Plovdiv, the European Capital of Culture 2019, has also other things to offer
When you, dear SCIJ friends, climb up just a dozen of steps above one of the busiest central boulevards of the city, then you will be away from the traffic noise and find yourself in another world, a few centuries back in a romantic atmosphere amidst nice houses from the 18th and 19th century AD and well-preserved remains from Roman times.
You are in Plovdiv – Bulgaria’s second biggest city (350 000 inhabitants) and our second stopover during the 65th SCIJ Annual Meeting. You are lucky to be in a city, considered to be the oldest still living one in Europe, with nearly 8 000 years of history.
The old town in Plovdiv is an architectural and historical reserve located on three of Plovdiv’s hills: Nebet Tepe, Dzhambaz Tepe and Taksim Tepe.
The complex has been formed as a result of the long sequence of habitation from prehistoric times to present day and combines the culture and architecture from Antiquity, Middle Ages and Bulgarian revival. The old town in Plovdiv is included in UNESCO World Heritage tentative list since 2004.
Put on comfortable shoes (ladies, please no high-heel or plateau shoes) and join us during the walking tour in the Old Town of Plovdiv. We shall walk together not only through the history of this particular settlement, but through the history of Bulgaria in general. Walking along the narrow and winding cobbled streets, we shall trace the history of our country from Thracian times, through the Roman Empire period, the Bulgarian National Revival (the end of the 18th-19th century) and the modern age. Every single house, every single site of this architectural and historical reserve, a real open-air , but inhabited, museum on the ancient Trimontium (three hills in Latin) is worth seeing, if you do not have enough time for visiting them. The absolute musts are but the Roman amphitheatre from the 2nd century AD – extremely well preserved and used now in the warm summer evenings for concerts, opera and drama performances, a number of houses of rich merchants during the National Revival period: Balabanov, Nedkovich, Alafranga, the house in which the famous French romantic poet Alphonse de Lamartine lived, while visiting Bulgaria in 1833. Do not miss the most recently restored and opened, but otherwise oldest (from the middle of the 18th century) of all the Revival period houses in Plovdiv – Klianti House with its beautiful frescoes and polychrome ceilings
Walking down from the charming Old Town, your eyes will be no doubt fixed on the impressive Djumaya Mosque (14 th century) and in front of it you can relax in the cafe with a cup of Turkish coffee and oriental dessert. Just a few steps away from the Mosque you will no doubt take photoes of the ancient ruins of the partly uncovered Roman Stadium. From there you can have a lovely stroll back to our Ramada Trimontium Hotel along the main pedestrian commercial street of Plovdiv. It is the second-longest pedestrian street in Europe after Copenhagen’s Stroget.
Now you will not wonder why this spectacular city namely has been selected as European Capital of Culture for 2019.
Plovdiv is but not only a synonym of history and culture. It has been for years (since 1892) the home town of Bulgaria’s international trade fair. Plovdiv is also he most dynamically developing industrial and business centre in Southern Bulgaria, focussing on IT and innovation. That is why its IT –and innovation zone Maritsa-Plovdiv is also worth visiting.