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Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria, behind the capital Sofia, and is one of the most historic cities in the whole of the Balkan’s. It is one of the most ancient locations on the planet, being the 6th oldest inhabited city in the world. No matter how many movies or television programmes there are about those ancient times, seeing these structures for real can only impress!, can only impress.
This city has been Thracian, Greek, Roman and Ottoman, it is literally a record of the history of that region if the world, in one location.
Plovdiv was originally named after the 7 hills that surrounded it and these hills are seen on their Flag and Coat Of Arms. After the Romans occupied the region it was renamed after the 3 major hills it is situated within. When standing at the top of any of these hills and seeing the spectacular views, it is clear why they influenced its name throughout its history.
The ‘Old Town’ of Plovdiv is amazing, it does not only have many houses that were built by the upper classes of the Ottoman Empire, but it has an original medieval streets too! Walking down a normal ‘high street’ with shops,cafés and offices and then all of a sudden turning into a side street and finding a cobbled floor town with buildings constructed hundreds of years ago, it’s not only humbling, but thought provoking too!! Three new attractions in this area is the The Street of Crafts, House of Distillation and Klianti House.
The most spectacular places in Plovdiv are The Ancient Theatre, Roman Odeon and Stadium. Imagine being in the middle of scenes from Ben Heir and The Gladiator, that is what it feels like!
Bulgaria and especially Plovdiv has numerous Churches, Mosques, Temples, Museums and Galleries to visit too, so time should be taken to see them all. Try and schedule a visit, so it coincides with one of the many festivals, as the locals love to get into their traditional dress for a song and dance.
The Young Wine Festival is fantastic and introduces the new season’ wines, which are available for tasting, along with traditional food. Then groups of young people dressed in their red and yellow traditional dress break into song and dance. After several hours of going in and out of numerous local houses and sampling all the wine, everyone at the festival then joins in too. The outdoor theatre production, which is based on a young couple and an eventual wedding is a fun afternoon. The acting is excellent and it moved between beautiful Ottoman houses and gardens. The last scene is the wedding were all the audience turned into the guests and everyone dances, but also eat and drink as they were actually at a wedding reception!!
Try and go on a Winery Tour, as Bulgarian wine is now well established in the world market. It’s not only the wine tasting that is good, it’s the history of each Winery, plus the buildings, scenery, methods used and some traditional food as well. One of the best in the region is VILLA YUSTINA, which has a beautiful countryside vineyard, professionally run winery and a great wine tasting experience too.
Dan Travel is a local tour operator and provides access to any tour, trip or attraction, plus can organise bespoke tours to fit all needs.
The history and culture makes this city amazing, but it also has the Spa’s, Shops, Bars, Restaurants and Clubs to make it a brilliant destination to visit.
It also has many excellent Hotels you can chose from and they are very varied and have the normal chains, but also boutique and smaller ones too, which can be more interesting and cheaper too!! The best hotel in the city is the Landmark Creek Hotel, with its high quality fitments, bar, restaurant, gym, spa and top class customer service. Located at the end of the Rowing Lake (Regatta), which has a running and cycling track around it and sports centre attached too, it is ideally positioned. Adjacent to the sprots Centre complex is a Youth Centre, which has many educational and sporting facilities, plus accomadation.
Plovdiv has now become an economically important destination too, with the introduction of Trakia Economic Zone (TEZ), which is an Industrial Zone where companies can benefit from a number of extremely attractive incentives to set-up business there.
For a half-day trip away from the city Assen’s Fortrss is a great option, as it is a medieval fortress in the Rhodope Mountains and contains the Church of the Holy Mother of God. The earliest archaeological finding there date back to the Thracians and the views over the river and through the valley are amazing.
Another option is Bachkovo Monastery, which is Georgian Orthodox and attracts many local and worldwide pilgrims from around the world every year. It contains the Ossuray, Museum, Cathedral of the Virgin Mary and Archangels Church, but also important icons, murals, tree and ancient frescoes. It also now has accommodation too, so visitors really can immerse themselves in this very spiritual place.
Every year Plovdiv holds an International Meeting of Tourism, which grows bigger and has delegates from all around the world. It not only presents the city in a great light, but networks all the delegates, so they can form partnerships and friendships.
Plovdiv has been awarded – European City Capital of Culture 2019, so they are promoting themselves a lot more and asking for backing and support. The best way to do this is to go there and experience the city and see why they have received this accolade!
The Bulgarian Government Ministry of Tourism is always looking to work with outside agencies to help further promote the country.
In 2016 Plovdiv was awarded the FIJET Golden Apple Award for Tourism. The Bulgarian Association of Travel Writers and Journalists – ABUJET, is always looking for new and experienced people in the industry to get involved.
Plovdiv is definitely a destination to visit in the FUTURE , to see how civilisations lived in the PAST!