Plovdiv overview

An ancient crossroads between East and West and Bulgaria's second largest city today, Plovdiv has preserved unique treasures from its 24 centuries long history. Evmolpia - the city of the ancient Thracians, Philippopolis (372 B.C.) - the city of Philip II of Macedon, the Roman Trimontium - the city on three hills, and Old Plovdiv - a picturesque architectural National Revival period ensemble fashioned by the generous talent, heart and mind of the Bulgarian masters. From the city's ancient buildings - the city forum, the stadium, the amphitheatre of Philip II of Macedon, basilicas, thermae, houses and administrative buildings, mostly fragments remain today: columns, capitals, friezes, mosaics, bas-reliefs and street pavements. The 2nd century Antique Theatre,seating 3,000 has been completely restored and performances are again presented here. Old Plovdiv on Trimontium is the centre of Bulgarian National Revival architecture at its height. Developing in a natural way, the Bulgarian building traditions form the core around which the new styles of the time evolved. Just take a look at the Georgiadi House (1846-48), the Koyumdjioglou House (1846-48), today's Ethnographic Museum, the Balabanov House and the Alphonse de Lamartine museum-house (1830) where the French poet lived for a few months. With multi-coloured facades, yoke-shaped bay-windows and sleder pediments, abundant decoration and lavish furnishings, softly couloured silhouettes and carved ceilings, Plovdiv's two - and three-storey houses are as eye-catching as ever, fairly resembling minor palaces. During the National Revival period were built many churches in prominent places: the threenave basilical churches St. Nedelya and St. Dimiter (1831). St. Constantine and Helena Church (1832), the St. Marina main metropolitan church (1853-54). There are many more things to see in Plovdiv: the permenent exhibition of Zlatyu Boyadjiev (1903-1976), one of Bulgaria's great artists who loved and painted Plovdiv, the workshops of the traditional masters of old Bulgarian arts and crafts on Strumna Street - coppersmiths, furriers, potters.

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