Old town (1)
The old town of Plovdiv is buil don three hills, Nebet Tepe, Djambaz Tepe and Taxim Tepe,
and it contains 19 th century Renaissance architecture (also known as the ‘national revival’ period) Others would prefer to call it the baroque of Plovdiv since it features stylish, colourful simplicity. Since old Plovdiv is an open air museum it will be preserved for the future. The area has more than 150 monuments. Within this large open air museum you find many houses turned into museums as well. But many houses also house art galleries, restaurants and shops. Also crafts and arts can be found in the form of painters and wood-carvers. And on Strumna Street you see coppersmiths, furriers and potters. The best examples of the Plovdiv baroque are etnographical museum house (Koiumjioglu house), the national revival museum (Georgiadi house) and the Zlatyo Boyajiev house (the house of Chomaka), also the well known Balabanov house (an art gallery and concert hall), the Lamartin house (where the writer lived) Maybe the Bulgarian national Revival is best expressed in the “Old Plovdiv” painting by Lavrenov. The houses in the old town have carved wooden ceilings and walls are decorated. The houses have European furniture, very elegant. Between the houses you walk on steep, cobble stone streets and you see lanes with bow windows above them. Bright coloured houses with harmonious patterns. Windows have wooden shuttles, and behind high walls with gates there are gardens that have fruittrees and roses. There are wells and fountains, through the paps water is running. Streets are sometimes super narrow, where the houses nearly touch eachother. The two-and three storey houses with their multi-coloured facades just look like little palaces. In the Renaissance period also many churches were build, such as the St Konstantin and Helena (1832) and the St. Marina (1853).
Old town (2)
The old town is Plovdiv’s most interesting and prominent landmark. It attrackts visitors from all over the world. In the 18 th century Plovdiv was the countries centre of enlightment and it was known for its economical and political activity. This led to the development of a quarter
in the hills area where the cultural elite came to live. Many of the houses of these prominents have now different functions and are therefore accessible. (as museum, shops even dormitory). In the Renaissance, plovdiv was the cultural center of Bulgaria. So you can imagine the importance of the old town in these days. Its athmosphere is still preserved amd the numourous decorated churches, the folklore and the relics in the houses are reminding us of the Bulgarian spirit. The Hills of the towns are worth climbing. Bounardjik hill had a statue of Heracles at its top once. The highest hill in Plovdiv (283 m) is called Djendem Tepe, which had a sanctuary and later a temple for Apollo. The lowest hill, Markovo Tepe, is almost razed to the ground.
As Krastev already said, the town of Plovdiv gives inspiration. So there has to be a creative power coming from the city. Nowadays you can experience this by the many musicians, writers and other artists and performing groups. The city has numerous of cultural events. The Chambre Music International Festival in the Old Town goes on for 30 years now, the Golden Chest International TV Film Festival is been organized by the Bulgarian National Television for 20 years, the Golden Rithon International Festival of Documentary Films is organized by the National Film Center since the eighties. There is a Verdi festival in the Amfitheater, and also the International Folklore Festivalat the end of the summer an event known in Bulgaria and abroad. In 1999 Plovdiv organized the European Month of Culture Program. On the normal stages in the city and on ad hoc culture spaces this was the biggest cultural event in Bulgaria at the turn of the century. Metallica, Appocalyptica, Grand Funk, Richie Blackmore and many others took part in it. The Drama Theatre has the first professional theatre group in Bulgaria founded in 1881. Founded in 1953, the Plovdiv Opera has had professional acknowledgements not only in Bulgaria, but also abroad.. Another icon of Plovdiv culture is the Philarmonic, founded in 1945. They play classic and modern. The orchestra toured in almost all of the European countries. The "Trakia" Folklore Ensemble, which was founded in 1974, has a history of thousands of concerts in the country and abroad in 40 countries around the globe and they had a nomination for the Grammy Awards. The Plovdiv musical culture has a wide range of genres. Religious choirs, classic choirs and jazz (White, Green, Red). Art: the town has held the first art exhibition of the country in the 19 th century. Names such as Zograf and Boyadjiev are connected to Plovdiv.There are about 300 artists living in Plovdiv and the streets of old Plovdiv are the ideal place for expositions. More than 20 galleries can be found in town. Literature center, it is understandable that Plovdiv has the countries oldest library, the Ivan Vazov. It still has rare Bulgarian and European publications
The “Open Stage” Festival
The festival program includes folklore singing-and-dancing concerts, with the participation of individual performers and bands from Plovdiv and the Plovdiv region, as well as concerts of popular pop and rock groups and singers from all over the country. The open-air stage also hosts various chamber theatrical and puppet-show performances.
The rocky plateau which rises 50 m up is an unusual and beautiful place,near the village of Sini Vruh 30 km in Plovdiv region. The plateau is strange and majestic because of its remarkable terraced niches, stony reservoirs, unusual system of canals, strange rocky rings, ancient staircase, mystic stony sphinx. Arriving at this place,you can see a human profile that is easily discerned from the south. According to one of the famous legends, this is the guard of the unique phenomenon-Belintash. The sacred rock is distinguished with marble palaces, temples and tombs.
The name "Belintash" could be translated either as "the Stone of Knowledge" or "the Rock of War". It is believed that Belintash is the Bulgarian Stonehenge. It is told that Belintash is a tribal sanctuary of the Thracian tribe Bessie or a place where the ancient library with wisdom of Ancient Thracians is hidden. People really believe that Belintash is the place of great treasures or a sample of an ancient unique observatory.