Blagoevgrad is а 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 Republic of Macedonia border. Blagoevgrad features a pedestrian downtown with preserved 19th-century architecture and numerous restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, and boutiques. Bulgaria has a range of versatile landscapes and both historic and modern urban areas, which can be effectively used to substitute a variety of different countries and cities around the globe. This is highly attractive to filmmakers who seek to keep costs down. Many urban areas in Bulgaria contain housing and architecture which is very similar to Moscow and other Russian cities. Since filming in Moscow can prove to be expensive and troublesome to organize logistically, this is a particular attraction for many filmmakers. The country also contains many ancient ruins and buildings from the age of the Roman Empire, for example the Plovdiv Roman Stadium that can seat 30,000 people. On top of all this, there are also numerous sites such as religious buildings, bridges, air fields (both abandoned and fully-functioning), industrial areas and railways. There’s even areas of the country which can be used to film desert scenes. Permits for filming in public areas in Bulgaria can be secured by contacting the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in writing. This can be done through your country’s Embassy. Information must be provided informing the government of the sites in which you wish to film, the names and passport photos of any international crew that will be visiting, and information about when and for how long you will be staying in the country.