The city of Plovdiv was ranked 6th amongst the oldest living cities in the world and the first in Europe by the Daily Telegraph. Plovdiv was also included in the Huffington Post’s article, “10 Ancient World Cities You Can Still Visit.”
Future Capital of Culture 2019
Have you ever heard about the sunny country of Bulgaria, situated in the most fruitful land of Europe? God has poured out here lavishly all his gifts as the sea, the rivers, the mountains, the valleys…
And between the sea and the mountains in the Thracian valley is situated Plovdiv - the second-largest city in Bulgaria, and one of the oldest cities in Europe.
It is located in the large plain between the Rhodope Mountains in the south of Bulgaria and the Balkan Range. The Maritsa River flows through the city on its way southeast before forming the Greek/Turkey border to the Aegean Sea.
Its unique location on these ancient crossroads has stimulated strong cultural and political influences from East and West civilization, and yet maintained its unique cultural identity. Being older than most of the oldest towns like Rome, Athens, Carthage or Constantinople, an almost contemporary of Troy, Plovdiv is a town built upon layers of towns and a culture developed upon layers of cultures.
Plovdiv is a picturesque town with many archaeological monuments, museums, gardens and parks. Its old part, called the Old Town, with houses from the National Revival period (18-19th century), is an imposing open-air museum situated on the three hills of the ancient Trimontium.
One of the most remarkable sights of the town, the Ancient Theater (a well-preserved Roman theater – and the biggest in Europe), is located there and is still used for open-air performances.
The city had different names during the centuries and still keeps the ruins reminding of the Thracians, the Romans, the Slavs, the Bulgarian State, the Byzantines and the Turks.
In 342 BC the town was conquered by Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander of Macedon, and named Philipopolis . The founder of the town built better fortifications and new walls around it. He placed a strong garrison in the town and made it a centre of Thracia.
In the middle of 1st century AD Philipopolis was seized by the Romans and was incorporated into the Roman Empire , hence the Roman name of the town -Trimontium ('the town on the three hills').
During the 2nd-3rd century AD Trimontium became the metropolis of the large province Thracia Romana and had its own Senate.
At the end of the 4th century, Trimontium was included into the boundaries of the Eastern Roman Empire - Byzantium. During the 6th century Slavs settled down there.
After the foundation of the Bulgarian State in 681, Plovdiv was a border town for a long period, frequently changing its sovereigns.
In 1364 the Turks invaded Plovdiv and gave it a new name-Philibe. Being on the threshold of the Orient, the city turned into a busy centre of trade and handicrafts, along with Istanbul, Thessaloniki and Edirne.
In the 19th century the city was the centre of the Bulgarian Renaissance. After the Liberation of Bulgaria the citizens of Plovdiv contributed greatly to the Reunification of Bulgaria , which took place on 6 September 1885.
In the 20th century Plovdiv became the second most sig¬nificant economic and cultural centre in Bulgaria and as unique example of multi-religious and multi-ethnic tolerance.
Plovdiv has a vibrant and bustling city center covered with many interesting places and monuments to visit. Among them:
The impressive Ancient Theater is perched on top of a hill with a view over one of the busiest boulevards in the city and still has its original Roman seats.
Most of the time the theater wasn’t used as an entertainment spot by the Romans but was the venue for local governors’ meetings. Today, you can watch a live concert or opera performance during the summer season.
The Roman Stadium
During the Roman control, Plovdiv was named Philipopolis. Huge sports events took place at the Roman Stadium situated on the main walking street of the city. Nowadays, it’s buried under the main pedestrian street and you can see only a bit of its ends.
This mosque is located on the main pedestrian street right next to the Roman Stadium. Its name means Friday Mosque as it used to be the main mosque where Muslims gathered for a prayer on Friday. There’s a Turkish cafe next to its entrance where you can try original Turkish delights and coffee.
The Old Town
The Old Town of Plovdiv is situated on top of three of the city’s hills – named Rahat tepe. Many of the Revival-period houses in the Old Town are now museums: Balabanov’s House, the Ethnographic Museum and the History Museum are among the most spectacular.
Kapana Art District
Kapana means “a trap” and as the legend goes, its name is due to the unimaginable ways all its streets cross, change directions, or finish with a dead end. Once you get in, they say, it’s hard to get out. Nowadays, Kapana is a lively art district full of bars, art shops, ateliers, festivals, craft beer bars.
The Singing Fountains
The Singing Fountains are part of the central garden. They are placed in the verdant park interesting even during the summer evenings, when the fountain plays music and has a special light and water show after dark.
The Rowing Canal
This is a popular place with the locals when they want to practice some kind of sport: jogging, ride a bike or just spend some time walking. The Rowing Canal (Grebna Baza) is sometimes used for championships or sports training but most of all it’s a leisure spot.
The evenings in Plovdiv…
The nightlife in Plovdiv offers a really great variety of restaurants, clubs and bars. Rumor has it that the lively Plovdiv never sleeps!
video source: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/plovdiv-bulgaria/index.html
Special events Plovdiv:
- The longest Night of Plovdiv - launched as “Night of Museums and Galleries” every September of the year. In recent years, the audience of the festival is between 40 and 60 thousand people, with over 120 artistic projects located in 60 to 70 places in the city.
- ONE DANCE WEEK - contemporary dance festival each September and October. The festival started in 2008 as the only forum in the country entirely devoted to contemporary dance — one of the most rapidly developing genres in contemporary art that knows no boundaries between techniques, art forms and aesthetics, that turns rules and roles upside down and makes the impossible possible — which is what constitutes its bold and attractive gesture.
- DroneUp International Film Festival - two nights of the most fascinating drone cinematography. Location: The Roman Stadium. Meet the most creative aerial filmmakers.
- Plovdiv Jazz Fest – during the autumn season. The Festival evenings takes place at cultural center “Boris Hristov”.