these houses are still evident in Contemporary villages, the predominant model is a two-story house with several rooms made of brick and finished with a stucco-type plaster. Urban areas have the same type of constructions, but since the 1950s the large, multistory, concrete apartment building, usually in groups forming a complex, has come to dominate the urban housing scene.

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