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Discover the oldest city in Europe

Let's continue our journey by making a stop that will definitely warm your heart. I am pretty sure that upon reading the title, you have had a confused look on your face. But do you know what is evidently the oldest city in Europe? I am sure that any guess is incorrect as Plovdiv, with the evidence of habitation dating back to the 6th millennium BC when the first Neolithic settlements were established by far beats up all the other cities. Apart from abundant history and breath taking architecture, this gorgeous Bulgarian gem offers so much more than you can imagine. In fact, on September 5, 2014, Plovdiv was selected as the Bulgarian host of the European Capital of Culture 2019. I hope you are ready to book your tickets, as I am sure this article will convince you that Plovdiv is the place to visit. Keep scrolling for more!

Plovdiv, the great metropolitan and the second largest city of Bulgaria, It is an important economic, transport, cultural, and educational center. For a very long time, Plovdiv was known in the West by the name Philippopolis or Philip's Town named after Philip II of Macedon who had conquered the city in the 4th century BC. However, since the 9th century, the Slavic name Plovdiv began to appear and to be commonly used. In the beginning of the 20th century, Plovdiv grew as a significant industrial and commercial center with well-developed light and food industry. Despite the fact that I am so tempted to provide you now a longer historical background, I will leave it up to you, and I highly recommend you to discover more, as I am sure Plovdiv's past will not leave you disappointed.

Plovdiv is situated in a fertile region of south-central Bulgaria on the two banks of the Maritsa River. As the city has developed on seven syenite hills, it is often referred to in Bulgaria as "The City of the Seven Hills". Its great location has the advantage of proximity to other popular places in the region, such as the Bachkovo Monastery, the ski-resort Pamporovo as well as the spa resorts namely Hisarya, Banya, Krasnovo, and Strelcha. Thus, the climate of the city at any time of the year is something you will surely find as a pure perfection and rather convenient to plan your next trip. Speaking of pure perfection? You thought you have tried a delicious cuisine until you come to the Balkans. Without pretense, it can simply be said that the sun is warmer, food tastes better and everything is just more delcious. After all, try it out for yourself and enjoy the time. Any restaurant you choose will be a great choice, but my favorite so far are Hemingway and Hebros.

Like this city cannot get better, I will also give you a great news, especially for festival lovers. Plovdiv is a host to a huge variety of cultural events and festivals, namely The International Fair Plovdiv, The International Theatrical festival "A stage on a crossroad", the TV festival "The golden chest," and many more year-around festivals, such as Night/Plovdiv in September, Kapana Fest, and Opera Open. Moreover, the city offers numerous museums, art, galleries and cultural institutions and it is host to musical, theatrical, and film events as well, all what the culture center can be.

Another great thing is that Plovdiv is a great cultural hub, as it offers numerous preserved ruins dating several milenia back such as the Ancient Plovdiv Roman theatre, a Roman Odeon, a Roman Aqueduct, the Plovdiv Roman Stadium, the Archaeological complex Eirene, and others. It may seem like a cliche, but you will see that once you get there, you will really have an amazing feeling as if you have traveled way back to the past. Prepare your phones and cameras too, as these monuments will give you the photo album to remember.

As a matter of fact, you will be surprised to learn that Plovdiv has more than 200 archaeological sites, 30 of which are of great national importance. Apart from the Ancient Theatre,the best-known monument from antiquity in Bulgaria, about which I will write in the upcoming inspirations, there are also several remains of the medieval walls and towers; Ottoman baths and mosques; a well-preserved old quarter from the National Revival period with beautiful houses; churches; and narrow paved streets.

Finally, I hope just short introduction of this glorious Bulgarian gem really inspired you to discover more about the rich history of the city, as well as to have the time of your life and enjoy in what it offers today. Since Plovdiv can offer so much to its visitors, rest assured that I will definitely keep you posted with more inspirations and places to see. Stay tuned and inspired!

Ancient Roman Theatre, Plovdiv
Ancient Roman Theatre, Plovdiv
Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Plovdiv Old Town
Plovdiv Old Town
15 Georgi Benkovski Str., 4000 Kapana, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

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The author

Lejla Dizdarevic

Lejla Dizdarevic

I am Lejla, from Serbia, passionate about writing, radio and theatre. I would love to show you the hidden gems of my beloved Balkan countries.

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