Blagoevgrad (Bulgarian: ????????????) is ? city in southwestern Bulgaria, the administrative centre of Blagoevgrad Municipality and of Blagoevgrad Province, with a population of 70,881 inhabitants (as of 2011). It lies on the banks of the Blagoevgradska Bistritsa River. The city is the economic and cultural centre of southwestern Bulgaria. It is located in the valley of the Struma River at the foot of the Rila Mountains, 101 kilometres (63 miles) south of Sofia, close to the border with the Republic of Macedonia. Blagoevgrad features a pedestrian downtown with preserved 19th-century architecture and numerous restaurants, cafés, coffee shops, and boutiques. Blagoevgrad is home to two universities, the South-West University "Neofit Rilski" and the American University in Bulgaria. The city hosts also the "Sts. Cyril and Methodius National Humanitarian High School", the former Bulgarian Men's High School of Thessaloniki moved from Thessaloniki to Blagoevgrad (then Gorna Dzhumaya) in 1913. Attractions in the surrounding area include the resort Bodrost.
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