Welcome to Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria
During the summer it is not just hot it is HOT. Plovdivians have their local wisdom in the following sentence “Gusto maina Filibeto, ogin pada ot nibeto” “Hey dude, it is nice in Plovdiv, but fire falls from the sky”.
Spring (April, May and mid-June) and autumn (mid-September, October) are the best off-season months (except for the few International Fair days in mid May and end of September). This is the best time to visit as the weather is good and not too hot or too cold.
The cultural venues, theaters, concert halls, etc. are in full swing and let’s not forget the off-season rates.
Plovdiv – one of the oldest cities in Europe
Plovdiv is one of the most appealing cities in Bulgaria and the Balkans with its first foundations laid here between 6-8000 years ago thus making it older than Rome or even Beijing.
The town is a great combination of real historical and archeological treasures with the liveliness of a modern city and great cultural and night life. The most visited and admired is the hilly Old Town, built on three hills called tepeta.
The maze of cobbled streets which meander the area and contain the cuddled up revival houses with their colourful façades and ornate decoration don’t fail to impress and take you back in time.
Plovdiv, a city with about 350,000 inhabitants and 8,000 years of history is now the first European Capital of Culture from Bulgaria.
Plovdiv is proud of its ancient heritage and its status as one of the oldest European cities. The identity of the city and its citizens are marked by deep layers of the past.
The meeting between different cultures, communities and groups has always been the biggest challenge, as well as the best drive for the city’s development.
“Together” is more than a path to a more integrated community, it is our vision for making culture more accessible so that it can make our lives more meaningful, our city more vibrant and attractive.
SHARE THE DIFFERENCES
We search for the crossing points between different social groups, in order to rethink the stereotypes and find out how we can benefit from our differences.
TRANSFORM THE CITY
We transform forgotten urban spaces, as well as peoples’ mindsets, in order to make Plovdiv a better place to live in and a more attractive tourist destination.
CREATE HERITAGE FOR THE FUTURE
We turn past into future, also through new technologies, in order to create a bridge between eras, generations and cultural and archeological layers.
MASTER THE ART OF LIVING
We include slow food, sport, music, the bohemian lifestyle, in order to learn how to live completely and sustainably, to enjoy art and nature to the fullest.
Plovdiv also called the city of the hills was built amongst 9 hills. These hills are called “tepeta”. It is believed that one of the faded tepeta was at Filipovo station (gara Filipovo) and the other one was at the current Kamentisa beer factory.
At the beginning of the 20th century one of the remaining tepeta was given on a concession for a quarry from the rocks of which were built the cobbled streets of the Old Town of Plovdiv.
By the time the court tried to seize the contract for concession the 7th hill was gone. The tepeta were from pure stone. During the reign of Tsar Boris the architect of the City Garden afforested the hills.
Nowadays there are 6 hills left:
1. Nebet tepe (nebet means observe). It is believed to be the first inhabited place on these lands, long before the Thracians came about.
2. Taksim tepe (taksim means distribute).
3. Djambaz tepe (djambaz is after the fighters who were climbing the hills of the Roman theatre and not after the turksih word djambaz which means to bargain) This is where the amphitheatre Filipopol is.
4. Sahat tepe (sahat means clock). This is where was built the first clock tower in the whole of the European part of the Turksih empire.
5. Bunardjika (bunar means well). In the old times here used to be the main well from where the water was supplied to the city. Here was built the Aliosha monument.
6. Djandem tepe (djandem means the end of the world). At the beginning of the 20th century the rich Plovdivians would take their carriages and would go for a picnic there, picnic at the end of the world.
Also here during socialism was built a children’s railway with small engine trains and carriages where the kids had the chance to dress and act as real engine drivers, ticket collectors and travelers.
After being closed down for year the Plovdiv municipality re-opened the railway once again for the little ones to play again.
Things to do in Plovdiv
Old Town, Old Town, Old Town get yourself to the Old Town of Plovdiv. Cast your eyes away from the post-war socialist mischief’s in the suburbs, unless this is your kick. Get yourself to the Old Town and get in touch with the true colourful spirit of Bulgaria.
For those who haven’t had enough we included some unmissable day trips.
So where do you go?
“St. Marina” church
40, “P.R.Slaveikov”, Old Town
Tel.: 032/623 270
Open for visits from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm every day
“St. Marina” is the main temple of Plovdiv diocese and its church government – Plovdiv Bishopric. It is one of the oldest churches in the city. It was restored as a metropolitan church in 1853 on the ruins of a medieval church from the sixteenth century. Here is one of the most valuable carved icons, made from walnut wood with length of 21 m. Over the entrance on the north is situated wooden bell tower, built in 1870 with a peculiar traditions of Bulgarian architecture.
Church “Holy Sunday”
Church “Holy Sunday” is one of the oldest temples . It is built in 1832 on the site of an old temple. Impressive is the 30 meters high massive four levels bell tower, built in 1905
Catholic Cathedral St Ludwig
E-4, bul. Maria Luiza 3, tel. 62 84 30.
It is located in the central city area, diagonally opposite the Orthodox Church of St. Petka.
The church was built by the famous master from Bratsigovo Ivan Boyanov. In this biggest Catholic Cathedral in the city of Plovdiv Marie-Louise Burbonska Knyaginya Bulgarian, wife of Prince Ferdinand was buried in 1899.
(Arheologicheski Muzei) C-2, pl. Saedinenie 1, tel. 63 31 06/62 43 39, www. archaeologicalmuseumplovdiv.bg.
The museum was built in 1882 as National Museum of Eastern Rumelia. Its legalizing is done by decree of Tsar Boris III from 1921. In 1928 the museum is placed in the building of pl.
Saedinenie, built during the 80-s of the19th century by the eminent Plovdiv architect Joseph Shniter. The museum is the biggest treasure of archaeological riches of ancient Thrace. The three sections – “Prehistory”, “Antiquity” and “Middle Ages”, contain valuable finds from the Palaeolithic to the early Ottoman period in Bulgarian history (15th-16th century). Unfortunately the Museum is temporarily closed for visitors because of reconstruction work.
Natural Science Museum
D-1, ul. Hristo Danov 34, tel. 62 66 83.
The museum was opened to the public in 1955. The building is the old building of Plovdiv municipality, built in 1880 by the well-known architect Yosif Shniter. The museum is one of the most significant in Bulgaria, with large collections in Palaeontology.
The Museum of History Exposition
“Union of Bulgaria 1885” C-2, pl. Saedinenie 1, tel. 62 94 09, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.historymuseumplovdiv.com
Organized for the first time in 1985, along with the construction of the Unification Memorial, this museum is dedicated to the Unification of East Roumelia with the Bulgarian Principality (September 6th, 1885). The Historical Museum is placed in the beautiful old building constructed by the Czech engineer Brada – a house that once hosted the meetings of the East Roumelia’s governorship.
Parks & Gardens
The city garden (Gradskata Gradina)
This beautiful park, also known as the garden of Tsar Simeon, is a great place to escape from the heat. It’s located just off the Central Square and offers a lot of benches for rest. Inside the park you will find beautiful trees, plants, alleys, different sculptures, monuments and drinking fountains.
There is an artificial lake with a fountain and a children’s playground. In the afternoon you will find the local oldies gathered for a game of chess or cards, in big groups, surrounding the players. Beware of mosquitoes.
Getting around Plovdiv
Bachkovo Monastery is located 29km south of Plovdiv at the foot of the Rhodope Mountains and blends wonderfully with the surroundings. It is the second largest monastery in Bulgaria after Rila and is one of the oldest and richest.
It was built in the 11th century by Prince Gregorios Pakourianos, a prominent Georgian statesman and military commander in Byzantine service in 1083. The monastery was almost completely destroyed by the Turks in the 14th century and rebuilt a century later. The charnel house and the church “Saint Archangels” dating back to the XII century are amongst the parts that survived from the original structure.
The museum of the Monastery has a rich exhibition of church plates, icons, books, wood carved cross with miniatures and the sword of Friedrich Barbarossa, the Crusader, the Sultan’s fireman from 1452. Bachkovo Monastary is a UNESCO site.
On a mere 26 kilometers from Plovdiv you will find the historical town Perushtitsa. Various historical documents say that the name Perushtitsa is derived from Perun, worshipped by the Slav people as the god of thunder and lightning.
The town and area contain many archaeological sites of both Thracian and Roman times.
Hisarya is a small town, north of Plovdiv, located in the outskirts of the Sredna Gora mountain range, it boasts of a very mild climate and over two dozen different mineral springs, which make it a favourite spa for many Bulgarian and foreign tourists.
The mineral water springs gave reason for the foundation of Hisarya over thousands of years back.
Video guide – 10 Things To SEE & DO In PLOVDIV
Here is a quick guide for your visit to Plovdiv by Aaron Explores
The archetypal national tipple is rakiya or brandy, which usually comes as either grozdova rakiya (grape brandy) or slivova (plum). It’s usually served up in 50g or 100g shots and is consumed alongside salad or some other form of nibble – wait-staff will consider you peculiar if you don’t order at least something to snack on while you’re slugging down spirits.
Cafes, bars and restaurants are required by law to provide an area for non-smokers. In practice however this will probably consist of one or two tables surrounded on all sides by
nicotine addicts happily puffing away.
Citizens of the EU, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA can stay in the country visa-free for 90 days. Nationals of other countries should contact the Bulgarian embassies or consulates in their home countries about visa arrangements. Note that visas cannot be obtained at the border.
If you wish to extend your stay beyond the 90-day period you should apply for a residence permit from the Immigration Office, ul. Volga 47, tel. 93 28 78 fax 93 28 88. Open 8:30- 12:00, 13:00-17:30. Closed Sat & Sun.
Airport in Plovdiv
Plovdiv has one airport which is located just outside the city, in the village of Krumovo.
Below you can find more information about the airport:
Tel: +359 32 601 127