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Toponymy in Western Bulgaria – Evidence of National Identity

Department of Applied Onomastics

Period: 2014-2017

Type of project: Collective

Funding: budgetary (BAS)

Principal Investigator: Prof. A. Choleva-Dimitrova, Ph.D.

Participants: Prof. A. Choleva-Dimitrova, Assist. Prof. M. Vlahova, Assist. prof. N. Dancheva, K. Koilov, K. Petrova


The main objective of the project is to study the toponymy as evidence of the Bulgarian cultural heritage. The project involves collection and description of toponyms and the study of their patterns. Western Bulgaria offers significant data on toponyms which provide valuable historical evidence about the Bulgarian national identity. The comparative analysis of the microtoponyms (extracted from the data collected between North-Western and South-Western Bulgaria) allows the team to draw conclusions about the stratigraphy of the toponyms to determine the onomastic and topographical layers and present evidence about the ancient origins of the toponyms and ethnogenesis of the Bulgarian people. Alongside the onomastic research, the team continues the work on the Electronic Database of Bulgarian Toponyms. The first phase of the project involved launching the strategy and infrastructure of the database that contains names of places, villages and water bodies in the districts of the territory of Bulgaria in its current borders. The database contains approximately 70,000 names of geographical objects in Western and Southern Bulgaria. Further expansion of the database envisages inclusion of new toponyms (up to 100,000 in total) and continuing the work started during the first stage, including: study of the etymology of geographical names; analysing, editing and systematising the data; identification of the semantic motivation for naming certain geographic entities; processing the microtoponyms; linking the database with Google Earth.

The project is part of two priority areas of research at the Institute for Bulgarian Language – Theoretical Linguistics and Cultural and Historical Linguistic Heritage of Bulgaria.

Toponymy in Western Bulgaria – Places of National Identity. Period: 2014 – 2017. Principal investigator: Prof. A. Choleva-Dimitrova. Participant: Prof. A. Choleva-Dimitrova, Assist. prof. M. Vlahova, assist. prof. N. Dancheva, K. Petrova.

Influence of Modern Demographic Processes onto the Toponymy in Plovdiv Region. Funded by the Programme for supporting Young Researchers, BAS. Period: 20.05.2016 г. – 20.07.2017. Supervisor: Assist. prof. M. Vlahova-Angelova. Participant: K. Koilov.

Presentation of the results: theoretical studies and articles about Bulgarian toponyms, database of Bulgarian toponyms linked to Google Earth.