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Culture & Tourism

The world’s sixth oldest city

The city is built upon layers of towns and cultures and is picturesquely situated in the Thracian lowlands, just 100 miles east of Sofia. Plovdiv has been recognized as the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe and the sixth oldest in the world where one can go back in time 6000 years. Originally settled by the Thracians who established their fortification Eumolpias during the Neolithic period, it was Philip II of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great) who in 343 B.C conquered Eumolpias as a result of a great military expedition north against the Scythians. He renamed it Philippopolis and made it the most important city in Thrace. Later, under Roman (72 B.C) and Ottoman rule (1371), the city of Trimontium and then Filibe expanded greatly due to its strategic geographical location and was described as a beautiful and flourishing city influenced politically and culturally by both the East and the West, yet preserving its unique cultural identity.
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florence
Being older than Rome and Athens, the city of the seven hills has an astonishing historic and cultural heritage to share with its visitors. The Old Town, included in the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list, was built in the 18th and 19th centuries and became an essential economic and cultural centre during the Bulgarian National Revival period. Along steep cobblestone lanes and behind stone walls, one glimpses at verdure and flowers surrounding ancient monuments such as a well-preserved and still functioning Roman Amphitheatre and architecturally emblematic houses with their iron-studded heavy oak gates, painted facades, oriels and jetties and grid windows. The charming Ethnographical and Archaeological museums, the fabulous amphitheatre built during the time of Emperor Trajan (98-117), the 2nd century Roman forum and stadium, a beautifully painted church (1832 – 1836) and a 15th century mosque, one of the oldest in Europe, are just few of the breathtaking places in Plovdiv.

Sports & recreation

Plovdiv offers a world of possibilities for both indoors and outdoors recreational activities. Among a number of sports and fitness facilities located in the city, Plovdiv hosts one of the biggest sports centers in Bulgaria with the largest artificial water channel, indoors swimming pools, soccer fields and tennis courts. Multifunctional sports hall Kolodruma annually hosts vast range of sports and cultural events. Additionally, the three highest hills in the city are protected as park areas, perfectly suitable for hikes, jogging and bike rides. The Tsar Simeon’s Garden located in the very centre of the city is also a perfect place for recreation with its magnificent Singing Fountains, the fountain of Goddess Demeter, the Viennese pavilion and flowers that turn the park into a paradise garden. There are also children’s playgrounds and, happily, rollerblading and biking is allowed. Plovdiv has a strategic location when it comes to sports and recreation. The city is not only in a close proximity to two major ski resorts in Bulgaria – Borovetz and Pamporovo (about an hour and a half drive), but also connected by highway to the Black Sea coast – to some of the most developed seaside resorts (about two and a half hours by car). Additionally, one of the best spa resorts Hissar is located just about 40 minutes away from Plovdiv and the North shore of the Greek Sea – just a few hours drive away.

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Arts & city events

With its ancient, medieval and modern images and its rich spiritual life, Plovdiv has deservedly become a world cultural centre. In 2019 Plovdiv will be the European capital of culture – an EU initiative that gives the chosen city the opportunity to boost tourism and local economy, raise its international profile and enhance its image through a year-long diverse and rich cultural program.There are a lot of things to do in Plovdiv. For art lovers, there are over 50 art galleries, housing valuable pieces of modern Bulgarian paintings and regular international art, photography, sculpture, and graphic art exhibitions. Furthermore, the city hosts a bundle of festivals, which attract international artists and visitors from all over the country. Moreover, those events create additional revenues for the local economy, as well many other indirect economic impacts. A recent study shows that the economic effect of the free-entry Night/Plovdiv festival is about €0.7 Million. The largest and oldest fair in all of the Southeastern Europe, the Plovdiv International Fair, is also held in here since 1892 and attracts visitors from around the world. Plovdiv is well-known for its vibrant night life. Concentration of unique pubs, restaurants, clubs, art and craft studios one may find in the central Kapana district. It has emerged as a spontaneous hub for new art endeavours and the Municipality of Plovdiv has prioritised Kapana as a creative-industry district. In 2016 Plovdiv received the prestigious award “Golden Apple” of the World Federation of Journalists and Writers in tourism, as well as the Balkan Leader in Tourism award. The city is also one of the top 10 cities to visit in 2015 according to Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2015”.

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florence