Plovdiv the eternal city of Bulgaria
Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria, centre of the Thrace Region and a European Capital of Culture for 2019. Over the last decade, the city has established itself as a sustainable tourist destination at national and international level, with various priority tourism assets type – cultural, wine and gourmet.
They all have a common, indispensable and unique cultural identity, typical of Plovdiv alone. Plovdiv is ranked among significant destinations from around the world as a must visit destination recommended by top media such as CNN, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Lonely Planet and many other.
Situated at the crossroad between the West and the East, Plovdiv is a place where history and modern age go hand in hand, and the ancient and contemporary culture and art flourish in a variety of forms, styles and colours. Evidence of the diverse nature of the city is also the existence of different colours and religions from antiquity to the present day.
In its territory, Plovdiv – the eternal city of Bulgaria – has preserved material evidence of human presence for 8000 years. From Evmlopia, Philippolis, Trimontium, Pulpudeva to today’s name – Plovdiv, the city has been called various names over the centuries.
The city witnessed the development of civilizations and cultures of various historical ages. To prove how ancient actually Plovdiv it’s enough to mention that it was founded before Rome, Athens or Constantinople. Evidence was discovered showing that the city is contemporary with Troy and Mycenae.
With its excellently preserved antique monuments and magnificently decorated Renaissance houses, museum and galleries, Plovdiv the eternal city of Bulgaria is a treasure that is here to be rediscovered.
Eternal city of Bulgaria – The Pearl Of Plovdiv
The city of Plovdiv is a kind of history textbook, where you get acquainted with the features of almost all historical ages and periods that have left a lasting impression on the city and shaped its diverse nature. Eternal city of Bulgaria is proclaimed the oldest living city in Europe and the sixth oldest in the world.
The Pearl Of Plovdiv – the Old Town – preserves historical layers of prehistoric era, Thracian, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Renaissance periods. Here tourists can see the landmarks of the ancient Philippopolis – the Ancient Theatre, the Roman Stadium, the Small Earlychristian and Bishop’s Basilicas, the Forum Complex, as well as the beautiful examples of Renaissance architecture.
The nomination of the Bishop’s Basilica and the Roman Mosaic Heritage of Philippopolis were included in the UNESCO Indicative List of Significant Cultural and Natural Sites. The Ancient Plovdiv Architectural and Historical Reserve received in 1979 a European Golden Medal for preserving the monuments of the past since 2011 it was also included in the archaeological reserves list.
The architectural ensemble of four houses on Stramna Street in the Old Town attracts guests and residents of Plovdiv with its permanent workshops presenting the traditional crafts diversity and colours. Visitors can see live how the golden hands of various craft masters smith metal items, make musical folk instruments, knead and bake bread, paint on glass, make embroideries, nonwoven fabrics, weave or make dolls and ceramics.
Eternal city of Bulgaria – Museum and Galleries
The Regional Archaeological Museum in Plovdiv is one of the oldest cultural institutions in Bulgaria. The museum has one of the richest collections nearly 100,000 exhibits of the cultural heritage of Plovdiv. Works of art and lifestyle connected with the history of Plovdiv as the successor of one of the biggest and most significant ancient cities on the Balkan Peninsula – Philippopolis.
The Regional History Museum is a scientific and cultural organisation for finding, studying, preserving and presenting the cultural values for the past of Plovdiv and Plovdiv Region.
Original items, weapons, photographs and documents of the efforts and struggle of the Bulgarians, in the development of Eastern Rumelia and the realisation of the Unification with the Principality of Bulgaria can be seen in the Unification of Bulgaria of 1885 Exhibition.
The Bulgarian Renaissance Exhibition, which is housed in the house of the rich Plovdiv merchant, Dimitar Georgiades, gives the visitor the opportunity to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the distant past of the city.
The Book Publishing in Bulgaria in the Second Half of the 19th and the Beginning of the 20th Century Exhibition is dedicated to book publishing in Plovdiv and the Plovdiv Region, and in the Museum of Modern History you can follow the history of Japanese dolls through the permanent unique Soul of the Japanese Doll Exhibition.
The Regional Ethnographic Museum has over 40,000 cultural items, and is located in the beautiful Renaissance house of Argir Kuyumdzhioglu. The rich collection presents the traditional Renaissance culture of Thracian Valley, Rhodope Mountain and Srednogorie Mountain.
The permanent exhibition presents the basic livelihoods of the population in the region – agriculture and livestock breeding, as well as the traditional crafts of the Renaissance period – weaving and braiding, pottery, antique weapons, shepherd carving, jewellery and church items, braided and knitted laces, costumes, musical instruments, and urban interior.
The City Art Gallery was opened in 1952 and has 7,210 works displayed, including prominent artists and typical styles, artistic crafts and replicas of stone sculpture and ceramics. It also hosts icons wealth of Eastern Orthodox Christian art from all southern of Bulgaria from the end of 15th century to the end of the 19th century.
The museum is the second largest and second richest natural history museum in the country with a modern and contemporary styled exhibition, containing the following collections: Minerals, Botany, Invertebrates, Aquarium, Amphibians and Reptiles, Birds, Mammals, Terrarium, etc. Especially attractive is the Tropic Hall, where you can see a variety of live tropical butterflies flying free in a jungle-like environment, with real plants from the southern countries. The museum also has a digital planetarium.
Plovdiv the eternal city of Bulgaria boasts with the longest pedestrian street in Europe – Glavnata (the main street), which is not just a street with a beautiful architecture, but also a place suitable for shopping therapy. It offers a variety of well-known international and Bulgarian brands, as well as the colours of the Indian style. Here, beside the fact that you can see the preserved authentic look of buildings from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, one can find many places for entertainment. It is a street that combines history and modernity.
As a result of its constant development, Plovdiv is becoming an important business centre and many of the world’s business giants prefer it as a business and congress destination. The International Plovdiv Fair, a member of UFI (The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry), is the venue for a number of exhibitions and exchanges contributing to the development of international relations in every field. The fairground is a modern exhibition centre, which is located on 352,000 sq.m and has 17 multifunctional exhibition halls. The International Plovdiv Fair organizes more than 40 exhibitions annually.
There are also several monuments and fountains, among which the classic masterpiece and cultural monument of the famous Italian sculptor Arnaldo Zòcchi – the water sculpture of fertility goddess Demetra. The Tsar Simeon’s Garden is a place where you can immerse yourself in the fairytale of light and music of the Singing Fountains.
Plovdiv the eternal city of Bulgaria also boasts its Rowing Canal, which is not only the largest sports facility of its kind on the Balkans, but also a symbolic place for couples in love. If you ask the people of Plovdiv where they hide in the hot summer evenings or where they prefer to “lock” their love, they will promptly tell you it is the Rowing Canal Bridge, the bridge with the padlocks, where they witness the most romantic of sunrises and sunsets.
Regardless of whether you are walking along the Main Street or through the Old Town, enjoying the Singing Fountains, or sitting in an art cafe, every place in Plovdiv is immersed in the cosiness and romance of the city and you will surely feel its heartbeat.
With its enormous cultural and historical heritage, central location and many advantages, Plovdiv is the first Bulgarian city selected to be a European cultural centre twice. After hosting the European Month of Culture Project in 1999, which brought the city unprecedented success, Plovdiv is now declared the European Capital of Culture 2019.
Before becoming renowned as the European Capital of Culture 2019, Plovdiv was well known as the “city of artists”. It is them and their creativity that are the main part of the soul of the city, of its eternal artistic spirit. Some of the most prominent Bulgarian artists have created their works here and many young modern art artists are presently working here. The city’s potential for specific stage spaces is inspiring. Cultural landmarks are perfectly suited as events stages, and the most impressive of them is the Ancient Theatre of Philippopolis – the largest open scene in the Balkans.
Plovdiv and the region are an absolute paradise for every wine lover. The valley of the Maritsa River is the place where the best wine growers cultivated their varieties of grapes for 5,000 years, and the production was glorified by many chroniclers during the antiquity.
Plovdiv the eternal city of Bulgaria is a place for a really wonderful culinary experience. Wine and good cuisine has many fans here. Bulgarian cuisine is known to be one of the best in Europe. And what gives the grand finale to every dish is a glass of high quality wine from the largest wine region in the country.
Thanks to its central location, Plovdiv is a good starting point for a trip to the Bachkovo Monastery, the mountain ski resorts, the wonderful natural landmarks of the Rhodope Mountains, the Rose Valley, and the Valley of the Thracian Kings.