Plovdiv is one of Europe’s oldest cities, its history reaching back farther than even Rome's or Constantinople's. Arguably, this city with layers of history—from Thracian fortifications to Ottoman mosques—has more to offer visitors than even Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia. In addition, Plovdiv’s cross-cultural heritage is great for photographers, history buffs, and wayfarers alike.
Architectural History in Plovdiv:
In the central square, visitors can explore the remnants of a Roman forum, sectioned off in front of the Trimontium Princess Hotel
. A partially-preserved Roman stadium exists in the area of ploshtad Dzhumaya. In this same area, dating to the 14th Century, is the Dzhumaya dzhamiya, or “Friday Mosque,” the interior of which is open to visitors. Nebet Tepe Citadel sits at the top of ulitsa Dr. Chomakov—this site dates to the 5th century BC.
Shopping in Plovdiv:
Plovdiv has some great places to shop. Besides the two international trade fairs in May and September, Plovdiv has an abundance of art galleries and shops. Ulitsa Knyas Aleksander I is a main thoroughfare which may be a first stop for shoppers in Plovdiv. Ulitsa Raiko Daskalov has historically been part of the bazaar quarter, and is lined with stalls, shops, and cafes in every variety.
Art in Plovdiv:
Plovdiv has no shortage of art galleries and museums. The City Art Gallery has a floor dedicated to revolving exhibitions and a permanent collection of 19th c. paintings. The Philippopolis Art Gallery and the Sate Gallery of Fine Arts hold examples of Bulgarian masterpieces. If you like religious art, the Museum of Icons contains specimens of Byzantium-inspired works.
Famous Houses in Plovdiv:
Plovdiv is full of historical houses that have been converted into museums. Danov House used to be the home of a publisher, and is now a museum of printing. Lamartine House holds some memorabilia from the time the French poet stayed there, but is more interesting for its design. Nedkovich House contains beautiful 19th c. furnishings. Other houses, like the Atanas Krastev House-Museum, the Zlatyu Boyadzhiev House, and Balabanov House, are dedicated to art.
Museums in Plovdiv:
Museum goers will love the variety of venues in Plovdiv. The Historical Museum and the Archeological museum share one building—the latter of which is waiting to be renovated. Apteka Hipokrat is a museum showcasing the building’s previous status as a 19th c. pharmacy. The Georgiadi House is home to the Museum of History, which gives visitors a visual run-down of some important events in Bulgaria’s history. And don’t miss the Ethnographic Museum, housing folk costumes and jewelry.
Getting To and Getting Around Plovdiv:
Trains to Plovdiv will arrive at the central station. One block east of the train station is the Yug bus station. You can either take a bus to the city center, or walk along ulitsa Ivan Vazov to arrive at ploshtad Tsentralen. The rest of the sites of the city are mainly accessible by foot, and the Old Town and lower towns are distinctive from one another.
Eating and Drinking in Plovdiv:
While exploring the city, it’s no problem to purchase snacks from street vendors or kiosks—or you can even stop in one of the little cafes. Most of the restaurants attractive to visitors are located in Old Town. They serve Bulgarian dishes as well as international cuisine. Cafes and bars are also easy to find in the downtown area, and you may note any you see on your strolls as options for nightcaps while resting your feet.
See Plovdiv When You Visit Sofia:
Plovdiv is just a couple hours' drive from Sofia. You can drive there for an overnight stay, or take a Plovdiv excursion directly from Sofia. Whatever you choose, your visit to Plovdiv will be worthwhile and photography-worthy.
Hotels in Plovdiv:
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