All Eyes on Plovdiv, Bulgaria
With some 6,000 years of historical past below its belt, Plovdiv, generally known as The Metropolis of the Seven Hills, is among the many oldest regularly inhabited European cities. These streets don’t lie: the architectural proof courting again to Thracian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman instances is in every single place. And, again to modernity, the town can also be served by a world airport. Earlier than you e book your ticket, right here’s another excuse why visiting Plovdiv is a should: Its folks.
Individuals on Plovdiv
3Seas Europe requested 5 locals what makes Plovdiv such a particular metropolis. Learn up.
Alexander Sekulov, author, the driving drive behind “The King’s Stables” and “The Rorschach Inkblot Check,” two cult music golf equipment in Plovdiv
“What metropolis is Plovdiv? A novel metropolis with very robust character. For me, it’s future. My father was born right here; I used to be born right here; my baby was born right here—a good looking, vintage metropolis, not an unruly quarter someplace within the Center east. You understand, Plovdiv has a really particular time. One can really feel how time passes. Or perhaps there is no such thing as a time in any respect. Not like in an enormous megalopolis the place the clocks flip very quick. Plovdiv is a southern metropolis that has all the time been on the periphery of many empires, with a singular city panorama. Honestly, I by no means deliberate to stay outdoors Plovdiv, whilst a scholar on the College of Thessaloniki in Greece. I used to be invited to Sofia however didn’t need to transfer there both. How may I go away such a tremendous European metropolis?
For me, Plovdiv is salvation, inspiration, and a spot the place one can nonetheless perceive that one is a human. Right here there’s a uncommon mixture between a river and 7 vertical gardens, its hills. Town’s structure is exclusive, which by some miracle of destiny, the earlier regime didn’t destroy. In Plovdiv, you reside amongst magnificence that sways you. I hope Plovdiv is not going to turn into too touristy, like Venice. When a metropolis is taken over by vacationers, it begins to stay for them. I choose Plovdiv to stay for the native folks.
The true essence of a metropolis is its vacancy, its empty streets, with barely weathered facades. I like that the town has a point of decay. Not shabby nor glitzy, however actual and comfy. Town provides you the chance to be pleased and everlasting if in case you have the braveness for it.”
Dr. Evelina Zdravkova, Ph.D., College of Library Research and Info Applied sciences
“Plovdiv is a mission for me. What makes it particular are the individuals who create historical past. Town is deeply linked to the historical past of Bulgaria. It has pushed the event of our nation. In the present day, the town is rising. It welcomes many enthusiastic younger folks from completely different elements of the world. Ranging from historical past, going via nature, and ending with the artifacts which are continuously being restored to new life. If the individuals who proceed to stay in Plovdiv handle to protect this spirit and go it on to generations, the town has all of the components to turn into a really European capital. Not simply an administrative heart however a metropolis with a soul. A metropolis that lives and creates.
Plovdiv captivated me after I first got here right here some 30 years in the past. It was a dream that got here true. Since then, whoever comes right here, I ask them the identical query. How a lot time you’ve bought? We will stroll anyplace from two hours to a month, and we received’t be bored, I promise.
The renovated small Roman basilica is a vital spot in our tour. Right here, one can get immersed on this planet of the Romans when Plovdiv was the capital of the Roman province of Thrace. You’ll be able to’t come to Plovdiv and never see the basilica as a result of it’s the previous new brooch on our lapel.
The Previous City is a should, too, although I’ve seen some scary new building currently that’s killing its attraction. The three hills round it convey collectively the historical past of three eras: the Roman interval, the Byzantine interval when the fortress partitions had been found, after which the Ottoman interval and the Bulgarian Nationwide Revival with its imposing structure. The great thing about Plovdiv is just not a neighborhood however a nationwide jewel. Our metropolis is the pearl of Bulgaria.”
Iren Alexieva, assistant director, “N.O. Masalitinov” Drama Theatre
“I’m a fourth-generation citizen of Plovdiv. My metropolis is the religious capital of Bulgaria. It’s also a free metropolis. The folks of Plovdiv are particular. Right here one feels protected. The small-town vainness is right here, however it has some profound philosophical sense. Time strikes otherwise right here. You are feeling your ancestors otherwise. Archaeology definitely helps with that.
Many issues occur simpler in Plovdiv. I say it from expertise. Plovdiv has a special vitality. On my means from my place to the theatre the place I work, I’m going via 5 centuries. It’s solely pure that this accumulation of historical past influences us. One all the time returns to Plovdiv with hope and aspiration. Town is sort of a magnet. It shelters all its artists, and it cares for them. It provides them the self-confidence to create. I’ve spoken to many individuals who’ve lived right here. They admit to me that their greatest years had been spent right here. Plovdiv not solely conjures up you but in addition enchants you. It provides an environment of peace and freedom to create.
My favourite locations relate to completely different emotional impulses. Iconic locations just like the Historic Theatre had been rebuilt within the early 80s. Now I’m proud sufficient of the Episcopal Basilica, the most important early Christian temple in Bulgaria, which dates again to the mid-4th century AD. The primary avenue, the place the heartbeat of Plovdiv beats. The traditional Roman stadium. And the trendy Kapana district, which is named the district of inventive indulgences. Certainly one of my favourite issues to do is take in the summertime night time view from Nebet Teke Hill. This can be a sacred place providing a singular view of Plovdiv.”
“Each time I come again to Plovdiv after a visit, I really feel particularly strongly how each cell in my physique begins to shift. It’s prefer it’s going again to the proper place. It’s a sense you may’t mistake for some other. Plovdiv brings me safety and wearing a benevolent character that I see on each nook within the stylish Kapana district, behind each Renaissance home within the Previous City, or each time I climb one in every of its hills. I really like the odor of linden after rain in June and the walks within the early morning when the town hasn’t woken up but. That’s after I can summary myself from the noise of the crowds and soak within the magic of all that Plovdiv is – house, historical past, magnificence, and neighborhood.
When in Plovdiv, climb up Bunardzhik Hill to benefit from the sundown from there. There isn’t a different place so particular and harmonious for me. And discover a minute to go to the LovePlovdiv store. If you happen to don’t love Plovdiv but, you may’t assist however fall in love after this.”
Ivan Tropankev, journalist
“My ancestors settled in Plovdiv a century and a half in the past. They constructed a home, however instead through the 12 months of socialism, a housing cooperative was constructed. I nonetheless personal an residence in that constructing, though I’ve been dwelling with my household in Sofia for thirty years. However Plovdiv is within the hearts of my entire household. Virtually each weekend, some member of the family is strolling across the metropolis of hills, as they name Plovdiv. Each time the expertise is completely different, there’s all the time one thing new to see.
It’s no coincidence that the town was named the European Capital of Tradition in 2019, together with the Italian metropolis of Matera. For greater than half a century, work has been underway to revive and exhibit the town’s thousand-year historical past. Within the Previous City, one can go to the traditional theatre and stadium. Constructed on three neighboring hills, the Previous City gives an impressive view of the central a part of Plovdiv. Again then, the town attracted, amongst others, many Greeks, Jews, and Turks. The primary Bulgarian nouveau riche additionally walked these streets. Museums, artwork galleries, eating places, and low outlets, you will discover all of it right here within the Previous City. Plovdiv additionally boasts a small artisan quarter, with small eating places that, just like the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome or Montmartre in Paris, is bustling with life across the clock.
If you happen to’re planning on visiting our metropolis, I do know I’ll see you once more. Plovdiv is an previous metropolis that all the time adjustments. You’ll simply have to return again.”