Culture and tourism

"Ancient and eternal"

Did you know that Plovdiv is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe and one of the most ancient in the world?

Evidence of habitation dates back to the 6th millennium BCE, when the first Neolithic settlements were established. Since then the city has been ‘home’ for many peoples – Thracians, Persians, Ancient Macedonians, Celts, Romans, Byzantines, Goths, Huns, Bulgarians (Thracians, Bulgars, Slavic tribes, etc.), Crusaders, and Ottoman turks. Many cultures have left their mark on the city, which is evident not only in the current unique atmosphere, culture and architecture, but also in its names throughout the ages.
4000 B.C.
Kendrissos / Kendros
1200 B.C
Evmolpias

The Thracians named the city after their mythical king Eumoplas, son of Poseidon.

342 B.C.
Philippopolis
Philip of Macedonia named the city after himself.
Unknown
Pulpudeva
a translation of Philippopolis that the Thracians used when they inhabited the city again.
42 A.D.
Trimontsium
Meaning ‘Three Hills’ - a name given by the Romans.
Unknown
Ulpia / Flavia / Julia
The city also bore the names of these Roman families at times
9th century A.D
Puldin / Ploudin / Pulden / Populdin
The name given to the city by the Slavs after the fall of the Roman Empire.
14th - 19th century A.D.
Filibe
The city’s name during the Ottoman Empire’s rule
Now
Plovdiv
The name was first mentioned in the 11th century, but was replaced by Filibe during the Ottoman Empire. After the City's Liberation, the name was reinstated.

Plovdiv is home to impressive monuments of antiquity – a 1st-century Ancient Theatre, the Roman Stadium (2nd-century), the Ancient Forum, the preserved Roman mosaic heritage, seen in The Bishop’s Basilica of Philippopolis (4-6th century) and in The Small Early Christian Basilica (4-6th century), the Aqueduct of Philippopolis, the vibrant Old Town and many others.

The Old Town, built in the 18th-19th century as a center of Bulgarian Revival architecture, with its beautiful and brightly decorated houses, is one of the city’s finest gems. It has been submitted as a candidate for the UNESCO World Heritage List, alongside the Bishop’s Basilica of Philippopolis.

Art and culture everyone can enjoy

As a cultural center in Bulgaria, Plovdiv hosts and supports the organization of a number of events and the development of the arts and culture industries. The cultural calendar of Plovdiv is one of the richest in Europe with annual events in theatre, opera, sports, film, music, cuisine, arts and crafts, technology and education, and many more. Some of the most recognized events held annually include: Museum and Gallery Night, Plovdiv Jazz Fest, Opera Open (held at the Ancient Theatre), Hills of Rock, One Dance Week, Kapana Fest, Cinema Under the Stars, Plovdiv Beer Fest and others. Whether you wish to watch the Opera – JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at the 1st century Ancient Theatre, enjoy the music of rock legends at Hills of Rock in the Regatta Venue or drink craft beer at the Food Fests – Plovdiv has it all.

Besides the annual events – enjoying art and the blend of cultures in Plovdiv is easy. Known for its rich nightlife, concentration of bars, cafés, and arts and crafts studios, Kapana has transformed into a center for local and international artists, as well as a spontaneous gathering point for the 20 000 expats and the large freelance community in the city. It is the perfect place to discover new things – from the lavish cuisine and beautiful art pieces, to new friends from all over the world.

International Festival of Chamber Music

May-June

Balabanov’s House Music Days

May-November

Music Daze

June

National Folk Festival

June

S’cool rock fest

June

Opera Open

June-September

Austrian Music Weeks

July

Hills of Rock

July

Wrong Fest Music Festival

September

Electric Orpheus

October

Plovdiv Jazz Fest

October

Plovdiv Guitar Fest

November

Sofia Film Fest in Plovdiv

March

Cinemania Film Fest

April

International Film Fest

May

Include in the Neighbourhood – June-July Theater in the Park

June-July

Plovdiv Ballet Fest

June

“Black Box” Contemporary Dance Festival

June/July

Cinema Under the Stars

June/July

Panorama of Comedies “Curtain Under the Stars”

June-September

European Comedy Film Festival

July

Summer Cinema in the Park

July

Filippopolis Film Nights Festival

July/August

Theatre Comedy Festival “Smiles Under the Hill”

August-September

Theatre Festival ” Scene at Crossroads”

September

Façade Video Festival

September

One Dance Week

October

Kapana Bazaar

April/May

Craft Fair

May/September

Made at the Academy Festival

June

Whiskey & Street Art Fest

June

European Nights of Museums

July

International Photo Salon

July/August

National Autumn Exhibitions

September

Week of Contemporary Art

September

Autumn Salon of Arts

September-November

Exhibition “Us and Them”

October

International Meetings of Photography

October

Plovdiv Game Jam January

January

Young Blue Eart Festival

April

European Literature Night

May

Hello Health Festival

May

International Poetry Festival “Orpheus”

May

National Career Days

May

Literary festival “Plovdiv Reads”

June

Anime & Gaming Festival

July

Grappling Torunament

April

European Mile Plovdiv

May

ITF Taekwon-do Championship

June

International Cycling Tour of Bulgaria

July

Plovdiv Triathlon

July

European Womens’s Volleyball Championship

August

World Youth Rowing Competitions

August

Marathon Plovdiv

October

Kapana Bazaar

April/May

Craft Fair

May/September

Made at the Academy Festival

June

Whiskey & Street Art Fest

June

European Nights of Museums

July

International Photo Salon

July/August

National Autumn Exhibitions

September

Wine & Gourmet Festival

May

Plovdiv Food Park Festival

June

Ethno Kitchen on Wheels

June/July

Street Food & Music Festival

July

Plovdiv Beer Fest

September

Parade of the Young Wine

November

Together

In September 2014, Plovdiv was selected as the European Capital of Culture for 2019 and the concept of “Together”, on which Plovdiv’s application is based, was evaluated as extremely important for the development of the cultural and social life of the city. The concept is cited as a perfect example of successfully combining the historical heritage of the city with the challenges and upsides of modern life. Behind the project is the ambitious cultural task of uniting people of different generations, ethnicities and beliefs in Plovdiv and the entire South Central region.

Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture 2019 is a unique project for Bulgaria, which provides new opportunities for developing the potential of the city and giving new international visibility to Bulgarian culture in general.

Awards

Plovdiv is the first Bulgarian city to be awarded the title European Capital of Culture (in 2019, jointly with Italy’s Matera).

The European Commission praised Plovdiv’s campaign and outlined Kapana Creative District as one of the most visible symbols of change in the city and one of its liveliest areas.

#1 Best European Cultural Destination 2022

#4 Best European Destinations 2022

“The most important cultural destination in Europe […] Ancient and eternal, artistic and modern, cosmopolitan and romantic, this city is so captivating and full of life.” – European Best Destinations

TOP 10 Best in Travel destinations in the world for 2015 in the ranking of the world-renowned Lonely Planet Guide.