Plovdiv is second biggest city in Bulgaria. It is located in South-Central Bulgaria, 150 km from Sofia, 19 km from Assenovgrad, 102 km from Smolyan and 90 km from Stara Zagora. It is situated on the two banks of the Maritsa river and on six unique hills (called “tepeta”). Remains of ancient, mediaeval, revival and modern culture coexist […]
Plovdiv is second biggest city in Bulgaria. It is located in South-Central Bulgaria, 150 km from Sofia, 19 km from Assenovgrad, 102 km from Smolyan and 90 km from Stara Zagora. It is situated on the two banks of the Maritsa river and on six unique hills (called “tepeta”).
Remains of ancient, mediaeval, revival and modern culture coexist and are interwoven into the irresistible and eternal beauty of this city. They do not stand in each other’s way; they complement and enrich each other to make Plovdiv a synonym of Bulgarian history and a genuine world city.
Plovdiv is very, very old. The Eternal City, as Rome is conventionally called, is much younger. Plovdiv is all in one: a Thracian and classical Greek polis, the pride of Philip of Macedonia, the capital of Thrace under the Roman Empire, a centre of Byzantinism, a stronghold of the Bulgarians, a dream of the crusaders — a magnificent, wealth and most important city.
Kendros, Eumolpia, Philippopolis, Pulpudeva, Thrimonzium, Pulden, Populdin, Ploudin, Filibe — those were the ancient names of Plovdiv throughout its 6000 to 8000 years of existence. The name Plovdiv first appeared in 15 century documents and has remained till today.
In the distant past Plovdiv was situated on seven hills: Taxim, Nebet, Jambaz, Sahat, Jendem and Bunarjik. The seventh hill, Markovo Tepe, has nowadays subsided completely under the pavement of modern Plovdiv.
In 432 B.C. the town was conquered by Philip II of Macedonia. During his rule the ancient Thracian fortress and towers were rebuilt. The vain Philip II gave the city his own name, Philippopolis. Soon it became a Thracian town again, called Pulpudeva. During the 1st century A.C. it was conquered by the Romans. The practical Romans called the town Thrimonzium (lying on three hills) because the Roman town was situated on three hills, Taxim, Nebet, and Jambaz Tepe. The Roman emperors Trayanus and Marcus Aurellius built solid fortresses around the town. They intoduced many improvements, as well as coin minting. At the time Plovdiv was known as Ulpia Thrimonzium, the most flourishing metropolis of the Thracian province.
The magnificent amphitheatre above dates back from Roman times. Now it is restored and classical drama, operas, and concerts are presented on stage in the open air… In 447 the Huns ruined the town. In the sixth century the Slavs settled in the Balkan Peninsula and introduced the names Pulden and Plundiv. In 815 Khan Kroum seized the fortress. In the following five centuries the town was ruled by Bulgarians, then conquered by Byzantium. The Bulgarian army came again later. The Crusaders demolished and plundered the town several times on their way to Mecca.
In 1365 Plovdiv fell under the Turkish slave. Later it was renamed Filibe and became an important administrative and military center of crafts. Filibe was the seat of the ruler of the district of Rumelia. At that time the town possessed a mysterious charm and striking poverty typical of the Orient. The functioning Jumaia Mosque attracts visitors to the center of modern Plovdiv with its fine minaret and its sun-dial.
The commercial area of the town was between that mosque and the river Maritza. One of the oldest clock towers in Eastern Europe is located behind Sahat Tepe. The clock is working even nowadays. “Philibe is the biggest one among 10 big towns in the European part of Turkey, and is getting richer every day” wrote the traveller Evlya Chelebi in 1651
During the 19th century Plovdiv followed the spiritual awakening when the Bulgarian people started struggling for religious, cultural and political independence. In 1850 Naiden Gerov established a class school. Hristo G. Danov founded the first Bulgarian publishing house in 1855. He circulated the printed books, newspapers and magazines around the Bulgarian land. The first printing press in Bulgaria appeared at that time. The Bulgarian revolutionist Vassil Levski organized a revolutionary committee in Plovdiv.
The long cherished liberation came to Plovdiv on January 19, 1878, after 500 years of waiting. However, it did not last long. The Berlin Congress divided newly liberated Bulgaria into the Principality of Bulgaria and the autonomous region of Eastern Rumelia with its capital Plovdiv. Just seven years later the unification of Bulgaria was proclaimed on September 6, 1885. This date is celebrated as National Holiday nowadays.
The charming Plovdiv is a must for everyone, who comes to Bulgaria. Get inside the party in the Kapana district.
Day 1: Sofia - arrival Sofia Airport, panoramic tour, overnight. Day 2: Sofia – Plovdiv Day 3: Plovdiv – Kazanluk - Veliko Turnovo Day 4: Veliko Turnovo – Ruse – Bucharest Day 5:...Read More