Surrounded by the Rhodope and Old Mountains, as well as the Maritisa River that runs through it, Plovdiv is a city that possesses an unmistakable look. With the addition of its man-made sights, it is no surprise that it was bestowed with the honour of hosting the 2019 European Capital of Culture awards. If you haven’t really been acquainted with this Bulgarian joy, then here are just a few of the historical sites of Plovdiv that might sway you into visiting.
The Roman Theatre
As one of Europe’s oldest cities, Plovdiv still has largely intact historical sites and structures that date back for thousands of years. The Roman Theatre is a 2nd Century traditional Roman theatre that was only discovered in the early seventies after a landslide. After which, plans were set in motion to get it reconditioned. Today it is now a venue and hosts many types of performance, including plays, dance and concert – the perfect way to spend a romantic evening.
The Ruins of Eumolpias
From setting foot in the city, most travellers will learn quickly that walking around Plovdiv is walking through history. The Thracians (an Indo-European tribe) settled in what is now the Old Town area of the city 5000 years ago, and the amazing thing is that it is still possible to see the remnants and tread the same ground as this historical group. What’s more, the ruins are located in a beautiful area where you will be able to overlook the city.
Whilst you’re walking the cobbled medieval streets of Old Town you may want to take some time out for a place to eat. If you want to keep in with the tradition of exploring older times, then Puldin Restaurant is the perfect choice. As well being an Ottoman site, it also was a Christian monastery that maintains its fortress wall that was put in place by the Romans. The interior of the restaurant is very appealing, with its many artifacts and stylish furnishings. The menu itself boasts an array of traditional Bulgarian food and drink like keopolo (aubergine spread), tikvichki (courgette) or their various stewed meats.
Lap it up in luxury
Compared with other European countries Bulgaria is relatively cheap, so it won’t break the bank if you decide to opt for a multi-starred hotel. Hotel Leipzig is in a central location and the rooms are decorated in a charming, quirky fashion. They are a short walk from the Central Railway Station. If you’re on a budget, there is an array of hostels like Hostel Center, Guest House Old Plovdiv and Cvetkov Guest Rooms that are clean, spacious and include many facilities like WiFi and en suite bathrooms.
The Starosel Tomb
An excavation at the start of the millennium allowed for another amazing find: the Starosel Tomb. Archeologists believe the two-chamber grave was built in fourth or fifth century BC and consists of around 4,000 stone blocks, and is considered the largest Thracian tomb ever discovered. Inside the structure, a bounty of artefacts were found, including gold jewellery, a gold funerary wreath, bronze shields, weaponry, armour and decorative silver that would have adorned a horse.
The Starosel area also has a total of 9 tombs, as well as a construction that it is alleged to have housed the king of the time and is also known to have been an area of religious importance to the Thracians.
This article was in partnership with Visit Plovdiv