Fun things to do in Plovdiv

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    by mindcrime
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    small macket of the stadium
    by mirchica
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    Roman Plovdiv and the ancient roman theatre

    by mindcrime Written Apr 8, 2012

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    The romans arrived in the area in 72AD establishing a small garrison to protect the trade transfers. The area was in strategic position so soon it became a normal town called Trimontium (city of the three hills). The romans as elsewhere they created a typical roman town with beautiful buildings, baths, roman agora, an aqueduct, two theaters and a huge stadium.

    There are not many things you can see from that era today, actually we were disappointed on our attempt to see the fractions of the Roman Coliseum that was discovered under Dzhumaya mosque, the whole area was under restoration so I tried to see through the small hole and what I saw didn’t impress me(pic 3) as there is just a small part you can see. But later that day I’ve read all the details about it. The mosque is at the end of the main pedestrian street of Plovdiv which sits above the huge stadium that was built by Septimus Severus at the end of second century and used for the Alexandrian games. It was a really big and impressive stadium, 180 meters long with 30,000 seats (the rostrums were built over two hills, Sahat tepe and Taxim tepe.

    Hopefully, 3’ away from there up on the Old Town you can see the ancient Roman Theatre (pics 1-2). It was founded in the 1970s but took them some years to remove the 15 meter deep and thick layer of mud but finally it was restored and now still in use during the summer months for concerts, dances and local festivals. This huge amphitheatre that can hold up to 7,000 people was built during the reign of emperor Trajan (2nd century AD) but it got seriously damaged by Attila the Hun in the 5th century.

    It is open to the public daily 8.00-18.00 and the entrance fee is 3 leva or you can save them and drink a coffee at the café on the top of theatre. I preferred to go in and check some of the long steles that have numerous inscriptions in greek.

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    Nebet Tepe

    by mindcrime Updated Apr 8, 2012

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    It wasn’t hard to walk up to Nebet Tepe (hill of prayer) as it is just the top point of the hill where Old Town is, 2’ walk from Ethnographic Museum.

    The hill is 203m high so you have a nice view of the city although it was very windy that morning and we could barely hold the camera still. Looking around we saw some ruins, the area was used by Thracians to build their first settlement, we’re talking about 7000 year ago, later Macedonians arrived and the town was named Philipopolis(Philip’s town in greek, after King Philip of Macedonia) but also romans, ottomans and Bulgarians used the area as a fortress due to its location. Don’t expect to see something impressive, just some layers of ruins and old stones that archeologists brought to life through excavations. The most important items are in the museum of course so most of the visitors just walk around and try to find a good spot for taking pictures :)

    From Nebet Tepe we saw the other hills of Plovdiv too, although the plan was to walk to Bunardzhika Hill we preferred to go for some beers in the afternoon. At Bunardzhika Hill is located the monument of Alyosha, it was built in 1955 to commermorate the liberation from the Nazis by Soviet Army during WWII. I guess the view from there must be great too (probably even better) but as I said in late February we preferred a warm pub…

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    Sveta Bogorodica church

    by mindcrime Written Apr 8, 2012

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    Sveta Bogorodica church was the first church we visited in Plovdiv. Walking up Saborna street we saw the stairs that lead to a chairs with a lovely bell tower in blue & pink colors!

    The three aisle church was built in 1844 but tower (in Russian style) was added in 1880 after the Bulgarian liberation. The church is dedicated to Holy Virgin like the previous church that was there since 9th century, laterl became a monastery and demolished by ottomans when the conquered the town in 1371.

    The interior isn’t dark as in other Bulgarian churches so we could enjoy some nice murals from 19th century (showing saints but also scenes from daily life, the most interesting was the one showing a turk putting in trouble some locals), most of the murals were made by Nicola Odrinchanin.

    After visiting the church we stood for some minutes on the front yard where there are some benches, the sun was still bright enough and we loved the fact there was no one around…

    The church is open daily 7.30-18.30 with the morning mass at 8.00am

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    A Lovely Walk

    by unaS Updated Aug 4, 2008

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    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.

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    Assenova Fortress

    by mirchica Written May 21, 2008

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    Asenova Fortress is situates in the Rhodope Mountains, 2-3 km sout of the town of Asenovgrad
    The earliest archaeological findings date from the time of the ThraciansThe fortress gained importance in the Middle Ages, first mentioned in the statute of the Bachkovo Monastery as Petrich in the 11th century. The fortress was conquered by the armies of the Third Crusade. It was considerably renovated in the 13th century during the rule of Bulgarian tsar Ivan Asen II to serve as a border fortification against Latin raids, as evidenced by an eight-line wall inscription.

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    Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts

    by mindcrime Updated Apr 9, 2012

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    Many of the lovely restored housed in Old Town of Plovdiv are turned into museums but we had to get closer and read the sign to see what is each one. This building seemed great, I thought it was another museum but it is Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts. It covers a big variety of themes (stage and costume design, painting, modeling, visual arts, animation, lighting etc) offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

    It was closed but we loved the side wall (pic 1) and the smart sculpture on the front (pic 2) that will give you some nice photo ideas. I guess inside they have much more like this but we didn’t check.
    On the left of the building we noticed another sculpture (pic 3), a monument I guess but I couldn’t find information about it as the small sign was in Bulgarian only.

    Edit (thanks to my VTfriend mirchica that lives in Plovdiv):
    The house is actually an art gallery, the real academy is just next to the ancient theater, The monument in front of the gallery is of Tsanko Lavrenov - famous Bulgarian painter.

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    main square

    by mindcrime Written Apr 8, 2012

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    Arriving in Plovdiv by train/bus you have to walk 10’ to the center. The first thing you see is the square Stefan Stambolov which is the main square of Plovdiv.

    I noticed a nice fountain, some benches that look like buttons (!) and numerous open air cafes full of people, tourists and locals, a great spot to see people passing by. It was a sunny morning but still in February the temperatures where very low so we decided to walk around a bit and check some of the buildings.

    The Town Hall building (pic 3) seems very nice especially if you compare it with some ugly ones like the huge Post Office(pic 4) which is located a bit south of the square on the same pedestrian street. We took a picture, we fed the pigeons and started to walk up the main pedestrian street.

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    People watch

    by ellielou Written Oct 25, 2006

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    I'll admit it: this sounds rather rude and a bit boring and something not tip worthy. However, those who think such a thing have obviously never been to Plovdiv. As I said in the overview, Plovdiv is Bulgaria's land of fashionistas. And, not only is it, perhaps, the Balkan's fashion capital, there is a main pedestian street, lined with cafes, that make people watching the natural activity for this area.

    And, what people watching it is! You'll see hair colors not found in nature, at least not on this planet. Impossibly high spiked heels propelling painfully skinny women. All manner of fake furs around jacket colors. Jeans strategically ripped and bejeweled. Shirts sporting nonsensical writing. Leopard print tops and pants that make you wonder if that animal has any idea what his coat is being used for. The list goes on. It is gaspable.

    The question when you're there: is this one big fashion DO or one big fashion DON'T? There doesn't seem to be any room for middle ground here. And, people do strut there stuff along this street....it's a see and be seen kind of place. It would be rude, I think, not to be part of the audience!

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    Atanas Krastev House

    by ellielou Written Oct 25, 2006

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    While there are several house museums in Plovdiv, this one was, without a doubt, my favorite.

    Krastev was both a conservationist, who helped get Plovdiv its historic status, a painter, and a friend to many of Plovdiv's artists. Unlike some of the other house museums, which are great buildings but turned into galleries, this one is very much a house, with dining room, living room, and study, but with interesting and mostly contemporary artwork all around.

    There is also a courtyard, where they also show current artists. (And, this artwork is for sale.)

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    Philipopolis Art Gallery

    by ellielou Written Oct 25, 2006

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    This is the largest "house museum" that I saw, and probably the most "established gallery." Philipopolis Gallery is in a very large house, with a cafe in the back courtyard.

    The house is lovely and grand, and most of the art and furniture in the house is from the 19th century. As with all the house and other art museums, the focus is on Bulgarian art. Very interesting.

    Finally, we were there during the "Night of Museums and Galleries," and the gallery was packed. My apologies for not having better photos. I had hoped to go back, to take my time (and have space) for seeing the art, but it didn't happen.....

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    A walk in Djendem tepe

    by mirchica Updated Mar 17, 2011

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    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.

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    Natural Science Museum

    by mirchica Written Jun 24, 2008

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    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.

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    The rowing channel

    by mirchica Updated Mar 17, 2011

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    Very preferable place for sport and walks.There is one big channel/2km long.Also there are playgrounds for footbal,volleyball,basketball,tennis,etc.In September 2011 the European rowing championship will take place there.
    You can have a coffe or beer just next to the water.

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    The children's railway

    by mirchica Updated Mar 17, 2011

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    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...

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    Historical museum

    by mirchica Updated Mar 17, 2011

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    Established in 1951, the Historical museum covers the history of Plovdiv from the 15th century until today (the older history is presented in the Plovdiv Archeological Museum). It has three departments, each occupying a separate historic building.
    The Bulgarian National Revival department, situated in the large house of the Greek merchant from Thessaloniki Dimitris Georgiadi built 1846, takes up 825 m² and traces the history of Plovdiv from the 15th to the 19th century(Located in the old town).
    The Unification of Bulgaria department is dedicated to Plovdiv's key role in the events of 6 September 1885 as the capital of Eastern Rumelia. It covers the period from the Treaty of Berlin of 1878 to the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885. The department occupies the former building of the Eastern Rumelian Regional Assembly (Parliament) designed by the Savoy architect Pietro Montani and built 1883-1885.
    The book-publishing department follows the stages of development of the publishing during the Bulgarian National Revival and Plovdiv's role as its centre. The department takes up six halls in the house of the noted publisher and enlightener Hristo Danov from the early 19th century.

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