Country: Bulgaria – Date of visit: August 2018
Knyaz Alexander I Street
The European Capital of Culture 2019 is a lovely city with a lot of attractions, from Roman monuments to 19th century residences, including Turkish baths and mosques.
Even though it is the second city in Bulgaria in terms of population, the main points of interest are concentrated in an area that can be explored on foot. So, meanwhile you stay in Plovdiv you can forget about the car and even public transport.
The footprint of the Romans in Plovdiv is very visible. The best preserved monument is the Ancient Theater, where shows are still held during the summer season. But the most surprising thing is to find part of the stands of the old Stadium in the middle of the main commercial hub.
The mosaics of the Basilica, the Forum and the ruins of an ancient avenue flanked by columns are some of the essential visits to realize the greatness of Plovdiv (Philippopolis) under Roman rule.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Bulgaria experienced a period of National Revival. This period is remarkable for its characteristic architecture which can still be observed in most buildings in the Old Town, many of which now converted into museums.
The Kuyumdzhioglu House, with an impressive façade built in 1847, stands out for its beauty and for being the seat of the Regional Ethnographic Museum.
The highest point of the Old Town is known as Nebet Tepe (the Guardians Hill). There are the ruins of the ancient Thracian city, more than 4,000 years old. From there you can also enjoy interesting views of the city.
Kapana was an old artisan neighborhood that was quite run down. Nowadays it is one of the most fashionable areas in the city, with unique shops, art galleries, bars and restaurants. Kapana is alive both day and night.
Also known as “Chifte” Ottoman Baths, this 14th century building is currently a center for contemporary art. While visiting the different rooms of the old baths you can see the works that are exhibited.
Bachkovo is the second largest monastery in Bulgaria. It was founded in the 11th century and rebuilt in varous stages. Different cultures (Byzantine, Bulgarian and Georgian) come together in this monastic complex, where the wall paintings are the main attraction.
Bachkovo Monastery is about 30 km from Plovdiv. On the way there is the Assen fortress, which is worth visiting for its location, the spectacular views and its small church.