The Bulgarian city of Plodiv is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world & currently, the second largest city in Bulgaria after the capital city ‘Sophia’! This veteran city is the true witness of the Bulgarian history as its rich history dates back to 4000 BC! This classical Thracian City proudly flaunts the remains of ancient, medieval, revival & modern day history, which seamlessly gets blended with each other to put forth one of the grandest city in the history of mankind.
This sizzling city of the Thrace land has acquired many names throughout its 6000 to 8000 years of existence. ‘Kendros’, ‘Eumolpia’, ‘Philippopolis’, ‘Thrimonzium’, ‘Paulden’, ‘Populdin’ , ‘Ploudin’ & ‘Filibe’ were the names acquired by this city in its long journey before becoming known by the name- ‘Plodiv’, which appeared for the first time in 15th century & eventually became the final identity of this city till date! However, the most of the recorded history mentions this city by its Greek name ‘Philipopolis’, which was tossed up in 340 BC. Plodiv, which was one of the major cities during the Greek as well as the Roman era, still holds its reputation as an important economic, cultural, transport & educational center.
‘Plodiv’ is nestled amidst the ‘Balkan Range’ & the ‘Rhodpe Mountains’ in the south-central region of Bulgaria. Historically, it was developed on the seven hills, some of which were used as quarries. ‘Plodiv’ is often referred as ‘The City of the Seven Hills’ because of its seven hills. The ‘Maritsa River’ flowing through this city has played an important role in the development of ‘Plodiv’.
HISTORY IN BRIEF:-
The history of ‘Plodiv’ begins from 4000 BC, when it was a small ‘Neolithic’ settlement. In the 4th century, it was conquered by ‘Phillip II of Macedonia’, the father of ‘Alexander the Great’. The city was christened as ‘Phillipopolis’ following the invasion. The city was recaptured by the Thracians again, who commanded the city till 72 BC when the Roman general Marcus Lucullus snatched it from the Thracians. ‘Plodiv’ was conquered once again by the Thracians; however, the mighty Roman emperor Claudius restored it back to the Roman Empire & named the city as ‘Trimontium’ (The city on Three Hills).
‘Plodiv’ saw the golden era in the reign of Romans as it became the largest & the most influential city of the ‘Province of Thrace’. The growth & the glory of the city had reached to the apex & several new improvements were carried out in the form of fortifications & the water system which made it one of the most important strongholds of Romans.
The 6th century saw the Slavs conquering the city, but the ‘Bulgarian Emperor Khan Krum’ seized the city in 812 AD to incorporate it in the Bulgarian Empire. The Byzantine Empire snatched it from the Bulgarians in 855-856 & till the 13th century, ‘Plodiv’ alternately kept changing hands between the Bulgarians & the Byzantines amidst the interventions from the Crusaders who looted the city on several occasions on their way to Mecca.
The fate of the city changed once again in the 14th century as the Ottoman Emperors surmounted the city & it remained as a part of the ‘Ottoman Empire’ till 1878 when the Russians came to liberate ‘Plodiv’ from the Ottoman’s grip. ‘Plodiv’, later on, became the capital of the Ottoman region, ‘Eastern Rumelia’ which, in 1885, dissolved in Bulgaria.
‘Plodiv’ houses more than 200 archeological sites that flaunt the remains from antiquity to medieval till the modern era. Numerous museums, art galleries, beautiful churches & adorable houses adorn this matured city. ‘Plodiv’ also serves as a cultural center as it hosts myriad musical & theatrical events & is world renowned for organizing the major event called ‘The International Fair’, the history of which dates back to 1892.
- Old City:- The old city which was situated on the three hills during the Roman era is the most fascinating place in ‘Plodiv’. The ‘Ancient Theatre’ of ‘Plodiv’, which was built in the 2nd century by the Roman Emperor Trajan, is one of the most notable monuments in the city. The 2nd century built ‘Ancient Stadium’ is another significant monument in the Old Plodiv. The ‘Eirene Archaeological Complex’ that houses the remains of the structures from the 3rd & the 4th century also pulls myriad visitors visiting ‘Plodiv’. Apart from this, an ancient St. Marina church with its unique wooden tower & the Ottoman period mosque are also worth visiting. The old city also houses many beautiful Renaissance period buildings, galleries & churches which multiply the beauty of this stunning city.
- Shopping: The shopping in ‘Plodiv’ is truly tremendous experience. The Antique Shops are the most eminent places for shopping which are scattered all over the old town. These shops offer a variety of products- from the ‘Russo-Turkish war’ till ‘World War II’. The Rose Products of Bulgaria are one of its kind to which, the tourists cling in herds. All types of rose products, ranging from the soaps to gels, perfumes, oils & shampoos, are available in these shops at reasonable rates.
The incredible city of ‘Plodiv’ has its own charm & one can say that the city has aged gracefully! The cobbled paths, lovely gardens, adorable classical villas & stern remains of its historical monuments are the silent witnesses of the struggle of this 6000 year old city. This tranquil yet elegant veteran city is worth visiting at least once in the lifetime!