The magical city of Plovdiv and why you should visit it

Plovdiv European Capital of Culture 2019. Plovdiv is the first Bulgarian city chosen to be the European Capital of Culture. It is a city with an extremely rich history and culture.

Would you believe that Plovdiv is older than Rome, Athens and Constantinople? Yes, it is hard to believe but it is true. The enchantment of the city is undeniable.

Once you step foot here you would never want to leave.

Many people who come to visit from all over the world can confirm that. It is a place where you can step into ancient times and walk the roads that many kings and emperors have walked.

History says that Plovdiv is 8000 years old – a number we can hardly imagine. Because of that, it is considered one of the oldest in Europe.

Plovdiv European Capital of Culture 2019

The city has historically developed on seven syenite hills, some of which are 250 metres high. Because of these hills, Plovdiv is often referred to in Bulgaria as “The City of the Seven Hills”.

Plovdiv European Capital of Culture 2019
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Plovdiv European Capital of Culture 2019

Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria and is located in the south part of the country between the Rhodope Mountains and the Central Balkan, a location like no other. Almost equal distance separates it from the capital Sofia and the Black Sea Coast making it a preferred tourist destination for people from all over the world.

This year is an emblematic one for Plovdiv. The city was elected for European Capital of Culture 2019 along with Matera in Italy. Throughout the year there are many scheduled events, festivals and performances that you would not want to miss. It is a destination you must visit if you happen to be in this part of Europe.

Old city street view with colorful buildings in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
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Plovdiv has many points of interest if you decide to explore it. The multiple sightseeing spots and attractions are also symbols of Bulgaria that carry pieces of history and ancient culture in them.

What to see in the city and which are the main sightseeing points and attractions?

Plovdiv Old Town

Without a doubt, most of the Bulgarian people and visitors connect Plovdiv with one of its landmarks – the charming Old Town.

Its cobblestoned tiny streets tell stories and lead you to explore the hidden places and the old houses. Under the mighty hills surrounding the Plovdiv Old Town, there are still buildings from the ancient Roman times.

Also here you can see the typical for this region Bulgarian houses. They have multicoloured walls outside and inside with many artsy and wood-carved elements.

One of the most beautiful houses of this type is the Balabanov house – do not miss it.

Plovdiv Old Town
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Plovdiv Old Town

Plovdiv Roman Theatre

Certainly one of the most iconic buildings with rich archaeological heritage is the ancient Plovdiv Roman Theatre – one of the best-preserved theatres of this type in the world. Moreover, we are not just saying that. The ancient theatre was built by Emperor Trajan and accommodated up to 3500 people. In present days many events are held here including the Verdi Festival and the International Folklore Festival. There is a mighty energy at this place. Once in the centre of the theatre, you can almost feel and experience the old times. This is one of the most visited places not only in Plovdiv but in Bulgaria as well.

the ancient Roman theatre in the Old Town of Plovdiv
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Plovdiv Roman Theatre

The Roman Stadium

Built-in the beginning of the 2nd century, the Roman Stadium is unique – only 12 of its kind are preserved in the world. In the past, many competitions and gladiator and animal fights were held here.

In ancient times, the stadium collected about 30,000 spectators.

There are 2 parts of 14 rows of seats each separated by a stairway. The seats are made from huge marble blocks. The stadium is located in the centre of the city under the main pedestrian street.

Another interesting fact about it is that in 1980 the Olympic fire was set here overnight on its way to Moscow.

The Roman Stadium in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
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Roman Stadium

Nebet Tepe

Nebet Tepe is one of the hills of Plovdiv where the remains of the ancient Thracian town, Eumolpias, lie here. In 342 BC Philip of Macedon conquers the Thracian settlement of Nebet tepe.

This hill is one of the seven historic hills where today’s Bulgarian city of Plovdiv was founded.

As the town expanded, Nebet Tepe became the citadel of the town’s acropolis, the highest point of the three hills. There are remains of a fortress wall and tower.

There is also a secret tunnel from the time of Justinian (4th century) leading down to the Maritsa River.

Today’s Nebet Tepe is famous for its panoramic view of Plovdiv and the surrounding mountains in the distance. The remains of the earliest settlement in Plovdiv are randomly scattered stones.

The vibes up here are very calming and it is a popular meeting place for young lovers.

Beautiful cityscape of the skyline of Plovdiv, Bulgaria, seen from the hill Nebet Tepe in the medieval part of the city called Old Town
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Nebet Tepe, Plovdiv

Visit Plovdiv and enjoy relaxing spa

The magical city of Plovdiv can be perfectly combined with a relaxing spa. Hot springs are everywhere.

For those who seek absolute serenity, relaxation and Spa treatments, indulge yourself in swimming pools with hot mineral water.

There are excellent hotels and spa centres in Hisarya, Starosel and Varvara.

Discover the European Capital of Culture and enjoy a relaxing spa break!

Spa resort Hisarya, Bulgaria
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Spa resort Hisarya
Plovdiv European Capital of Culture 2019
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