It is a big attraction in Plovdiv.It was opened in September 1979.Three coaches and a locomotive are going from Station Pioneer to Station Panorama.The road is a little bit more than 1km long and in the middle it stops on Station Snow-white.There is a bridge, there is a tunnel,just everything you can pass through on a real train.It is made for 72 people.
The train stopped working in 1998 but in September 2007 it started again.Now it is very colorful with pictures,just made for kids.Well,not only,I was there last week and I felt the same as 20 years ago...
Djendem tepe is one of the hill's names of Plovdiv. Its name comes from Turkish meaning 'Hellish hill' ( although the story of its name comes long long time ago,before the Ottomans came in Plovdiv).
This is the legent:
When the Romans came in Plovdiv they couldn't capture it because of the brave population here. Months they were attacking the hill but every time when they started again it was without success. One day, as usual, they went up the hill but there was nobody there.When they reached the top they saw only dead bodies.The Trakians prefered kill themselves than been captured. Then the Romans started to call it the 'Hellish hill'.
Now Djendem tepe is a great place to enjoy your sunny day.It is a walk area.On its top there is a TV and radio tower.I love this place.
Roman Remains - the most famous and best preserved Roman remains is the Roman theatre. Entry 3 lev. There is a cafe at the top of the theatre (before you go into the site) which is a lovely spot for a drink and a view.
There is also a Roman forum which is free to enter. There is a Roman stadium near the mosque and Philip of Macedonia statue.
This house has been restored magnificently. Both the exterior and interior have been authenticly restored.
The museum itself far surpasses the equivalent museum in Sofia (housed in the royal palace) as the exhibits are authentic, varied, and very interesting.
Concerts are also held here periodically.
Well worth a visit
Entry is 5 leva with photography and extra 5 leva
Shiroka Laka Village is a remote village some distance from Plovdiv and it was combined in a tour for me with the Bachkovo Monastery.
Shiroka Laka is famous for its authentic Rhodopean houses set in tiers on both banks of the local river. The old houses were designed in the characteristic architectural style of the Rhodopes by the noted local building masters, and feature two storeys, oriels, built-in cupboards and a small cellar with a hiding place. The thick white walls hide the yard from the outsiders' eyes. The yard is small and slab-covered and has a typical stone drinking fountain in the middle. Some of the most famous houses are those of the Zgurov, Uchikov and Grigorov families.
19 century St.Theotocos (Holy Mother) Church and St.Panteleimonas" School
The local Church of the Holy Mother of God was constructed in 1834 for 38 days according to the legend.
It really is a beautiful village and well worth the visit to see a rural Bulgarian village.
Plovdiv's pedestrian bridge over the River Maritsa is interesting in that it reverts to a style of functional bridge construction which most European cities gave up several hundred years ago. In those days most European cities with rivers running through them built bridges with shops and houses on them so as to make the most cost-effective use of the construction.
Then it was found that bridge-building technolology wasn't actually up to the task and several of the bridges became overladen and collapsed during high river flows. There was also the problem that the structures on the bridges were often built of wood (even if the bridge itself was stone-built) and thus when city fires broke out (as they often did) the river was no longer a fire break.
It's good then to see Plovdiv leading the renaissance of building cost-effective and functional bridges across its river using a bridge building technique which can support loads in all directions - unlike London's joke of a "Millenium Bridge" LOL.
Here you can get from one side of the river to the other sheltered from the elements (and with no wobbling or swaying), do some shopping en-route, and even stop off for a coffee mid-way and watch the local anglers sorting out their supper from the now cleaned-up waters of the Maritsa.
Also, due to the construction, the approaches to both sides of the bridge are wide enough to allow an active alfresco market place when the weather permits.
Good coffee btw and I think only 1.20 leva ;)
Visiting Plovdiv's Municipal Art Gallery is a bit like taking a mini-tour of the city. The six-thousand, nine-hundred (and counting) piece collection of local, Bulgarian and exotic works is spread over five different locations. The main four are within the tourist paradise of the Old Town (all hosted in buildings which themselves are works of art) whilst the Gallery for Temporary Exhibitions is cunningly sited in the middle of the main Knyaz Alexander I shopping street to act as a cultural taster.
The permanent collection gallery is on ul Saborna, the street leading into the old town from the mosque. This houses signicant works from the National Revival period with a focus towards Plovdiv artists. The gallery is arranged over three floors with the ground floor somewhat incongruously offering a Japanese hallway. Unfortunately no photos are allowed but the second website below has some examples of the works.
The other expositions are located around around the old town - the Icon Gallery, also on Soborna; the Enko Pirenchkov Gallery on ul Vasil Kanchev and the Mexican art and Tsanko Lavrenov collections on ul Artin Gidikov.
Entry to each exhibition is 1 lev and they are generally open from 9 to 5.30, with a break for lunch, and closed Sundays. Whichever gallery you start with they'll provide you with a useful map showing the location of the others.
The Romans established a garrison here in 72 AD mainly because of the location on the trade route through the Balkans. The garrison soon grew to become a major city called Trimontium, the City of Three Hills. Why was it called it "Three Hills"? - Hmmmm...I don't know, as the area at the time had seven - maybe they just didn't want to compete with the seven hills of Rome?
Under Roman occupation the city certainly prospered. A major stadium was built, a seven thousand seat theatre, baths, a city centre mall, a proper water and sewerage system, plus of course the housing and infrastructure.
What little that has been uncovered and partially-restored is pretty impresssive, especially the 7,000 seat theatre, and if you set your imagination free whilst walking around the modern Plovdiv it doesn't feel that much different from what I reckon it would have been like a couple of thousand years ago.
Plovdiv has a long tradition of being an artist's city and was a centre of iconography in the Middle Ages. After the liberation from the Turks and eventual re-unification with Bulgaria the city once again became home to many of the Country's best known artists. Today there are over 30 galleries, including the five locations housing the Municipal Fine Arts collection.
Going up towards the Old Town, on the square next to the Dzhumaya Mosque, you'll find local artists selling their works. There's some good stuff here including contemporary icons, town and landscape paintings and all sorts of other bits and bobs.
I can't say that I noticed any prices though and so I assume that if you want to buy something then best sharpen up your bartering skills!
This is Plovdiv's main Metropolitan church and is located in the Old Town. It is unique in Bulgaria by virtue of having a six-storey wooden belltower. It is usually open to the public and features a 21 metre wooden iconostasis. However it wasn't open the day I was there and so I've no details regarding opening times or fees.
St Marina made for a bit interesting research when I was writing this page. Marina was born in the City of Antioch (located in present-day Turkey) in the 3rd century to a pagan family. Her mother died giving birth and her foster mother converted her to Christianity. At age 15 the local king took a fancy to her and wanted to marry her. However Marina had sworn her life to Christ and refused his advances. For this she was imprisoned and tortured in an effort to get her to renounce her faith.
Legend has it that whilst in prison her body miraculously healed itself of the marks of torture. This angered the Devil who appeared in the form of a serpent (or a dragon according to some sources). The two did battle and Marina was triumphant.
She was then condemned as a sorceress and sentenced to be beheaded. At the block she prayed for the executioner's soul and he became a convert and refused to behead her. Marina insisted that he carry out his task, telling him that his soul would be forfeit if he didn't do so. She was thus beheaded and the executioner then beheaded himself. Subsequent visitors to her grave found themselves miraculously cured of their ills and her relics are now stored in an Athens church.
The name Marina is now taken to mean "firm" or "constant" and her name is celebrated in the Orthodox calendar on July 17th. This happens to coincide with the mid-summer feast days of "Goreshtnitsi" (the hottest days) and so she is sometimes referred to as "Marina the Fiery".
A short walk from the Old Town is the hillside park of Bounardjik Tepe, also known as the Liberator's Hill. Unlike the city's cultivated gardens this is more of a woodland and bird sanctuary with paved pathways winding gently up to the 263.8 m summit. For the more energeticly inclined there are also steep stairways which will give the cardio-vascular system a good work-out.
This makes for a pleasant wander and when you reach the summit you have the double monuments of the Soviet liberator Alyosha and the Russian Tsar Alexander II (another liberator). Alyosha is the obligatory Soviet monument, without which no Bulgarian city is complete, and was built in 1955 to commemorate the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany. The monument to Tsar Alexander II celebrates the Russian assistance in gaining Bulgarian Independence from the Turks in 1878. It's not often you'll see both Imperial and Communist monuments in the same place.
Also from the summit are great views over the city and you can see that despite the dense urban conglomeration there's almost as much greenery as there is concrete!
Visit the Tsar Simeon Garden
A lovely park very popular with the local people. During the day you'll find lots of mothers with young children, older people and students all sitting on the benches. It is quite large and doesn't feel crowded at all.
One can walk through the park from the central square (Ploshtad Tsentralen) almost up to the beginning of the climb up the Hill of the Liberators to the Monument to the Russian Soldier.
The main post office, the Tourist Info office and the Roman Forum are all in the same area beginning from Tsentralen Square.
The Tourist Office is new. The people are friendly and want to be helpful, but have limited resources. There is a free map available.
The museum was opened to the public in 1955. The building is the old building of Plovdiv municipality, built in 1880 year by the well-known architect Iosif Shniter. The museum is one of the most significant in Bulgaria, with notably large collections in sections Palaeontology, Mineralogy, and Botany. Space is also devoted to the animal world and in the basement is the larges freshwater aquarium in Bulgaria with 40 kinds of decorative fishes and a few amphibians. Especially valuable is the museum's collection of Rhodope minerals.
Balaban house or the house of Panajot Lampsha was built in the begining of 19th century.
The furnishing of the rooms and the hall is with antik furnitures,textile and other stuff,showing the taste and the possibilities ot the rich people in Plovdiv.Nowadays the house is used as a cultural center for exhibitions,theater staging,etc.
The house of Georgi Mavridi (today's Lamartine House-Museum)was built in 1829 at a corner-spot of three streets, with difference in the levels. While passing through Bulgaria in 1838, the great French poet Alphonse de Lamartine spent only three days in the house of Georgi Mavridi but that was quite enough for the house to be called more often after Lamartine's name rather than its real owner's. Today the house-museum hosts an exposition of photo albums, sculpture of the poet, and the map with Lamartine's route through Bulgaria.
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