Plovdiv is the fifth oldest town in the world after Jericho, Biblos, Suza and Damascus where life has never stopped.
Plovdiv has a remarkable cultural historical heritage and rich, varied millenary history. Ancient town’s history takes us back to the sixth millennium BC when on the territory of today’sPlovdiv appear the first prehistoric settlements. They bear the conventional name of “settlement mounds” and they appear in the neolith. In the course of time the town has different names: Eumolpias, Pulpudeva, Trimontium (the town of the three hills – Nebet Tepe, Taxim Tepe and Djambaz Tepe), Puldin, Philippopolis, Filibe /Fillibe, Phillibe/, Plovdiv.
The ancient Theatre is one of the most important monuments of the rich architectural heritage of the ancient town. It was built at the beginning of the second century AD at the time of the Roman Emperor Trajan.
The theatre is located in the natural col between Djambaz Tepe and Taxim Tepe.
The Ancient Roman Stadium is situated in the slope between Sahat Tepe and the three united hills called Trimontium, on the square space in front of “Djumaya Mosque”. It was built in Philippopolis in the second century AD. The size of this sports facility is imposing: length 250 metres, width 74 metres. The Ancient Stadium could hold about 30 000 spectators who watched gladiator battles and sports competitions – Pythian, Alexandrian and Kendrisian games.
The Roman Odeon is the second (or the little) Philippopolis Ancient Theatre, which has four construction stages in the period I – IV century and seats for 350 spectators.
The building was built as a bulevterion – the seat of the Town Council and later, in the middle of the III century, it was reconstructed as a little house-theatre for musical, literature and other cultural events – Odeon.
The Archaeological Complex “Eirene” is located at the southern foot of the three hills, on the northern part of the ancient Roman street in the Archaeological Subway. The Complex is part of a peristylish residential building from the III – IV century which has polyhromatic floor mosaics and it was most likely used as a residence of an eminent citizen of Philippopolis. “Eirene” is the Christian name of Penelope – a maiden from the city of Magadon, who adopted Christianity in the second century. The representative part of the building has differently coloured floor mosaics, which impress the visitor with their geometrical and figured effigies.
The city of Plovdivis located among seven hills in the valley of the Maritsa River. The big number of cultural layers determines today’s view of theOld Town. The ancient, medieval and Renaissance monuments coexist in a unique harmony. The archaeological sites, museums and galleries with valuable items, historical buildings, active temples having rich history and decoration, cosy hotels, cafes and restaurants, school buildings, newer residence buildings, picturesque cobbled streets – this is the Old Plovdiv.
In the OldTown are located the following orthodox temples:
The Cathedral Sveto Uspenie Bogorodichno /Virgin Mary’s Holy Assumption Cathedral/. Today’s building dates back to 1884.
Saint Nikolay’s Temple(since 1835, a chapel of the above mentioned cathedral).
The temple St. St. Konstantin and Elena (1832).
The icon exposition-museum.
The temple St. Nedelya (1832)
The temple Sveto Uspenie Bogorodichno (since 1829, a chapel of the temple St. Nedelya)
The temple St. Petka-Stara (1836, known as well as St. Paraskeva)
The temple St. Dimitar Solunski (1838).
In the heart of the Old Plovdiv is situated the Armenian church Surp Kevork (Saint Georgi).
Here are located the Renaissance houses – monuments of culture, which impress with their architecture in exterior and interior, wood-carving, ornaments and functionality.
Kuyumdjioglu’s House – now The Ethnographic Museum
Dr Stoyan Chomakov’s House – now Zlatyu Boyadjiev Gallery
Dr Sotir Antoniadi’s House
Damova House – today the Folklore Faculty of the Academy of Music and Dance Arts is placed there.
Hadji Aleko’s House – now Filipopolis Gallery, which keeps the traditions and confirms the name of Plovdiv as a town ,connected with the names of the Renaissance men of art: Dimitar and Zahari Zograph, Stanislav Dospevski, Georgi Danchov and after the Liberation period: Ivan Markvichka, Anton Mitov, the basic figures of modern Bulgarian pictorial art – Hristo Stanchev, Sirak Skitnik, David Peretz, Tsanko Lavrenov, Zlatyu Boyadjiev, the founders of the Plovdivian School of the 60s – Yoan Leviev, Georgi Bozhilov, Dimitar Kirov, Encho Pironkov, Hristo Stefanov.
A large number of periodical cultural events take place inPlovdiv:
An International chamber music festival, which takes place at the Ethnographic Museum.
Verdi International Music Festival, which takes place at the Ancient Theatre.
An International art plain-air
An International folklore festival
National autumn exhibitions
A week of modern art
Night of museums and galleries
The Day of theOld Town
International photographers’ meetings
Plovdiv combines ancient time and modernity in a natural way. Its millenial history could be uniquely experienced through the cosy Renaissance spaces adapted to the modern city.