Plovdiv is a city where history is buried by more history, literally. Beneath the streets sits Thracian ruins over 6,000 years old and ancient roman ruins, and atop all this sits colorful, bright architecture from the 1920s Revival period, now itself a part of history and therefore impossible to tear down to expose the older parts of the city that lay beneath.
Plovdiv was another pleasant surprise in Bulgaria, and quite unique from both Sofia and Veliko. While Sofia boasts it's colorful Byzantine and Ottoman buildings and imposing Communist-era relics, Veliko touts it's antiquated cobblestone streets and it's rolling hills and small, unassuming village charm, and then there's Plovdiv where at once you are bombarded with all of Bulgarians history, ancient and recent, in one place, along with its attempt to modernize and be a pinnacle of European culture.
There are two main parts of Plovdiv, the main pedestrianized boulevard and then "old town" which is also pedestrianized where boutique hotels and art stores line the jagged cobblestone paths.
Contrasting this up-and-coming neighborhood is the old town, a pedestrianized zone of old buildings, ruins, and cobblestone streets. The Romans originally referred to Plovdiv as the city of 3 hills (though now it has been expanded to consume 7) and the old town sits atop one of these hills. Old town is where once again ancient Thracian and Roman ruins are juxtaposed next to 1920s wooden buildings. In the 1920s, the merchants who lived in old town had a competition among themselves as to who had a more beautiful house. No consensus has yet been reached.
|My personal favorite revivalist building is now the Ethnographic Museum|
Also in old town is the Roman theater, which, like the stadium, was built in the 1st century. Again, no evidence existed that this theater existed, so it was only recently discovered in the 1970s. The theater used to sit around 8,000 people and were used for performances and animal and gladiator fights. Today the theater hosts nightly shows during the summer where locals preform classic and modern material.
|Church of the Holy Assumption of Mary|