Plovdiv, Bulgaria. What more can be said to summarise Plovdiv in one short statement other than ‘it is a testament to the history of civilization’. To say that it is an ‘old city’ is an understatement, with a vast settlement history stretching past 4000BC, making it not only one of the oldest in Europe, but the world. To think about the diverse amounts of cultures that have called this city ‘home’ over the past 6000 years is staggering, with Thracians, Greeks, Romans, Bulgars, Slavs and Turks, all to leave their mark on the cities architecture and culture.
The old city itself is a mix of ancient Roman theaters and Plovdiv’s own unique architectural style from the 19th Century, the colours used are alike those of Latin American towns, which just adds to the curiosity of the city. The stonework of the roads and walls are alike many original Balkan streets, however the care and devotion of the city towards maintaining its charm is not unnoticed.
There of course is the old Ottoman style of the city with centuries old mosques with minarets, still looking as impressive as the day they were built! Not to forget the obviously beautifully decorated Bulgarian Orthodox Churches. In the centre of the old town the streets are similar to those of most Western European business districts, with later styled architecture, however to me it just adds further to the appeal of Plovdiv.
The biggest appeal to me is how authentic this city is despite it still having a relatively large population; it is as though whilst it’s unique flair and spirit seems new it is amazing to know that its style has lasted centuries! Personally I would love exploring the stone streets of the old town and just take in the amazing architecture and flair of the city.
There are lots to do and see in Plovdiv, whether you are an art buff or love to immerse yourself in history and ruins of the distant past. There are ancient mosaics, an amazingly partially intact roman aqueduct, not to mention the main sights of the Odeon and Amphitheater! An interesting fact is that the Amphitheater was only discovered no more than 40 years ago, buried underneath the city centre! It has been beautifully uncovered and can be toured. This is just amazing as the centuries past so much has been covered up, despite the size (it could sit half the cities 1st century population of 60,000!), just makes you think of what treasures are still yet to be discovered in the most unusual places!
To get into Plovdiv these days is quite diverse and plentiful, with trains and buses from Sofia and even Istanbul! The nearby airport though small still has flights from Milan, London and Frankfurt, and then there is the trusty car, in which you can travel along the newly upgraded motorway from Sofia or Burgas!
This amazing town is defiantly high on my trip list as is many places in the Balkans, if any of you have been there please let me know on your experiences! Hope you enjoyed the read!