Plovdiv, Bulgaria is one of the world’s oldest cities. Located somewhat centrally, on seven hills, in the Thracian Valley of Bulgaria it offers moderate climate and four distinct seasons. It is considered to be the second largest city in the country and has been nominated as European Capital of Culture for 2019. Plovdiv is famous for its rich history, dating back to 6th century BC, and is rich in archaeological sites. Today Plovdiv offers a unique combination of the past and present, where numerous activities, exhibits, competitions and venues offer a variety of entertainment and educational programs for young and old. The city is loved by locals and becoming more popular every year among tourists. It is said that once absorbed by Plovdiv’s aristocratic and welcoming spirit no one wants to leave and many come back. More and more people relocate permanently to this small European gem.
WHAT IS PLOVDIV?
Bulgaria’s Plovdiv is the typical European city. Most people crowd the squares of major Western European metropolitans, such as Paris, Rome, London, Barcelona, and others but most of those are so commercialized that there is not much left of the typical European spirit. You may ask: “But what exactly is the European spirit?” or wonder:”If I can’t find it in Paris, then where else?” The typical European spirit is a sense of belonging, aristocracy, blossoming culture, new ideas, thriving art and where intellectuals work for the improvement of society. All of this you can find and witness in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Plovdiv is also a place where you can meet people from all over the world who share common dreams, goals, and ideals. It is a town that offers a hospitable environment and Plovdians [in Bulgarian: пловдивчани] will quickly introduce you to daily life here and help you feel better than you have ever felt at home. A good way to become a part of the international community of the city is via Facebook, of course, and joining the “Expats in Plovdiv” group. The hospitality starts right there!
Rome was once an idea that grew into an empire. Plovdiv, Bulgaria was part of that idea for centuries and today it still holds true and stands up to those high standards for social life, economic prosperity and sustainability.
WHY DO PEOPLE COME TO PLOVDIV?
Plovdiv’s tourist industry has been flourishing and increasing every year. People come from all over the world to walk the streets of the Old Town where multiple tourist shops offer handmade souvenirs at very reasonable prices. They usually take a stroll up to Nebet Hill, admire the beauty of the city, then go down to look at and take photos of the old houses from the Renaissance era, and perhaps if there is a time a nice meal in one of the traditional Bulgarian restaurants will do for an end of the trip. However, the Old Town of Plovdiv is more than that. It is where the “heart of the city is”. It is the place where the culture was first born through the Thracian tribes or later with the 17th and 18th century merchants and craftsmen. The Old Town holds the true story of the city. As you take a stroll through its narrower side streets you will see clues from life ‘back then’ and you will feel what life in the city really was. Those streets are everywhere, but not many tourists take the time to explore them. Don’t worry, they are completely safe, especially during daylight, but also quite romantic at night time. Just pay attention to your steps as the roads are made with cobblestones. Ladies, sorry to disappoint you, but high heels are not recommended for the Old Town of Plovdiv!
After taking a stroll through the main historic part of the city, tourists will also go and visit the Roman Stadium, the Ancient Roman Theatre, which also is used today for many concerts and performances, and probably end the day at the Trap district [in Bulgarian: капана]. The Trap district has been recently restored and is crowded with crafts shops, unique in style coffee shops, restaurants, etc. It is like a maze, so if you want to get out of there easily remember the way you came in! There you can also find some funky bars with live music and young people doing a “bar marathon”, especially on the weekends. The Trap has lots to offer, but as you walk through there pay attention to what’s above you, i.e, take a closer look at the architecture of the buildings. Each one is different in style and construction. Each street of the Kapana district is named after what it once upon a time used to be: the street of the cobbler, the street of the iron craftsmanship, etc.
This is basically where tourists go when they come to visit Plovdiv. Those are the main places. If you really want to know how Plovdians live and what they do for fun, please continue to follow our blog and social media pages as more articles are to come.
TIPS FOR TRIPS:
Note: Watch out for thieves roaming through the Center of Plovdiv, Bulgaria looking for your pockets or for random people stopping you and asking for money!