Plovdiv stretches over both banks of the Maritsa River on the Upper Thracian Lowlands, amid six syenite (similar to granite) hills. Important international roadways, which have connected the East with Europe, the Baltic with the Mediterranean and the Black Sea with the Adriatic since ancient times, pass through the area.
Plovdiv is one of the oldest European cities. It was inhabited during the New Stone, Stone-Copper and Bronze Ages. During the first millenium B.C., the Thracian tribes of Odrysi and Bessi founded a fortified settlement, Eumolpias (Eumolpia) upon three of the hills. In 342 B.C. Philip II of Macedon captured the town, surrounded it with strong, fortified walls and called it Philipopolis (the city of Philip). After nearly a half century the Odrysi Tsar, Sevt III, restored the Thracian kingdom. After the Romans subdued the Thracians, the city became the main commercial, cultural, and political centre of the province. They named it Trimontium (city of the three hills). At the end of the 4th century, when the Roman Empire was divided in two, Plovdiv was included in the Eastern Roman Empire and the so-called Byzantine period in its history began. During the Roman period it was also know under the names of Ulpia, Flavia and Julia. Around the middle of the 6th century the Slavs came here and gradually changed the ethnic make-up of the entire region. They accepted the Thracian name of the city, Pulpudeva, but modernized it to Paldin and Pludin, from which comes the modern-day pronunciation. At the time of the First and Second Bulgarian Kingdoms, as a border town, the city was of extreme importance in the continuous struggle between Byzantium and Bulgaria and changed rulers several times. After the Turks conquered the valley of the Maritsa River during the 14th century, it fell into the interior of the Ottoman Empire and lost its significance as an important fortress, and gradually declined. The Turks changed not only its name, to Filibe, but also its architectural appearance. Not until the, National Revival did the city return to its former position. Plovdiv made its mark in new Bulgarian history via its historic contribution in the development of the national culture and the struggle for church independence. It is a centre of modern secular education, Bulgarian printing, and the site of the first large literary centre. After the Liberation it was declared the capital of the new state. However, the Treaty of Berlin split Bulgaria in two - the Principality of Bulgaria with its capital in Sofia, and the vassal province of Eastern Rumelia with its capital in Plovdiv. Sofia became the state and political centre, but Plovdiv retained its natural status as a cultural centre. Since the Union of Bulgaria, declared here on September 6, 1885, Plovdiv has remained the second-largest and second in importance (after the capital of Sofia) industrial, trade, science, culture and communications centre.
A COSMOPOLITAN CITY - ETHNIC COMMUNITIES AND RELIGIONS
Plovdiv has always been a city with a diverse ethnic composition of its population, which has different religions and coexists in peace and in tolerant relations. Since the remote antiquity to our days, the city seems to have been a blessed place for benevolent interaction of different religious and ethnic communities.
Thracians, Slavs, Bulgarians, Turks, Armenians, Jews, Gypsies, Greeks, Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Judeans and Uniates - these national and religious communities have lived for centuries in a blessed peaceful harmony. It is not by chance that Pope John Paul II sought precisely in Plovdiv the evidence for the correctness of his humanistic aspirations.
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• The Old Plovdiv Architectural Reserve - encompassing the three-hill region with architectural and artistic monuments preserving the city's past:
- Religious buildings: churches - the Holy Virgin's (1844), Sts. Konstantin and Elena's (1832), St. Marina's (1856), St. Nedelya's (16th century), St. Petka's (18th century); and mosques - Imaret (15th century), Dzhumaya (16th century).
- Residential and Community Buildings: the Yellow School (1868), the home of Stepan Mesrobovich's twin, the home and cellars of Hadzhi Dragan of Kalofer, the houses of Andrey Georgiadi (Hadzhi-Kalchova), Agrip Kuyudzhioglu, Artin Gidikov, Birdas, Veren Stambolyan, Georgi Klianti, Georgi Mavridi (where the French poet Lamartine lived in 1833), Georgi Nikolaidi, Dimitar Georgiadi, Mihail Vlado, Dr. Stoyan Chomakov, Kasandra Bayatova, Konstantin Stoilov, Nikola Nedkovich, Ovanes Stepanian, Pavleti, Palu Allan Elmaz, Stepan Hindlian, Hristo G. Danov, Balabanova and the Home of the Ritor (rhetor or orator).
• Archeological monuments: the antique theater (Roman Forum), the Roman stadium, the aqueduct, the Nebet Tepe Archaeological Complex, the fortress walls of Phillipopolis, Hisar Kapia (the eastern gate to the fortress).
• Interesting architectural buildings: St. Kevork's Armenian Church and the Armenian School, St. Demetrius' and St. Nicholas' churches, Vazrazhdane (Revival) Cultural Club, the Zlatyu Boyadzhiev City Art Gallery, the Civil Ceremonies House, the Drama Theater, and museums - of archaeology, history, and natural history.
• The ancient forum
• The odeon
• The ancient stadium
• The theatre of Philippopolis
• Roman mosaics
• The necropolises
• Churches during the national revival period
• The asymmetrical houses of Plovdiv
• The Klianti house from the nationak revival period
• The symmetrical house of Plovdiv
• Orthodox Church of St. Kyriaki [St. Nedelya]
• The Nedkovich house
• The Georgiadi house
• The forum ensemble
• Hissar kapi
• The forum ensemble
• The Kouyoumdjiev house
• The forum ensemble
• The forum ensembleFortress ensemble on Nebet tepe hill
• The Balabanov house
• The Hindliyan house
• The orthodox Church of St. Constantine & Elena
• The icon gallery
• The house of Dr. Stoyan Chomakov
• The house of Dr. Sotir Antoniadi
• The Lamartine house
• Orthodox Church of St. Demetrius
• The yellow school
• The city gallery
• Orthodox Church of the Holy mother of God
• The house of Hristo G. Danov
• Djoumaya mosque
• The main street
• Stefan Stambolov square
• The orthodox Church of St. Marina
• Eirene, Thracart
• The catholic Church of St. Ludwig
• The central square
• King Simeon's park
• Sahat tepe hill
• Kapana [The "trap"]
• Chifte banya and imaret mosque
• Saedinenie [unification] square
• Bounardjik hill
• Archaelogical museum
• Ethnographic museum
• Natural history museum
• Museum of history
• The Bulgarian gutenberg
• Ivan Vazov national library
• The Hindliyan house