Plovdiv is the second biggest city in Bulgaria. It is located on the both banks of the Maritsa River and comprises an area of 53 sq km. Plovdiv is about 140 km away from the capital Sofia and 250 km away from the sea coast.
The municipality of Plovdiv is the second biggest in the country and is situated in Central Bulgaria. Its territories are part of the Upper Thracian Lowland and reach down to the Rhodoppe Mountain. The average height is 160 meters above sea level and the terrain is rather flat.
The town itself is situated around seven hills called tepe. They resemble islands among the vast valley. The population of the city is 340 000 and constantly rising.
Major international roads pass through Plovdiv since ancient times. This unique position is the reason Plovdiv to become a cultural and trade center with cultural and political influences from both East and West civilizations.
Contemporary Plovdiv is roughly divided into two parts - the old town Stariyat grad, which occupies the three eastern hills, and the lower town spread in the plain below. The modern town offers modern entertainment while the old town feels like going back in time. The ancient part of the three-hill town is an architectural reserve and preserves buildings from the Renaissance.
Plovdiv originates from the 7 and 6th millennium B.C. It is the same age as Troy, Mikena and Crete. Its history is more than 8000 years old which makes it one of the oldest European cities.
In 1975 archeologists find the remains of a religious building from the Crete-Mikena culture period that is comparable to the findings in Knosos Island.
The history of Plovdiv is associated with two Thracian tribes - odrisi and besi.
The Thracian king Evmopl established the city on three of the hills - Nebet tepe,Taksim tepe and Dzhambaz tepe. The settlement was named after him - Evmolpia which means sweet sound.
In 342 B.C. the Macedonian king Philip II conquered it and renames it to Philipopolis. However the Thracian regained the settlement a few decades later. Soon after, the city was demolished by the Celts. The metropolis suffered two more invasions in the 3rd and the 5th century B.C.
It takes more than 2 centuries for the Romans to conquer Thracia. In 72 B.C they finaly took control over the city and called it Trimontzium or the city of three hills. In the 2nd and 3rd century the town was pronounced as metropolis had its own senate, it was empowered to gather taxes and mints its own coins. Trimontzium reached its zenith.
At that time the construction of roads, fortresses, baths and temples was made.
With this extension the city left the margins of the three hills and started developing in the valley.
Therefore a second wall was constructed. Trimontzium had a modern for that time water and sewerage systems.
During medieval the city is part of Byzantium. In the 6th century the Slavs started settling in the area which total changed the ethnic look of the area. At that time Trimontzium was also called Ulpia, Flavia and Julia. The Slavs used the Thracian name Pulpudeva but modified it a bit - Puldin and Ploudin. The new modern name Plovdiv is derived from those names.
The town was officially in Bulgarian territories from 834 with the creation of the first Bulgarian Kingdom. By the time it was conquered by the Turks, Plovdiv was either in Byzantium or in Bulgarian territories.
In 1364 the town was captivated by the Ottoman Empire and gained a new name - Philibe. Philibe totally changed its architectural look and became typical oriental town.
In the National Revival Era Plovdiv was the biggest town in Bulgarian territories and was an economical and crafts center.
After the Liberation, Plovdiv hosts a number of International events. The International Plovdiv Fare is the successor of that tradition.
During the past few years, Plovdiv is an arena of massive construction work. The contemporary city has a number of business centers, shopping centers, and cultural facilities. Quite a lot of monuments were also restored and opened to public.
- The Old Plovdiv Architectural Reserve - located at the three-hill region with architectural and artistic monuments preserving the city's past
- A great number of archeological monuments including the antique theatre (Roman Forum), the Roman Stadium, the aqueduct, the Nebet Tepe Archeological Complex, the fortress walls of Phillipopolis, Hisar Kapia and so on
- The Yellow School from 1868
- Quite a lot churches and mosques