PLOVDIV

Bulgaria

Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria with a population of 341,567 inhabitants as of 2015, while 544,628 live in its urban area. It is an important economic, transport, cultural, and educational center.Plovdiv has evidence of habitation since the 6th millennium BC. By the end of the 4th millennium BC there already was an established Neolithic settlement there.

Info Plovdiv

introduction

Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria with a population of 341,567 inhabitants as of 2015, while 544,628 live in its urban area. It is an important economic, transport, cultural, and educational center.

Plovdiv has evidence of habitation since the 6th millennium BC.  By the end of the 4th millennium BC there already was an established Neolithic settlement there.  In the 12th century BC  the village evolved into a real town populated by Thracians ranking it among world's oldest cities. Plovdiv was known in the West for most of its recorded history by the name Philippopolis (Greek: Φιλιππούπολη;Turkish: Filibe; "Philip's Town"). The city was originally a Thracian settlement, later being invaded by Persians, Greeks,Celts, Romans, Goths, Huns, Bulgarians,Slav-Vikings, Crusaders and Turks. On 4 January 1878, Plovdiv was liberated from Ottoman rule by the Russian army. It remained within the borders of Bulgaria until July of the same year, when it became the capital of the autonomous Ottoman region of Eastern Rumelia. In 1885, Plovdiv and Eastern Rumelia joined Bulgaria.

Plovdiv is situated in a fertile region of south-central Bulgaria on the two banks of the Maritsa River. The city has historically developed on seven syenite hills, some of which are 250 metres (820 feet) high. Because of these hills, Plovdiv is often referred to in Bulgaria as "The City of the Seven Hills".

Plovdiv is host to cultural events such as the International Fair Plovdiv, the international theatrical festival "A stage on a crossroad", and the TV festival "The golden chest". There are many remains preserved from antiquity such as the ancient Plovdiv Roman theatre, Roman odeon, Roman aqueduct, Roman Stadium, the archaeological complex Eirene, and others.

The oldest American educational institution outside the United States was founded in Plovdiv in 1860, which was later moved to Sofia – today's American College of Sofia.

On 5 September 2014, Plovdiv was selected as the Bulgarian host of the European Capital of Culture 2019. This happened with the help of the Municipal Foundation “Plovdiv 2019″ - a non-government organization which was established in 2011 by Plovdiv’s City Council. The main objectives were to develop and to prepare Plovdiv’s bid book for European Capital of Culture in 2019. The organization has a board of directors, which consists of 9 members and an Executive Director. The foundation also has a Public Council, chaired by the mayor of the city, and a Control Board supervises the organization’s activities. The main objective of the foundation is strategic development and implementation of the bid book.

info
POPULATION :• City 341,567
• Urban 544,628 
FOUNDED :  6000 BC
TIME ZONE :• Time zone EET (UTC+2)
• Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
LANGUAGE : Bulgarian 84.5%, Turkish 9.6%, Roma 4.1%, other and unspecified 1.8%
RELIGION : Bulgarian Orthodox 82.6%, Muslim 12.2%, other Christian 1.2%, other 4%
AREA :  101.98 km2 (39.37 sq mi)
ELEVATION : 164 m (538 ft)
COORDINATES : 42°9′N 24°45′E
SEX RATIO : Male: 48,60%
 Female: 51,40%
ETHNIC :Bulgarian 76.9%, Turk 8%, Roma 4.4%, other 0.7% (including Macedonian, Armenian, Tatar, Circassian), other (unknown) 10%
AREA CODE : 032
POSTAL CODE : 4000
DIALING CODE :  (+359) 032
WEBSITE : Official Website

Tourism

Plovdiv is debatably the oldest continually inhabited city in Europe, with a history traced back to 6000 BC. Originally it had seven tall hills, some of which were used for quarries. It was originally a Thracian settlement by the name of Eumolpias. The city has changed its name many times with new settlers and rulers: from Philippoupolis and Pulpudeva ("the city of Philip", the father of Alexander the Great), through Trimontium ("the three hills"),to Pəldin, Pləpdiv (Плъпдив) and Plovdiv. They also left their marks behind: there are several Roman ruins that can be seen in or near the city centre area. During the long occupation by the Ottoman Empire, a large mosque, still present, was built in the centre of the city. During Communist times, a statue of the unnamed Russian soldier was erected on one of the three main hills which overlooks the city.

Today, Plovdiv is a famous tourist destination itself and also serves as a gateway to many other points of interest. Plovdiv is well known for hosting the Plovdiv International Fair twice a year and for its ancient, medieval and enlightenment sites.

When you are in Plovdiv, you can get help and more information about the city from one of the two Tourist information centres in the city. The first one is located in the middle of the city, right next to the post office; when arriving in the city via train or bus through "Yug" or "Rhodopi" stations, this is one of the first buildings you'll come across in the city centre. The second one is located in the Old City, on its main street (Saborna St), close to the Ethnographic museum and the beautiful church of Saint Konstantin and Elena.

The city has more than 200 archaeological sites,  30 of which are of national importance. There are many remains from antiquity – Plovdiv is among the few cities with two ancient theatres; remains of the medieval walls and towers; Ottoman baths and mosques; a well-preserved old quarter from the National Revival period with beautiful houses, churches and narrow paved streets. There are numerous museums, art galleries and cultural institutions. Plovdiv is host to musical, theatrical and film events.

The city is a starting point for trips to places in the region, such as the Bachkovo Monasteryat 30 km (19 mi) to the south, the ski-resort Pamporovo at 90 km (56 mi) to the south or the spa resorts to the north Hisarya, Banya, Krasnovo, Strelcha.

Tourist information centres can help you with all kinds of information including city maps, information about concerts, bus and train schedules, and finding a place to sleep.

History

Antiquity

Plovdiv has settlement traces including necropolises dating from the Neolithic, roughly 6000 BC.Archaeologists have discovered fine pottery and, objects of everyday life from as early as the Neolithic Age, showing that in the end of the 4th millennium BC, there already was an established settlement there,Thracian necropolises dating back to the 2nd-3rd millennium BC have been discovered, while the Thracian town was established between the 2nd and the 1st millennium BC.

The town was a fort of the independent local Thracian tribe Bessi. In 516 BC during the rule of Darius the Great Thrace was included in the Persian empire. In 492 BC the Persian general Mardonius re-subjected Thrace again, which became nominally a vassal of Persia until 479 BC and the early rule of Xerxes I. The town was included in the Odrysian kingdom (460 BC-46 AD), a Thracian tribal union. The town was conquered by Philip II of Macedon and the Odrysian king was deposed in 342 BC. Ten years after the Macedonian invasion the Thracian kings started to exercise power again after the Odrysian Seuthes III had re-established their kingdom under Macedonian suzerainty as a result of a somehow successful revolt against Alexander the Great's rule resulting in neither victory, nor defeat, but stalemate. The Odrysian kingdom gradually overcome the Macedonian suzerainty, while the city was destroyed by the Celts as part of the Celtic settlement of Eastern Europe, most likely in the 270s BC.  In 183 BC Philip V of Macedon conquered the city, but shortly after the Thracians re-conquered it.

In 72 BC the city was seized by the Roman general Marcus Lucullus but was soon restored to Thracian control. In AD 46 the city was finally incorporated into the Roman Empire by emperor Claudius, it served as metropolis (capital) of the province of Thrace and gained a city status in the late 1st century. Trimontium was an important crossroad for the Roman Empire and was called "The largest and most beautiful of all cities" by Lucian. Although it was not the capital of the Province of Thrace, the city was the largest and most important centre in the province, as such the city was the seat of the Union of Thracians. In those times, the Via Militaris (or Via Diagonalis), the most important military road in the Balkans, passed through the city. The Roman times were a period of growth and cultural excellence. The ancient ruins tell a story of a vibrant, growing city with numerous public buildings, shrines, baths, theatres, a stadium and the only developed ancient water supply system in Bulgaria. The city had an advanced water system and sewerage. In 179 a second wall was built to encompass Trimontium which had already extended out of the Three hills into the valley. Many of those are still preserved and can be seen by tourists. Today only a small part of the ancient city has been excavated.

In 250 AD the whole city was burned down by the Goths, led by their ruler Cniva, and much of its citizens, according to Ammianus Marcellinus numbering 100,000, died or were taken captive. It took a century and hard working to recover the city. However, it was destroyed again by Atila's Huns in 441-442 and by the Goths of Teodoric Strabo in 471.


Middle Ages

The Slavs had fully settled in the area by the middle of the 6th century, peacefully as there are no any records for their attacks.  With the establishment of Bulgaria in 681 Philippoupolis, the name of the city then, became an important border fortress of the Byzantine Empire. It was captured by Khan Krum in 812 but the region was fully incorporated into the Bulgarian Empire in 834 during the reign of Khan Malamir.  It was reconquered by the Byzantine Empire in 855–856 for a short time until it was returned to Boris I of Bulgaria. From Philippoupolis the influence of dualistic doctrines spread to Bulgaria forming the basis of the Bogomil heresy. The city possibly remained in Bulgarian hands until 970.  However, the city is described at the time of Constantine VII in the 10th century as being within the Byzantine province (theme of Macedonia). The historian John Fine describes Philippopolis as being a Byzantine possession at the time it was sacked by the ruler of Rus' Sviatoslav I of Kiev in 969 who impaled 20,000 citizens.  Before and after the Rus' massacre, the city was settled by Paulician heretics transported from Syria and Armenia to serve as military settlers on the European frontier with Bulgaria. Aime de Varennes in 1180 encountered the singing of Byzantine songs in the city that recounted the deeds of Alexander the Great and his predecessors, over 1300 years before.

Byzantine rule was interrupted by the Third crusade(1189-1192) when the army of the Holy Roman emperor Frederick Barbarossa conquered Philippopolis. Ivanko was appointed as the governor of the Byzantine Theme of Philippopolis in 1196, but between 1198 and 1200 separated it from Byzantium in a union with Bulgaria. The Latin Empire conquered Philippoupolis in 1204, and there were two short interregnum periods as the city was twice occupied by Kaloyan of Bulgaria before his death in 1207.  In 1208 Kaloyan's successor Boril was defeated by the Latins in the Battle of Philippopolis. Under Latin rule, Philippopolis was the capital of the Duchy of Philippopolis, which was governed by Renier de Trit, later on by Gerard de Strem and was possibly at times a vassal of Bulgaria or Venice. Ivan Asen II conquered the duchy finally in 1230 but the city had possibly been earlier conquered.  Afterwards Plovdiv was conquered by Byzantium, according to some information, by 1300 Plovdiv was a possession of Theodore Svetoslav of Bulgaria. It was conquered from Byzantium by George Terter II of Bulgaria in 1322. Andronikos III Palaiologos unsuccessfully besieged the city, but a treaty restored Byzantine rule once again in 1323. In 1344 the city and eight other cities were surrendered to Bulgaria by the regency for John V Palaiologos as the price for Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria's support in the Byzantine civil war of 1341–47.


Ottoman Rule

In 1364, the Ottoman Turks under Lala Shahin Pasha seized Plovdiv.  According to other data, Plovdiv was not Ottoman until the Battle of Maritsa in 1371 following which the citizens and the Bulgarian army fled leaving the city without resistance. Refugees settled inStanimaka. During the Ottoman Interregnum, in 1410 Musa Çelebi conquered the city killing and displacing inhabitants. The city was the centre of the Rumelia Eyalet between 1364–1443, a sanjak centre of it between 1443-1593, the sanjak centre in Silistra Eyaletbetween 1593-1826, the sanjak centre in Eyalet of Adrianople between 1826-1867 and the sanjak centre of Edirne Vilayet between 1867–1878. During that period Plovdiv was a major economic center along with Constantinople, Edirne and Thessaloniki. The richer citizens constructed beautiful houses many of which can still be seen in the Architectural reserve Old Plovdiv.


National revival

Under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, Filibe, the name of the city then, was a focal point for the Bulgarian national movement and survived as one of the major cultural centers for Bulgarian culture and tradition.

Filibe was described as consisting of Turks, Bulgarians, Hellelnized Bulgarians, Armenians, Jews, Vlachs, Arvanites, Greeks and Gypsies. In the 16-17 century a significant number of Sephardic Jews settled along with a smaller Armenian community from Galicia. The Paulicians adopted Catholicism or lost their identity. With the abolishment of Slavonic as the language of the Bulgarian Church and the complete abolition of the church in 1767, the introduction of the Millet System, a doctrine of ethnic division by religion, Christian and Muslim Bulgarians were subjected to Hellenization and Turkification respectively. A major part of it was fully or partly Hellenized and was of Greek identity more in the sense of “Romei than Ellines, in a cultural rather than an ethnic sense, the "Langeris" are also described as Greeks from the area of the nearby Stenimachos. This process of Hellenization flourished up until the 1830s and declined with the Tanzimat, the idea of the Hellenic nation instead of the Romeic millet as Hellenes meant pagans to the Chirstians and finally with the re-establishment of the Bulgarian Church in 1870. According to records of the households and owners/renters in the central part of Plovdiv in the middle 19th century provided by Bulgarian and Greek chroniclers Genchev and Lyberatos, of a total of 358/421 the Bulgarians were either 141 or 118 and constituted 39.4% or 33.7%, the Gudilas were 94 or 141 constituting 26.3% or 38.1%, while the Langeris were 36-39 and between 10.1% and 10.5%, while according to the Bulgarian author the Bulgarian parents with children Gulidas were another 41 (11.4%).  Thus, although there is a little doubt about the Bulgarian origin of the Gulidas, the city could be considered of Greek or Bulgarian majority in the 19th century, on whether the Gudilas were considered part of the one or the other community.  According to the statistics by the Bulgarian and Greek authors there is no Turks in the city, according to an alternative estimate the city was of Turkish majority then.

Filibe had an important role in the struggle for Church independence which was according to some historians a peaceful bourgeois revolution. Filibe became the center of that struggle with leaders such as Nayden Gerov, Dr Valkovich, Joakim Gruev and whole families. In 1836 the first Bulgarian school was inaugurated and in 1850 modern secular education began when the "St Cyrill and Metodius" school was opened. On 11 May 1858 the day of Saints Cyril and Methodius was celebrated for the first time, this later became a National holiday which is still celebrated today (but on the 24th May due to Bulgaria's 1916 transition from the Old Style (i.e. Julian) to the New Style calendar, i.e. the Gregorian calendar). In 1858 in the Church of Virgin Mary the Christmas liturgy was served for the first time in the Bulgarian language since the beginning of the Ottoman occupation. Until 1906 there were Bulgarian and Greek bishops in the city. In 1868 the school expanded into the first grammar school. Some of the intellectuals, politicians and spiritual leaders of the nation graduated that school.

The city was conquered by the Russians under Aleksandr Burago for several hours during the Battle of Philippopolis on January 17, 1878.  It was the capital of the Provisional Russian Administration in Bulgaria between May and October. According to the Russian census of the same year Filibe had a population of 24,000 citizens, of which ethnicBulgarians comprised 45.4%, Turks - 23.1% and Greeks - 19.9%.


Eastern Rumelia

According to the Treaty of San Stefano on 3 March 1878 the Principality of Bulgaria included the lands with predominantly Bulgarian population. Plovdiv which was the biggest and most vibrant Bulgarian city was selected as a capital of the restored country and for a seat of the Temporary Russian Government.  Great Britain and Austria-Hungary, however, did not approve that treaty and the final result of the war was concluded in the Congress of Berlin which divided the newly liberated country into several parts. It separated the autonomous region of Eastern Rumelia from Bulgaria and Plovdiv became its capital. The Ottoman Empire created a constitution and appointed a governor.

In the spring of 1885 Zahari Stoyanov formed the Secret Bulgarian Central Revolutionary Committee in the city which actively conducted propaganda for the unification of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia. On 5 September several hundred armed rebels from Golyamo Konare (now Saedinenie) marched to Plovdiv. In the night of 5–6 September these men led by Danail Nikolaev took control of the city and removed from office the General-GovernorGavril Krastevich. A provisional government was formed led by Georgi Stranski and universal mobilization was announced. After the Serbs were defeated in the Serbo-Bulgarian War, Bulgaria and Turkey reached an agreement according to which the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia had a common government, Parliament, administration and army. Today 6 September is celebrated as the Unification Day and the Day of Plovdiv.


Recent history

Until 1989, the city's anthem glorified the local memorial to the Soviet soldiers, informally known as Alyosha

After the unification, Plovdiv remained the second city in Bulgaria in population and significance after the capital Sofia. The first railway in the city was built in 1874 connecting it with the Ottoman capital, and in 1888 it was linked with Sofia. In 1892 Plovdiv became host of the First Bulgarian Fair with international participation which was succeeded by theInternational Fair Plovdiv. After the liberation the first brewery was inaugurated in the city.

In the beginning of the 20th century Plovdiv grew as a significant industrial and commercial center with well-developed light and food industry. In 1927 the electrification of Plovdiv has started. German, French and Belgian capital was invested in the city in development of modern trade, banking and industry. In 1939 there were 16,000 craftsmen and 17,000 workers in manufacturing factories, mainly for food and tobacco processing. During the Second World War the tobacco industry expanded as well as the export of fruit and vegetables. In 1943 1,500 Jews were saved from deportation in concentration camps by the archbishop of Plovdiv, Cyril, who later became the Bulgarian Patriarch. In 1944 the city was bombed by British-American coalition.

Tobacco Depot workers went on strike on May the 4th, 1953. On 6 April 1956 the first trolleybus line was opened and in the 1950s the Trimontsium Hotel was constructed. In the 1960s and 1970s there was a construction boom and many of the modern neighborhoods took shape. In the 1970s and 1980s antique remains were excavated and the Old Town was fully restored. In 1990 the sports complex "Plovdiv" was finished. It included the largest stadium and rowing canal in the country. In that period Plovdiv became the birthplace of Bulgaria's movement for democratic reform, which by 1989 had garnered enough support to enter government.

Plovdiv has hosted specialized exhibitions of the World's Fair in 1981, 1985, and 1991.

Plovdiv was the first geographic location to be featured as a theme day in Reddit's Picturegame

Climate

Plovdiv has a humid subtropical climate  with considerable humid continental influences. There are four distinct seasons, with large temperature jumps between seasons being common.

Summer (mid May to late September) is hot, moderately dry, and sunny with a July and August maximum average of 31 °C (88 °F). Plovdiv sometimes experiences very hot days which are typical in the interior of the country. Summer nights are mild.

Autumn starts in late September; days are long and relatively warm in early autumn. The nights become chilly by September. The first frost occurs on average by November.

Winter is normally cold and snow is common. The average number of days with snow cover in Plovdiv is 33. The average depth of snow cover is 2 to 4 cm (1 to 2 in) and the maximum is normally 6 to 13 cm (2 to 5 in), but in some winters it can reach 70 cm (28 in) or more. Average January temperature is −0.4 °C (31 °F).

Spring arrives in March but that season is cooler than autumn. The frost season ends in March or in April at the latest. The days are mild and relatively warm in mid spring.

The average relative humidity is 73%, being highest in December, with 86%, and lowest in August, with 62%. The total precipitation is 540 mm (21.26 in) and is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest months of the year are May and June, with an average precipitation of 66.2 mm (2.61 in), while the driest month is August, with an average precipitation of 31 mm (1.22 in).

Gentle winds (0 to 5 m/s) are predominant in the city with wind speeds of up to 1 m/s, representing 95% of all winds during the year. Mists are common in the cooler months, especially along the banks of the Maritsa. On average there are 33 days with mist during the year.

Climate data for Plovdiv

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)23.0
(73.4)
24.0
(75.2)
30.0
(86)
34.2
(93.6)
36.0
(96.8)
40.0
(104)
43.0
(109.4)
41.0
(105.8)
37.6
(99.7)
36.8
(98.2)
27.0
(80.6)
22.9
(73.2)
43.0
(109.4)
Average high °C (°F)5.4
(41.7)
8.3
(46.9)
13.0
(55.4)
18.4
(65.1)
23.7
(74.7)
28.0
(82.4)
30.6
(87.1)
30.2
(86.4)
26.0
(78.8)
19.4
(66.9)
11.9
(53.4)
6.6
(43.9)
18.5
(65.3)
Daily mean °C (°F)0.9
(33.6)
3.2
(37.8)
7.2
(45)
12.3
(54.1)
17.3
(63.1)
21.5
(70.7)
23.9
(75)
23.2
(73.8)
19.0
(66.2)
13.1
(55.6)
6.9
(44.4)
2.3
(36.1)
12.7
(54.9)
Average low °C (°F)−3.0
(26.6)
−1.4
(29.5)
1.8
(35.2)
6.2
(43.2)
11.0
(51.8)
15.0
(59)
17.0
(62.6)
16.5
(61.7)
12.6
(54.7)
7.6
(45.7)
2.6
(36.7)
−1.3
(29.7)
7.1
(44.8)
Record low °C (°F)−23.0
(−9.4)
−16.4
(2.5)
−14.4
(6.1)
−4.7
(23.5)
0.0
(32)
4.0
(39.2)
5.0
(41)
8.0
(46.4)
1.0
(33.8)
−10.2
(13.6)
−9.8
(14.4)
−19.0
(−2.2)
−23.0
(−9.4)
              
Source #1: Climatebase.ru
Source #2: Danish Meteorological Institute 

Geography

Plovdiv is on the banks of the Maritsa river, southeast of the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. The city is in the southern part of the Plain of Plovdiv, an alluvial plain forming the western portion of the Upper Thracian Plain. The heights of Sredna Gora rise to the northwest, to the east are the Chirpan Heights, and the Rhodope mountains surround the plain from the south. The city had originally developed to the south of Maritsa, and expanded across the river only within the last 100 years. Modern Plovdiv covers an area of 101 km2 (39 sq mi), which is less than 0.1% of Bulgaria's total area. This makes Plovdiv the most densely populated city in the country with 3,769 inhabitants per km².

Inside the city proper are six syenite hills,. In the beginning of the 20th century, there used to be seven of them, but one (Markovo tepe) was destroyed. Three of them are called the Three Hills (Bulgarian:Трихълмие Trihalmie), the others are called the Hill of the Youth (Bulgarian: Младежки хълм, Mladezhki halm), the Hill of the Liberators (Bulgarian: Хълм на освободителите, Halm na osvoboditelite) and the Hill of Danov (Bulgarian: Данов хълм, Danov halm).

Economy

Located in the middle of a rich agricultural region, since the beginning of the 20th century Plovdiv grew as an industrial center. Food processing, tobacco, brewing and textiles were the main pillars of the industry.During Communist rule the city's economy greatly expanded and was dominated by heavy industry; it still produces lead and zinc,machinery, electronics, motor trucks, chemicals and cosmetics. After the fall of Communism in 1989 and the collapse of Bulgaria's planned economy, a number of industrial complexes were closed.

Plovdiv has one of the country's fastest-growing economies with average GDP growth of 12%–13%. As of 2005, the total revenues were 9.4 billion leva (approximately 4.8 billion euro), which was 88% more than in 2001. The profits for the same period rose 4.5 times. Unemployment is 6,5% which is lower than the national average. One recent problem is the municipality's administrative borders, which almost completely coincide with the city limits. Due to the constant increase of investments which are $465,000,000 for 2005 some of the businesses have to be redirected to the Maritsa or Rodopi municipalities such as the industrial zone of Radinovo village.

Industry has been expanding again since the late 1990s, with manufacturing plants built in the city or in its outskirts, mainly the municipality of Maritsa. In this period, some €500,000,000 has been invested in construction of new factories. Some of the new plants include the Liebherr refrigerator plant with 1,850 employees and a capacity of 450,000 items per year, the Socotab tobacco processing plant (2,000 employees), a bicycle plant (500 workers, capacity 500,000 units), а Schneider electronics factory, a biodiesel plant, the Bulsaphil textile plant (790 workers), and several electronics and high-tech plants producing CD players and other electronic equipment. The largest electronics plant in theBalkans was inaugurated in the nearby village of Voivodinovo.

Due to the demand for business office space Business Park Plovdiv was going to be constructed in the district of Trakiya, but the advance of the global financial crisis has put a halt on the project. The investment has been planned for €68,000,000 and the park should occupy an area of 110,000 m2 (1,184,030.15 sq ft). A commercial and industrial park is to be built in the village of Radinovo at several km to the north-west of the city with a built-up area of 50,000 m2 (538,195.52 sq ft).

Industrial region Thracia is an industrial zone made up of several municipalities within the area of the city.


Shopping and commerce

The commercial sector is developing quickly. Shopping centers have been built mainly in the Central district and the district of Trakiya. Those include Shopping Center Grand, Market Center and two more all on the Kapitan Raycho Street, Forum in Trakiya, Excelsior and others. There are several malls under construction – the €40 million Mall of Plovdiv with a shopping area of 40,000 m2 (430,556.42 sq ft), 11 cinemas and parking for 700 cars, €50 mln. Central Mall Markovo tepe, a huge €60 mln. mall and hotel complex in the district of Trakiya as well as several other projects planned or under construction.

Plovdiv also has the Galeria Mall, with a free 1350-car parking space, 100 shops, coffee houses, ice-skating rink, 6 story inside climbing wall and other entertainment (bowling and arcade center). The mall is 6 stories high with 127 000 square meters area, half of which is the parking lot and the rest is shopping area, one of the largest in the Balkans. It has Carefur, Zora, Multirama, Paolo Botticelli, Adidas, Cult, Aqua, Rivas, Roberto Zago, Swatch, DM, Lustro, Fabiano, Denix, Colette and many other well known brand stores.

Several hypermarkets have been built mainly on the outskirts of the city: Metro, Kaufland,Triumf, Praktiker, Billa, Mr. Bricolage, Baumax, Technopolis, Technomarket Europa, and others. The main shopping area is the central street with its shops, cafés and restaurants. A number of cafés, craftsmen workshops and souvenir shops are in the Old Town and the small streets in the centre, known among the locals as "The Trap" (Bulgarian: Капана).

The Plovdiv International Fair, held annually since 1892, is the largest and oldest fair in the country and all of southeastern Europe, gathering companies from all over the world in an exhibition area of 138,000 m2 (1,485,419.64 sq ft) located on a territory of 352,000 m2(3,788,896.47 sq ft) on the northern banks of the Maristsa river. It attracts more than 600,000 visitors from many countries.

The city has had a duty-free zone since 1987. It has a customs terminal handling cargo from trucks and trains.

Subdivisions
DistrictNeighbourhoods
CentralKapana, Stariya grad, Marasha, Centar
NorthernKarshiaka, Gagarin, Filipovo, Zaharna Fabrika
SouthernHristo Botev – Yug, Hristo Botev – Sever, Vastanecheski, Uhoto, Yuzhen,Komatevo, Ostromila, Belomorski
EasternKamenitsa, Izgrev, Stolipinovo
WesternHristo Smirnenski, Proslav, Mladezhki Halm, Mladost
TrakiyaOlga Skobeleva, Lauta

Prices in Plovdiv

PRICES LIST - USD

MARKET / SUPERMARKET

Milk1 liter€0.96
Tomatoes1 kg€1.03
Cheese0.5 kg€5.30
Apples1 kg€0.88
Oranges1 kg€1.03
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€0.62
Bottle of Wine1 bottle€4.11
Coca-Cola2 liters€1.10
Bread1 piece€0.43
Water1.5 l€0.45

PRICES LIST - USD

RESTAURANTS

Dinner (Low-range)for 2€14.00
Dinner (Mid-range)for 2€21.00
Dinner (High-range)for 2€32.00
Mac Meal or similar1 meal€4.08
Water0.33 l€0.52
Cappuccino1 cup€1.00
Beer (Imported)0.33 l€1.31
Beer (domestic)0.5 l€1.04
Coca-Cola0.33 l€0.87
Coctail drink1 drink€3.70

PRICES LIST - USD

ENTERTAINMENT

Cinema2 tickets€9.00
Gym1 month€30.00
Men’s Haircut1 haircut€4.30
Theatar2 tickets€18.00
Mobile (prepaid)1 min.€0.17
Pack of Marlboro1 pack€2.60

PRICES LIST - USD

PERSONAL CARE

Antibiotics1 pack
Tampons32 pieces€4.60
Deodorant50 ml.€3.40
Shampoo400 ml.€3.10
Toilet paper4 rolls€0.95
Toothpaste1 tube€1.45

PRICES LIST - USD

CLOTHES / SHOES

Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)1€44.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M)1€24.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)1€70.00
Leather shoes1€52.00

PRICES LIST - USD

TRANSPORTATION

Gasoline1 liter€1.08
TaxiStart€0.50
Taxi1 km€0.35
Local Transport1 ticket€0.51

Tourist (Backpacker)  

38 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

76 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

Plovdiv has a small airport originally called Krumovo, now Plovdiv International Airport. There are flights from/to London-Stansted and Frankfurt-Hahn via Ryanair, and Moscow-Domodedovo via S7 Airlines.

There is a bus, that goes from the airport to the central bus station "Yug". There are buses after every flight. On the way back to the airport you can choose from one-way or return tickets.

You can also go there by a taxi and it will cost you about 15 leva (about €7.50) from the city centre.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

There are many national and international trains from and to Plovdiv.

There are many daily trains to and from Sofia. Duration is from about two and a half hours for the express ones to four hours for the slow ones. There is also one daily train to/from Istanbul in Turkey which takes about 11 hours.

You can check the timetable at bdz.bg

The railway station is located near the city centre, it takes around 10-15 min walk to the centre.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

Plovdiv has 3 bus stations - "Yug", "Sever", and "Rhodopi". There are many buses for cities all around Bulgaria and to some that are outside the country. Buses to destinations near Plovdiv run from "Rhodopi" station. Both "Yug" and "Rhodopi" stations are within five minutes walking distance from the main train station of Plovdiv.

Yug station has an ATM located just outside so you can easily get local currency there if you're arriving by bus from abroad. Buses for Sofia leave from this station.

Buses run hourly from Sofia, and are slightly faster than the trains.

Metro Turizm is a Turkish bus company that runs daily bus service to and from Istanbul in Turkey. Buses going from Plovdiv to Istanbul depart from Yug Station daily at 11:00, 14:00, 19:00, 22:30, and 01:00. The trip costs TRY40 (as of the summer of 2011) and takes roughly 7 hours, depending upon the vagaries of traffic and the border crossing. Metro buses also depart daily for Bursa, Turkey at 19:00. A second bus line (Alpar) also has a daily bus from Yug Station to Istanbul that departs at 22:30.

Eurolines run a bus to Thessaloniki via Sofia that leaves at 08:00 from the Yug station, tickets can be bought on board. Metro Turizm run a similar service at 08:30, tickets can be bought from the office at the station.

Transportation - Get In

By Car

The A1 expressway/motorway connects Plovdiv westward to Sofia, and eastward all the way to Burgas on the Black Sea. Other destinations require two-lane roads, such as the most direct route to Pleven, which is the somewhat adventurous Troyan pass road.


Transportation - Get Around

Taxis and buses are prevalent. Downtown has a large pedestrian zone. Taxis are (Summer 2010) as cheap if not cheaper than bus rides when split between 3-4 people in general. A 5-7km of traveled distance was charged at around 5lv (charge for km is 0.75 leva daily and 0.95 leva nightly); an average ride within the city costs around 3 leva. The taxi arrives in about 3-5min. Remember to order the Taxi from the companies that offer the best deals and wait for it. Generally taking the taxi that is already waiting will cost you more (sometimes up to 5-times more) avoid them or ask for flat price that fits you! Learn who offers best prices from the locals who often use taxis. Most of the taxicars has 4-digit numbers on them, remember some and use it if you need a car, for example: 6155, 6142, 9199 and so on.

As of summer 2011, if your taxi ride costs more than 5 leva, you are entitled to a 20% discount off the fare.

Public bus tickets cost 1 leva.

Hotels

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Hotels

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Shopping

You can buy many different souvenirs from Bulgaria, that represents the country.

Bulgarian rose tend to be one of the most popular souvenirs from the country. You can buy all kinds of rose stuff — mostly cosmetics from soaps to shampoos, gels, oils, and perfumes.

Cutlery made of wood or clay might also be worthwhile to look for.

Or perhaps you might be looking for a painting or even a musical instrument?

Many great antique shops that have things from the Russo-Turkish War up to World War 2

Restaurants

Generally speaking eating in Plovdiv should be cheap for the westerner's pocket. Fast food is available and of high quality (in general).

There are McDonalds, KFC, Kastello, Verde and other popular restaurants.


Budget

The cheapest fast food could cost as little 0.50-1.00lv to 2-3lv and can be found along the main street. There are plenty of such places offering pizza, traditional food, and kebabs.


Mid-range

There are some low-end restaurants that will be fairly affordable pay attention to the menu and think about 10-15lv for a full meal (salad, main course, dessert, drink(s)).


Splurge

Paying more will probably get you a slightly better food than the options above but most of the cost will definitely go towards the overall experience. The priciest places are located in the old town, on top of the hill. Expect to pay a bit more say 20-30lv and above. There are also a few restaurants outside the center.

Sights & Landmarks

Old Plovdiv is compact and walkable, with the main downtown road blocked to car traffic. There is a good collection of Bulgarian revival buildings in use as museums, hotels, and restaurants etc. and is worth a visit if you have chance.

  • Roman Amphitheatre. The Roman Amphitheatre, discovered in the 1970s during a construction project, is part of the pedestrian zone, and typically has merchants selling art and other items nearby.
  • St. Marina church. with a unique wooden tower

Wander the cobblestone streets near the downtown to find, a mosque from the Ottoman Empire, and on the nearby hill the old town centre. The old town centre was walled, and has a famous gateway entrance. Nearby Puldin Restaurant has subterranean rooms where the old wall and historic artefacts can be seen. Continuing up the hill several older houses are now museums and the Roman amphitheatre with an overlook of the town below is partially restored and still used for concerts and other occasions.

In the new centre of the city, right before you go up into the old city, you will see the "Roman stadium", which dates back to the late 1st/early 2nd century. It had a capacity of 30,000 people; and as the Roman laws dictate that the city stadium should have seating for at least half the population, it summarily shows the town had 60,000 inhabitants during Roman times. In addition, the ancient theatre is capable of seating 6,000 people at once, and yes, as you already guessed, Roman laws were dictating that the theatres should accommodate one-tenth of the population at a time.

When you go to the other end of the pedestrian street, next to the Tourist Information Centre and the post office, you will see the Roman Odeon and Forum. The forum was to Romans what the city centres are to modern human. This one had three sides of 13 shops on each side, and a fourth one for the bank, library, and other institutions of this sort. There's also a nice park with kid playgrounds and colour+music fountains.

  • Bachkovo Monastery. To the south of the city there is the Bachkovo Monastery, still in use.

Farther into the Rhodope mountains one can find ski resorts and other natural attractions, such as the impressively narrow gorge and caves leading to Trigrad, not far from the mountainous Greek border.

Museums & Galleries


Museums and protected sites

The Archaeological Museum was established in 1882 as the People's Museum of Eastern Rumelia.  In 1928 the museum was moved to a 19th-century edifice on Saedinenie Square built by Plovdiv architect Josef Schnitter. The museum contains a rich collection of Thracian art. The three sections "Prehistory",  "Antiquity" and "Middle Ages" contain precious artifacts from the Paleolithic to the early Ottoman period (15th–16th centuries). The famous Panagyurishte treasure is part of the museum's collection.

The Historical Museum of Plovdiv was founded in 1951 as a scientific and cultural institute for collecting, saving, and researching historical evidence about Plovdiv and the region from 16th to 20th centuries. The exhibition is situated in three buildings.

The Regional Ethnographic Museum – Plovdiv was inaugurated in 1917. On 14 October 1943 it was moved to a house in the Old Town. In 1949 the Municipal House-museum was reorganized as a People's Ethnographic Museum and in 1962 it was renovated. There are more than 40,000 objects.

The Museum of Natural Science was inaugurated in 1955 in the old edifice of the Plovdiv Municipality built in 1880. It is among the most important museums in the country with rich collections in its Paleontology, Mineralogy and Botanic sections. There are several rooms for wildlife and it contains Bulgaria's largest freshwater aquarium with 40 fish species. It has a collection of minerals from the Rhodope mountains.

The Museum of Aviation was established on 21 September 1991 on the territory of the Krumovo airbase 12 km (7 mi) to the southeast of the city. The museum possesses 59 aircraft and indoor and outdoor exhibitions.

The Old Town of Plovdiv is a historic preservation site known for its Bulgarian Renaissance architectural style. The Old Town covers the area of the three central hills (Трихълмие, Trihalmie). Almost every house in the Old Town has its characteristic exterior and interior decoration.

Things to do

Plovdiv offers many things to do, and most are easily walkable.

  • The Hills - For starters enjoying the sunset from all the different hills is a must. Walk all the way to the top in the late afternoon, pick something to drink and stay there for the sunset. Go down to enjoy the nightlife once it's dark.

On one of the hills there is a kids train /don't worry it's not for kids/ that goes up into the hill and gets back down. It costs 1 lev and it's located on the Mladeshki hill. On the top of the Bunardjik Hill you can see the monument to the Soviet Army, known by locals simply as Alyosha.

  • Old Town - Another must is the old town of Plovdiv which is full of art, free of cars and very enjoyable. Go take a walk. Try it at day, try it at night - it's amazing. Try some of the bars - there are life performances sometimes there. You might be even lucky enough to catch an opera performance in the old Roman theater.
  • Center - Take a stroll up and down the main walking street of Plovdiv, known as "Glavnata" (The Main). It is full of shops, galleries, and cafes. Enjoy the central park during the day or at night, especially if it's a very hot day. Once the weather settles hit the main street and the bars/discos. On summer evenings, many locals gather to enjoy the recently renovated marvelous singing fountains, located in a large pond on the western edge of the park (show starts at 10 pm every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday).

These are only some of the things you can do in this magnificent city.

There are many bus connections Asenovgrad by bus from the "Radophi" bus station, from which you can access Bachkovo Monastery and Asenovgrad Krepost, a perfect daytrip.

Attend a Folk/Jazz music festival. The International Festival Plovdiv Jazz Nights is a low key but high quality 3 day event featuring some of the nation's best musicians along with some regional talents. Be there to witness a riot of colourful improvisations from great musicians. A variety of genres, styles, instruments are used although the music revolves around the central theme of Jazz and Blues.

Safety in Plovdiv

Stay Safe

Generally speaking Plovdiv is a very safe place. Avoid the ghetto area and you will be very safe. Old town and the main street are generally very busy and safe. Parks during the day are safe avoid them at night unless you are with a larger company. Avoid picking a verbal fight with locals! Avoid wearing football shirts or scarves of the Plovdiv or Sofia-based football teams, especially on match days. Overall the city has improved in terms of safety over the past years.

If you are using public transport always keep an eye on your personal belongings. Many pickpockets take advantage of overcrowded buses (like bus line 1, e.g.).

Very High / 9.5

Safety (Walking alone - day)

Mid. / 5.9

Safety (Walking alone - night)

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