Attractions in PlovdivWhen you are in Plovdiv go to see the local attractions and collect some good memories and a brief overview of Bulgarian history and culture. The city is one of the oldest in Europe. You can see many old buildings, old streets, monasteries and artifacts that are preserved to tell the story of the city. But Plovdiv is not all about ancient and medieval monuments. Today the image of Plovdiv is changing fast. There are many new attractions - modern buildings, parks, malls, museums, galleries, universities, etc. There are so many attractions on a walking distance in Plovdiv that you will be amazed by the short distances between them. As there are hundreds of attractions there is something for everyone. Please take a look at the list of local attractions that we have prepared for you.
The Old Town of Plovdiv is a place where you can see numerous Old Houses, stop for a coffee or just enjoy the view from hill, visit an ancient roman theatre, etc.
The Bachkovo monastery was founded in 1083. It had its heyday during the Second Bulgarian Empire 1185 – 1396 but was ransacked by the Turks in the 15th and 16th centuries. The reconstruction began in the middle of the 17th century. The famous murals were painted in the 19th century. Bachkovo is now the second-largest monastery after Rila. It is a working monastery so therefore no photos are allowed inside the premises. The monastery was found by Prince Gregorios Pakourianos prominent Georgian statesman, military commander in 1083. The only part that has survived from the monastery’s original structure is the ossuary.
Under the main street in Plovdiv, is located the magnificent, very impressive Roman stadium. Its rostrums were built over Sahat tepe and Taxim tepe (2 of the earby hills). The stadium has the form of horseshoe and there has been 30 000 seats. The flashiest competitions were the Alexandrian games, which were just like the Greek Olympic games. The main sport branches were the disk throw and spear throw, run, jumps, fight. The games were organized at every 4 years and continued a few days.
Asenova Fortress is situates in the Rhodope Mountains, 2-3 km south of Asenovgrad. The earliest archaeological findings date back to the time of the Thracians. The fortress gained importance in the Middle Ages, first mentioned in the statute of the Bachkovo Monastery as Petrich in the 11th century. The fortress was conquered by the armies of the Third Crusade. It was considerably renovated in the 13th century during the rule of Bulgarian tsar Ivan Asen II to serve as a border fortification against Latin raids, as evidenced by an eight-line wall inscription.
The Roman theatre, also known as the Amphitheatre, was built under the reign of emperor Trajan in the 2nd century. It holds around 7.000 seats in different sections named after the city sections with the names engraved on the benches to guide the citizens where to sit. The theatre was sadly damaged by Attila the Hun in the 5th century. It is used for performances of many kinds during the summer.
Milio is a popular, kind hearted and eccentric person from the near past of Plovdiv. Brandes by some as a “harmless crazy”, he lived in the city in the sixties and was a famous gossip. The legend goes that he knew the gossips of the whole town and told them to everyone interested (and occasionaly uninterested) in them.He was a muse for several famous Bulgarian artists, most notably the world famous Zlatio Boyadjiev.
Monument of Reunion is 12 m high and was built in 1985. The Monument is symbol of the Reunion of Bulgaria in 1885. The bird’s wings represents the unity of the two separeted parts of Bulgaria. It is located at the Union square together with the historical and archeological museums.
The Archeological museum possesses one of the largest collections (100 000 exhibits) of human art connected with Plovdiv’s history.
The State Opera of Plovdiv was established in 1953 with its first spectacle –“A sold bride” by B. Smetana. In the course of time the repertoire of the Opera was enriched with works by Cimarosa, Pergolesi, Motzart, Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, Masani, Leonkavalo, Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Chaikovski, Musorgski, Borodin, Rahmaninov, Stravinski, Carl Orff, Yanachek, Ravel, Briton, Menotti, Burnshtein, Gershwin, Prokofiev.
The Dzumaya Mosque the second-oldest working mosque in Europe, was originally built in 1364 but was soon burnt down. In 1435 Murad II rebuilt it and named it Muradiye after himself. The mosque was rebuilt and reconstructed in 1784 under the reign of Abdul Hamid and has since then not been changed. With a 23m-high minaret, it was the largest of Plovdiv’s more than 50 Ottoman mosques.
The Bulgarian Museum of Aviation was founded in 1991 and it presents the development and the achievements of the Bulgarian aviation. The museum is a branch of the National Military and History Museum, and is situated in a close proximity to Plovdiv airport. The Aviation Museum possesses two rich expositions – an internal and an external one.
The Nebet Tepe hill contains various archaeological layers, the oldest one being from the Bronze Age, 3rd millennium BOT. Archeologists have discovered some rock-cuttings and places for offerings and sacrifices to the gods proving a Thracian sanctuary and settlement to have been on the site.
This monument on Alexander the Great located a few feet from the monument dedicated to the Russian army upon a hill in Plovdiv.
Philip II the Macedon conquested the Trakian City Evmolpia and gave it its name – Philippopolis (Nowadays Plovdiv). Interesting fact is that Plovdiv has 7 different names in different epochs. The monument is a gift from Thessaloniki Embassy. In the beginning they put it at Djumaya square but now it’s removed at the corner of Avksenti Veleshki street and Philip the Macedoia str.
Knyaz Aleksandar is the main pedestrian street in Plovdiv. It’s the city’s busiest spot in the summertime as countless young, fashion-concious Bulgarians stroll up and down the length of the street, popping in and out of the various shops, clothing boutiques, restaurants, and cafes (both of the internet and espresso varieties).
The St.St. Konstantin and Elena Church is one of the oldest Christian temples in Plovdiv. It was built on top of the fortified acropolis wall. The original church – dedicated to Emperor Constantine the Great and his mother Elena – was built in AD 337. During the years, the building was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Its current edifice was constructed in 1832 with the help of local patriots. Its magnificent frescoes and icons were painted by masters of one of the most famous Bulgarian Icongraphic Schools.
Plovdiv airport is situated at about 9 km from the city. The airport is offering no regular flights and is specialized in international charter passenger flights only throughout the year. The busiest period is the winter season when a huge number of foreign tourists fly in to go to one of the top 3 Bulgarian ski resorts – Pamporovo (60 km), Borovets (90 km) and Bansko (160 km).
After main repairs and restoration in 2003, the present owners – the Maletzovis transformed it into an Art Gallery – Museum “Philippopolis”. In this moment Hadzi Aleko’s house is the first private museum – gallery in Plovdiv with a collection of works by 19th and 20th century Bulgarian masters such as Vladimir Dimitrov, Anton Mitov and Dimitar Gyudzhenov and halls for exhibitions of contemporary artists.
The house of Georgi Mavridi (today’s Lamartine House-Museum) was built in 1829 at a corner-spot of three streets, with difference in the levels.
Unlike some of the other house museums, which are great buildings but turned into galleries, Atanas Krastev House Museum is very much a house, with dining room, living room, and study, but with interesting and mostly contemporary artwork all around.
One of Plovdiv’s hills is Bunardjika or Hill of the Liberators. There is a statue of a Red Army soldier (Alyosha) standing guard over the town. There are wonderful views over Plovdiv from this sight.
House-museum Georgiadi was built in 1848 by the Rhodopes master Haji George, and is one of the best models of the wide spread type of the Plovdiv “symmetrical house”. The Museum of National Liberation is now housed in Georgiadi House, only a few steps from Plovdiv’s reknown ancient gateway, “Hisar Kapia”. The museum exhibits cover the early Ottoman period, with special attention given to the era of the National Revival.
The Drama Theatre on the main pedestrian street has a daily programme of theatrical performances but these are usually in Bulgarian. There are occasional concerts and musicals that are accessible to non Bulgarian speakers.
Plovdiv Central Railway Station is well organised. Computer screens at the station entrance and in the underpass leading to the platforms list recent arrivals and upcoming departures. The office is always open.
The house belonged to Hristo G. Danov, Bulgaria’s first large scale publisher. In a building adjacent to the house is now the Museum of Bulgarian Printing, complete with Danov’s first press.