Plovdiv may not have a mountain like Sofia, but it’s got its seven beautiful hills, just like Rome. And just like the Eternal City, Plovdiv has a lot to show and say to its visitors.
One interesting fact to begin this text with is that Bulgaria’s second biggest city is actually not that much younger than its famous Italian counterpart, having been inhabited ever since 6000 BC or so. Many a different folk lived on its territory and bequeathed a rich collection of architectural monuments and landmarks of historical and cultural importance to us. The Thracians left the remains of the town of Evmolpia; the Romans gave us the Ancient Theatre, the Odeon, the Stadium, and the Aqueduct; the Ottomans built Dzhumaya Mosque; and the affluent Bulgarian merchants of the 19th century were responsible for all the emblematic houses of the Bulgarian National Revival Period. A single walk around the paved alleys of the Old Town opens a thousand doors to the past. Enter whichever one you want to get a whole bag of unforgettable memories. Or climb one of the hills of the city to marvel at the amazing scenes they reveal.
The Roman Theatre in the Old Town is often regarded as Plovdiv’s most important cultural venue as it hosts a huge number of concerts, plays and other artistic performances every year. The city has some of the nicest taverns and restaurants in the country, too. They vary immensely in style and you will see them all across town. So no matter if you are roaming the cobblestone lanes of the historical district or walking along the city’s main pedestrian street, you will always find a place where to get something delicious to eat and drink.
Plovdiv’s surroundings have a lot to offer as well. Pamporovo in the Rhodope Mountains is one of the most popular and visited ski resorts in Bulgaria, so if you are keen on skiing or snowboarding this is the place to be. It is also great for hiking and mountain biking in the summer and lies just 85 km south of the city. On your way there you shouldn’t miss the medieval fortress of Tsar Ivan II near the town of Asenovgrad, Bachkovo Monastery and the Marvellous Bridges, a stunningly beautiful rock formation. On the rocky summit of a mountain hill in the Eastern Rhodopes 100 km southeast of Plovdiv lies the ancient Thracian town of Perpericon. It is for tourists with affinity for history and nature. With its ancient fortress and mineral spas the town of Hisarya, located 45 km north of the city, is for those who love to relax and praise the healing power of water.
Photo by E.Bliznashka