Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria. It is located in the southern part of the country and is crossed by Maritsa River. It is located in the Gornotrakiyska lowland, which is very fertile. Its population is more than 400 thousand people. The summers are hot and dry, while the winters are cold and snowy with temperatures that might fall below – 10 degrees Celsius.
The city is located between two big mountains – Rhodopes and Balkan. Rhodopes Mountain with all incredible places and sites that can be seen there is located in just 15 km south. Balkan Mountain has multiple reserves where people can see wild life, unique plants and admire the amazing presents of the nature. It is located in 50 km north from Plovdiv.
Nature and nature sites
Because the city is settled between six syenite hills, it is called “the city under the hills”.
It is really worth to visit Plovdiv during your stay in Bulgaria because this is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Its beginning dated 4000 years BC when it was an ancient village located between three hills.
History and cultural heritage sites
During the ancient times, Thracians have lived between the three hills. They have built a fortified village, which has been the largest city in Thrace. During the 4th century BC, the ruler Philip Makedonsky have taken possession of it, that is why it became known as Philippopolis. During that time, Philip ordered the city to be surrounded by thick fortress walls. Thracians were able to take possession of their city again but later it was seized by the Roman Empire, when it got the name of Trimoncium.
Plovdiv was a significant trading center during the Roman empire reign. In those ancient times, the city flourished; many buildings, facilities and roads have been built. There are many remains that remind of that time, such as pavements, buildings, fortress walls, sewerage and water-supply system.
The ancient Thracians who first have been settled here called the city Evmolpia. Then the Macedonians renamed it to Philippopolis and in 4th century its possession was taken by Byzantium. In 6th century, it became a Slavic city called Pulpudeva initially, but later they changed its name into Plowdin or Plavdiv. Its current name comes from these names.
Culture, entertainment and night life
In past, the city of Plovdiv has been situated among seven hills, just like Rome. Today, only six of them have remained, because one of the hills called Markovo Tepe has been completely paved.
The highest one is Dzhendem Tepe or the Youth Hill, which has been declared as a protected area because of the rare plants and animal species such as jays, wild rabbits and squirrels. The Bunardzhik Hill is famous with Alyosha Monument built in honor of the Soviet Army.
Sahat Tepe is the hill with the Clock Tower that is currently a romantic park for young couples and youth. The clock tower on its top is built in 16th century. The other three hills are in the Old Town. All the park hills are well maintained with beautiful alleys, benches and places for rest.
The houses located in the Old Town are built in a style typical for the Renaissance. Kapana Quarter has become an art and cultural center of the city with numerous galleries, cozy bars and artists’ shops.
There are multiple interesting landmarks in the city, which include: Antique Theater, Roman Odeon, Archaeological Complex, Nebet Tepe, Archaeological Museum, Historical Museum, Regional Ethnographic Museum, Museum of Natural History, Museum of Aviation.
The Asen’s fortress, Bachkovo Monastery and Sanctuary of Belintash are located near Asenovgrad not too far from Plovdiv.
The town is among the most popular tourist destinations in the country and a cultural and economic center of Southern Bulgaria. There is a great choice of accommodation options – from luxury hotels to hostels.
There are excellent opportunities for entertainment and shopping on the main street of Plovdiv, and there are many restaurants in all parts of the city.
As a major industrial and commercial center, Plovdiv is famous for the International Fair that is conducted every year. During this intriguing business event, guests can see presentation of goods and exchange experiences. They are able to contact traders from all over the world.
There are a lot more things to see during your stay in Plovdiv. These include theater, dance and film festivals, and numerous archeological findings from the ancient times of Thrace, Rome and Byzantium. These remains remind of the glorious past and are successfully combined with the city’s modern architecture.
The Roman Aqueduct is such a sample that has become a part of Komatevsko Shose Boulevard. The Ancient Theater has been successfully restored and used for performances.
The Ancient Theater in Plovdiv
This is a monument of Roman architecture built thousands of years ago. The Ancient Theater of Philippopolis is one of the most remarkable antique monuments that can be found on the Bulgarian lands. It is located between two hills in the modern city of Plovdiv.
Its 28 rows of marble seats are located amphitheatrically and are embedded directly into the ground. The trail divides them into two floors. Visitors can enter the theater from two entrances – the east and west.
Several museums can be visited in Plovdiv – Historical, Archeological, Ethnographic, Natural History. And there are also an Art Gallery and Drama Theater. The architectural complex of Ancient Plovdiv is among the most famous sights here, preserving the beauty of Renaissance houses that are restored and even inhabited today.
But cultural sights are not the only thing that tourists can see. The city also offers very good conditions for entertainment and sports in its Olympic canal. Sports enthusiasts will find great conditions for rowing, running and cycling there.
The ancient city of Philippopolis
Being inhabited as early as the 4th millennium BC, this place has been one of the largest settlements of the Odrys tribe. At that time, the city has been known as Pulpudeva.
In the modern part of Plovdiv, the following ancient sights have remained:
- Parts of the fortress walls
- Large built-up areas
- Two aqueducts that supplied water from the Rhodopes Mountain
- Remains of the main square
- Residential and public buildings
- Thermal baths
- Early Christian basilicas
- Ruins of one of the earliest synagogues (Jewish temples) in Thrace built in the 3rd century
Archeological studies prove that Philippopolis was one of the largest and most beautiful cities in Ancient Thrace.