"Philippopolis" Top 5 Page for this destination Plovdiv by mindcrime
Plovdiv Travel Guide: 451 reviews and 1,220 photos
Plovdiv is located on the banks of Maritsa river, about 152km SE of Sofia.
Plovdiv is the second biggest city in Bulgaria after Sofia with 340,000 inhabitants. We visited the city in late February, it was cold and there was still some snow around but we were lucky and the sun came with us as long as we were there so we enjoyed walking around the city.
We took the train from Sofia (there are numerous trains daily, also many buses) and 2 hours later we were in Plovdiv. The train station is 10’ walk away from the city center so it’s very convenient even if you come for a daytrip.
We preferred to stay 2 full days, the first day we saw the main sites, most of them are located in the Old Town. There you can visit churches, a mosque, an ancient amphitheatre, museums and of course the numerous beautiful restored houses from 19th century (many of them are now museums, restaurants etc). We ended up at Nebet Tepe, the top of the hill where we had some nice views over the city.
In warmer months you may also try Bunardzhika Hill for the monument of Alyosha or Djendem Hill just for the view. Back to the main pedestrian street of the city you can go for shopping (low prices comparing to west Europe) or relax at the cafe and the restaurants of the area, it’s the street that gets packed by locals and visitors every day. On the main square you will see a Tourist Information, they gave us a free map of the city, you can see all the sites on it although it’s hard to get lost in the city centre anyway.
The second day we did a small day trip from Plovdiv to Bachkovo monastery, 35’ away from Plovdiv by bus. You can also stop at Asenova Fortress, 2-3 km south of the town of Asenovgrad
The history of the city goes back to Neolithic period, archaeologists excavated items from 4000BC. Thracians settled here (city’s name was Eumolpias) and then the Greeks arrived and named the city the greek name Philipoupolis (Philips’ city) and extended the small settlement on the top of Nebet Tepe. As it was always built upon seven hills Plovdiv very often referred as The City of The Seven Hills although during the roman occupation it was called Trimontium (three hills). During the middle ages the town took back its greek name Phillipopolis, it was an important border fortress of Byzantine Empire although it was incorporated into Bulgarian Empire for just some years.
When Ottoman Turks arrived in 1364 they called it Filibe and made it capital of Rumeli region unti 1382 when Sofia took this role. The city was also called Plovdiv in old Bulgarian, probably from the old Thracian name Pulpudeva (which is Philips’ city again) The truth is that the name Philippopolis was the one that western Europe used till early 20th century, in Greece we still use this name.
National Revival came and some weathly merchants built beautiful houses that we enjoy today in the Old Town.
What I didn’t know was the fact that one of the seven hills was destroyed in early 20th century!
Arriving in Plovdiv by train/bus you have to walk 10’ to the center. The first thing you see is the square Stefan... more travel advice
Walking up the main pedestrian street we ended up in a big mosque! It’s Ulu Djumaya Mosque (original name is Cuma Camii... more travel advice
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