Tips for visiting Plovdiv, European City of Culture 2019 in Bulgaria

Mosque in the center of Plovdiv in Bulgaria

In a trip to Bulgaria you have a must in the city of Plovdiv, currently the second city in the country with 350,000 inhabitants.

Located in the High Thrace Valley, when you get closer to Plovdiv you will see that in front of the mountainous landscapes characterize the regions that surround it, the city is situated in a great plain that opens on both banks of the Maritsa river.

It is a Bulgaria region dedicated to agriculture and where sunflower fields abound.

Remains of the ancient Roman stadium in Plovdiv in Bulgaria

Plovdiv It was one of the visits we made in ourtrip to Bulgaria with a tourism agency specializing incustom trips (here we tell youour very good experience).

The Plovdiv city It has two distinct zones.

If you arrive from Sofia, the first image you'll have of Plovdiv they show you an ugly residential city with large blocks of flats built with the gray architecture of the soviet era.

But do not panic, they are its adjoining areas, and what you are going to visit is the historic city which extends over several hills, which is located on the other side of the river that crosses the city.

Corner of the Old Town of Plovdiv in Bulgaria

Plovdiv history

Effectively, Plovdiv It has a very long history because it dates back to about 4,000 B.C., when the Thracians from Asia arrived in this region, so it is about one of the oldest cities in Europe.

The city center and the historic city they are located between six hills, which was the initial settlement of the first settlers of Plovdiv.

The fortress built was the largest of all Thrace, and after a period of occupation by the Macedonians, in the first century Plovdiv he joined the Roman empire.

It took the Romans more than 100 years to conquer the city, and during that previous period they had a long relationship of respect and coexistence with the Thracians.

Of the Roman occupation you will have several samples during your visit to see the important archaeological remains that are still preserved in the city.

Remains of the wall of Plovdiv in Bulgaria

After several historical avatars, being held by Byzantines, Bulgarians, and even the Cross Knights, in 1364 it was occupied by the Ottomans, so that the Byzantine architecture was replaced by oriental-style buildings.

During the RenaissancePlovdiv It had a great boom, whose expression are the large mansions built in the old City, with great ornamentation.

After the end of the Russian-Turkish War of 1878 and the foundation of the new free state of Bulgaria, the city spent a period of seven years in which it remained as an autonomous community under Ottoman rule.

Plovdiv, European City of Culture 2019

Nowadays it is an attractive city with great tourist interest (much more than Sofia) that has been declared European City of Culture 2019, which is giving it an economic boost.

Rimsky Stadion Square in Plovdiv in Bulgaria

Also on the occasion of this celebration, a broad cultural activities program It complements the various cultural activities that usually take place during the year.


To organize your trip to Bulgaria tailored to your preferences and needs, you can directly contact the VB agency of Yonka Bakardhieva through the following mail: [email protected] . Here we tell you how it went our very good experience, and don't forget to say that you write on behalf of Travel Guides!

What is essential to see in Plovdiv

A main axis in your Plovdiv visit it will be the long and wide pedestrian street Alexander I that joins a park with the square where the Dzhumaya mosque.

It is an eminently commercial street with modern establishments and beautiful baroque houses with colorful facades.

Interior of the Dzhumaya Mosque in Plovdiv in Bulgaria

It is a historical area where a process of rehabilitation of houses and facades is being completed, whose final milestone is undoubtedly the celebration of the events linked to the aforementioned declaration of European Cultural City 2019.

Roman stadium of Plovdiv

Next to the mosque you will find the remains of the ancient roman stadium of the second century, whose route runs below the aforementioned Alexander I Street.

In that place you will find a stone reproduction of said Roman stadium, and you can go down to the base of the same, as well as sit on the terrace of a cafeteria located in front of the flight of stands.

Dzhumaya Mosque of Plovdiv

Cited Dzhumaya mosque It was built in 1369 and is in the place where the ancient Byzantine cathedral was located that the Turks burned after the occupation of the city.

Kapana neighborhood in Plovdiv in Bulgaria

While as you know in most countries, you are not allowed to enter mosques if you are not a Muslim, in this case you can access the door and see inside.

There you will see its huge carpet that you will not be able to step on, and its decoration in which the white color of the walls is the protagonist.

Externally, the contrast of the great mosque building with baroque buildings with colored facades that surround it in the city will attract your attention. Rimski Stadion Square where it is located.

It is a prominent tourist point because there is also the tourist office and the headquarters of the Plovdiv Foundation 2019.

In the mosque building there is a Turkish pastry and tea shop, where you can taste the typical arab baklavas.

Corner of the Old Town of Plovdiv in Bulgaria

Regarding the Muslim presence in Plovdiv, it should be noted that this Bulgarian city It is located about two hours from the Turkish border and three hours from Istanbul.

Because of this proximity it is common for many Turks to arrive on weekends until Plovdiv to go to the various casinos of the city, because gambling is prohibited in Turkey.

Kapana neighborhood of Plovdiv

From the aforementioned Rimski Stadion Square extends the Kapana neighborhood where local artisans and artists follow each other, and which has become fashionable in recent times

It is an area with bars, cafes and terraces where in summer you can find atmosphere until 3 in the morning.

Corner of the Old Town of Plovdiv in Bulgaria

Old Town of Plovdiv

But the main Plovdiv tourist attraction you will find it on your walk through the Old City, an area that extends through the three hills that were initially inhabited by the Thracian.

When you reach the top of the main hill, you will see remains of the Wall that the Romans built on the original Thracian fortification.

During your ascent to the Old Town hill you will walk through streets with cobbled roads and leafy trees, which are closed to traffic

Above all, the houses of the 18th and 19th century style will attract your attention balkan baroque, most of which are renovated and have become small museums, like the one of the decorative arts, or one old pharmacy.

You will also see artist galleries and some store of souvenirs or crafts.

Orthodox church in the Old Town of Plovdiv in Bulgaria

A corner to highlight is the door that opens in a walled section where a beautiful house that houses a ethnography museum.

There is also a beautiful Orthodox church with the bell tower separated from the main building, because during the Turkish occupation the Christian churches were not allowed to have bell towers, and these only began to be built after their march.

Other places to highlight are known as Craftsmen Street, which are located in typical houses.

Or also the place where an old one was located dervish monastery of the nineteenth century, brotherhood of the Muslim religion that is characterized by the dances of its monks making circles without stopping.

Now the old building houses a restaurant with a cozy wooden decoration, in whose basement room you can see remains of the ancient roman wall.

Roman theater of Plovdiv in Bulgaria

Roman theater of Plovdiv

Finally, your visit of the Old Town of Plovdiv it will be incomplete if you are not going to visit the Roman theater of the first century that was discovered during the communist era, and that against what was usual then, in this case it was preserved.

Surely you will be surprised by its location on the side of a hill, and its large dimensions, as it had capacity for about 3,500 people.

It is currently used for shows and concerts and has become not only the Plovdiv icon monumentbut even of Bulgaria, along with others like the Rila monastery.

Corner of the urban center of Plovdiv in Bulgaria

Where to sleep in Plovdiv

Looking forward to your stay in PlovdivI would like to recommend a small charming design hotel where we stayed on our trip, which is located in the center of the city,

Is about 8 1 2 Art Guest House, which you can check that gets excellent ratings on platforms such as TripAdvisor Y Booking.

Here you have more information and you can book at Booking.

8 1 2 Art Guest House in Plovdiv in Bulgaria

Video: Plovdiv, Пловдив, European Capital of Culture 2019, Bulgaria, Kari Gröhn, karigrohncom (January 2020).