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Plovdiv

Location: Plovdiv is situated in the west part of Upper Thracian Lowland, in the Maritsa River valley. It has population of about 376 000 and is located 140 km away from the capital Sofia and 20 km from Assenovgrad. It ranks as the second Bulgarian city in population, size and significance, after the capital Sofia. The city is an important cultural, historic and tourist centre. It is a regional administrative centre, as well.
The hills of Plovdiv are noticeable from quite a distance. This is an area of a vast flat plain and all of a sudden hills pop up! Besides the three hills already mentioned (Dzhambaz Tepe, Taxim Tepe and Nebet Tepe), around which the ancient town has been founded and which host the most interesting and precious remains of our past, stone breasts are rising Sahat Tepe, also known as the Danov’s Hill (within the centre of the town, with the clock tower dating back to 16th century), Bunardzhika Tepe (west of the city centre, with the stature of a Russian soldier), and Dzhendem Tepe (The hill of Youht, further to the west). The six hills, as well as the old town of Plovdiv bring specific colour and atmosphere to the town and shape up its unique view and nature.

History: Plovdiv is one of the ancient cities in Europe; it has nearly 8000 years of history. It arose in the 5th century BC as a Thracian settlement, called Eumolpia. Later the city was conquered by Philip II of Macedonia and in his honour was named Philippopolis. Romans gave it the name of Thrimonzium. In the 6th century Slavs settled in the valley of the Maritsa River and introduced the name Pulden. In 1364 it fell under Ottoman rule and was renamed Filibe. In the first half of the 19th century the city flourished economically.

Places of Interest: Plovdiv is a picturesque town, with many parks and gardens, museums and archaeological monuments. Its old part, called the Old Town, with houses from the National Revival period (18-19th century), is an imposing open-air museum situated on the three hills of the ancient Trimontium. One of the most remarkable sights of the town, the Ancient Theatre (a well-preserved Roman theatre), is located there and is still used for open-air performances. The center of the modern town is the huge main square across which the Post Office and the faded elegance of the Hotel Trimontium face each other. From the square, the main street leads to Freedom Park, with its fountains and colored lights, this is the route of the twice daily promenade. It is fun either to watch from a cafe or to join the walking, chatting crowd. In this part of Plovdiv the few remaining ruins of a Roman stadium are visible below street level. The Dzhumaiya and Imaret Mosques, with their distinctively patterned minarets also catch the eye. It is, however, the Old Town which attracts most visitors. Once again there is a feast of National Revival style, here elevated to more sophisticated architectural levels than in the small towns and villages. There is a verifiable warren of cobbled alleys and wandering rather than map-reading is the best approach, allowing the visitor to follow tempting paths at will. No-one should miss the Roman theatre, an astonishing archaeological discovery made in the early 1980s. These impressive ruins would have been part of the acropolis of Trimontium, built when the Romans made it a provincial capital in the 2nd century. Along some streets, ancient fortress walls from Byzantine times can be seen, and high up on the hill is the even older ruined citadel of Nebet Tepe. This stronghold was fortified first in the 5th century B.C. by a Thracian tribe, and was subsequently seen as an essential target by every successive conqueror of this region. Visiting the fascinating Ethnographic Museum, the former Koyumdjioglu House, gives another opportunity to admire a lavish interior, notably the stunning rosette in the ceiling of the main reception hall upstairs. Outside, its roof sweeps in voluptuous curves and ornate gilt wreaths decorate its facade.
Plovdiv hosts the International Fair twice a year - in the beginning of May the fair is dedicated to consumer goods and commodities, while the fair organised in September focuses on industrial goods.

Transport: Two types of transport –road and railway-connect this city to the rest of the country. There is also an existing air transport infrastructure, bur currently there are no flights to and from Plovdiv. Highway connects the city with Sofia, while major road infrastructures connect it with Pazardjik, Assenovgrad, Stara Zagora, Bourgas, Haskovo, Kardjali, Karlovo, Smolyan.

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