Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria and an administrative center of Plovdiv country. It is in the Upper Thracian Plain and on the both banks of the Maritsa river. The population of the city is about 350,000 people. The town is built around seven hills- the hills of Plovdiv (Plovdiv Tepes) which are part of the city’s history.
Plovdiv is the oldest inhabited city in Europe. The first evidence of residents date back to 8,000 years BC. The city did not stop existing since the 6,000 years BC until nowadays. In the 4th century BC Plovdiv was conquered by Philip of Macedonia. He gave the city one of its many names- Philipopolis. Later the Thracians regained power over the city, but after a series of battles in the 1st century AD it became a part of the Roman Empire.
During the period of the Roman Empire, Plovdiv which was called Trimontium was an important regional center. A lot of well- preserved artifacts had remined from those times such as cobble stoned streets, fortress walls, buildings, water supply and sewerage systems.
The city started to be a part of the Bulgarian country during the ruling of Khan Malamir (831- 836 AD). Over the centuries the city was passed between the Bulgarians and the Byzantines. It finally became a part of the Bulgarian state in 1344 AD.
During the Bulgarian Revival (18th- 19th century) Plovdiv was an important economic center. It was home to many wealthy and educated people who traveled across Europe and brought new cultural elements to the city. Nowadays that could be seen in the construction of the beautiful and richly ornamented houses from that time. Also the city was an important cultural center and has a major contribution to the spiritual awakening of Bulgaria. Plovdiv was of great importance in the struggle of church independence.
After the end of the war between Russia and Turkey, Plovdiv remained as an autonomous region under the control of the Ottoman Empire and it was called Eastern Rumelia. On the 6th of September 1885 the city was conquered and Eastern Rumelia was again united with Principality of Bulgaria. This memorable date set the beginning of the new history of the country and is celebrated every year as a solemn day of Plovdiv and an official holiday.
After the Union Plovdiv remained the second largest and economically important city after the capital Sofia to the present day. Nowadays the city has the famous Plovdiv International Fair which annually hosts the presentation of goods and exchange of contacts between sellers from all around the world.
This is the entrance of the Fair.
Nowadays the city hosts theater, dancing and movie festivals and the numerous archaeological artefacts of Thracian, Roman and Byzantine times not only to recall the glorious past, but are successfully combined with the modern architecture of the city.
One of the most famous landmarks is the architectural complex of the Old Town, where many beautiful houses from the times of the Bulgarian Revival had been preserved and restored. Many of them are inhabited to the present day.
Besides cultural attractions, the city offers very good sports and recreation conditions. On one of the city ends lies a rowing base of Olympic size, which offers great conditions for rowing, cycling and running. Next to it there was the biggest stadium in Bulgaria which is not used any more, but there are a lot of grounds for playing football, basketball, tennis on court and many other sports.
Those who decide to count the hills of Plovdiv will see that nowadays there are only six of them preserved. The 7th one (Markovo Tepe) was turned into pavement for the cobble stoned streets (big mistake). The good thing is that the three main hills on which the elevation of Plovdiv consists are preserved. The other three hills are used nowadays by people for walks, relaxing and having good time with friends and family.
Dzhendem hill also known as the Hill of Youth (because it is preferred by young people and annually on this hill is held the festival “Shake that hill”) is the highest one. It was also declared as a protected area for its endemic plants and preserved nature.
On the Bunardzhik (Alyosha) hill was built a monument in honor of the Soviet Army. Here every year between the 23th and 26st of May, many students who graduated high school, in the morning after their prom night, come here on the top of the hill to welcome the sunrise.
Sahat hill- the hill with the clock tower, has become a park, a favored place for couples and youth companies with guitars. A clock tower, dating back to the 16th century, stands on top of it.
All the Plovdiv hills are well- maintained parks whit paths and benches.
Because of the small size of the city, everything is literaly in your pocket. In my opinion if somebody wants to feel the real night life, he or she should come to Plovdiv. The biggest clubs are situated in the surrounding areas of the center and also there is a place on the center called the Trap district (Kapana/Капана) where are the smallest but one of the best clubs in the town. In the summer many of them move the party outside on the streets. The types of music and entertainment are a lot so there is something for every different taste. There also a lot of cultural and art events held in the Trap district. Every year in the summer and the autumn there is a festival called “Kapana Fest”. There you can see a lot of young artist who show there talent and entertain the audience.
Trap district- nightlife
Trap district- art event
The city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country and a cultural and economic center of southern Bulgaria. There are many accommodation options here — from luxurious hotels to hostels. The main street of the city offers excellent opportunities for entertainment and shopping; the restaurants options are numerous.
The public transported is good and it is really cheap. The ticket for the bus is 1 lev (0,50 cents) and for the shuttle is 1,50 levs (0,75 cents). The taxis are also cheap- from end to end of the city it will cost you about 7 levs (3,50 euroes).
The railway transport is also good, it could take you any way and is also cheap. The bus station provide busses for every point of the country. The airport is about 13 km south of the city, but it does not have a lot of regular flights at that moment. Because of that the visitors should travel about 130 km from Sofia to Plovdiv (again, bad decisions made from stupid people).