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Life in Plovdiv has never ceased since its first inhabitants - Thracian tribes, settled down about 8, 000 years ago. Due to this fact it has been proclaimed by Daily Telegraph 'The Oldest Continuously – Inhabited City in Europe'. In IV century BC Philip II of Macedon conquered the city and gave it one of its most popular names – Philippopol. Philippopol played an important role in formation of Hellenistic culture. In 46 AD Thrace became a Roman province and Plovdiv was given the name Trimontium (City on Three Hills), but citizens often referred to it with its previous name - Philippopol. Later it was proclaimed a metropolitan city of the Thracian province. After the separation of the Roman Empire, it became part of the Byzantine Empire, until it was first conquered by Bulgarians under Khan Krum in 812. During the Ancient period, Philippopol became a city as significant as it is nowadays. In the ast 8 millenia, representatives of various civilizations left their imprint and created unique of its kind cultural heritage. Doublessly, the cultural sites from the Roman period are among the most well-preserved in the modern city. As a metropolitan city of the Roman province of Thrace, Phlippopol was gradually equipped with all the commodities, typical for a leading administrative center: a Forum and Odeon, magnificent theatre - venue of cultural life not only in Antiquity, but also in the modern city, a huge stadium, which hosted games, resembling the Olympic games, as well as Aquaducts. Soon after Christianity was legalized in the beginning of VI century, the city became an important religious center.
Plovdiv is the first Bulgarian city chosen to be European Capital of Culture. In 2019, twenty years after the city was a host of the Month of Culture in 1999, it will celebrate the most prestigious cultural initiative of the European Union. European Capital of Culture is a unique project for Bulgaria which provides new opportunities for the development of the potential of the city and new international visibility and a perspective on Bulgarian culture as a whole. The programme of Plovdiv European Capital of Culture 2019 also includes activities and events in the South Central Region of Bulgaria. The beautiful Italian city of Matera, together with Plovdiv, has been chosen as the twin European Capital of Culture for 2019. The two cities are collaborating actively and have common projects and initiatives. For 2019 Matera also represents the region of Basilicata.
Ancient Plovdiv Architectural and Historical Reserve (The Old Town) has preserved enormous cultural heritage formed during 8 archaeologic periods – Prehistoric, Thracian, Hellenic, Roman, Late-ancient, Medieval, National Revival, and Post-Liberation periods as well as modern culture. Apart from the Roman sites, The Old Town fascinates with beautifully-ornamented Revival houses, most of which have been turned into museums and galleries. These buildings are characterized by unique national interpretation of the European baroque.
Armenian Apostolitic Church

Armenian Apostolitic Church

Armenian Apostolic Church Surp Kevork Surp Kevork Church was originally an Eastern Orthodox Church, dedicated to St. George the Victorious. This is the only church with side compartments besides the central nave: one for women and another for men. Next to the church there was built a chapel. After several reconstructions the church got its present outlook. In front of the church and around it there is a large yard that surrounds the church complex in a rectangular shape. Part of it serves as a school yard from the time it was built in the first three decades of XIX century. The yard on the west side rests on a massive, high stone wall. In the past, the yard was intended for graveyard of prominent and wealthy Armenians from the community, as well as priests and prelates, who had died here. In the churchyard, on the empty spot between the church and the erstwhile Surp Hach church, there is a preserved marble sarcophagus with a rectangular shape.The church tower, probably constructed in the second half of XIX century, was semi-destroyed during the earthquake in 1928. The new tower was built on the same spot in the corner. In the courtyard, in front of Tadey and Parteniy chapel to the west side, near the west staircase, still stands a well, made to the order of a noble Armenian, in memory of his deceased son. The well was built on May 5, 1877. In the northern part of the churchyard is the former building of St. Vartanants – Varavaryan School, with an inscription in Armenian on elliptical marble plaque and the year of its construction in 1894.

Metropolitan Church of St. Martyr Marina

Metropolitan Church of St. Martyr Marina

After the Edict of Milan in 313 AD in the ancient city of Plovdiv were built an episcopal basilica and residence of the spiritual head of the diocese. The temple, existing in the time after this period, was built probably in V century and existed until the end of VI century when it was destroyed by Slavic invasions. According to studies of these researchers the temple was dedicated to St. Paul. In the middle of XVIII century the church was burned down again. Among the first donors in its recovery were Hadji Andon, Konstantin Mavrudioglu, Costa Atanasov and priest Yani. It was finally completed in 1783 during the time of the Plovdiv Metropolitan Kiril. In 1828 the construction of a new iconostasis for the temple, a pulpit and a canopy for the Holy See started. The woodcarvers who made this were representatives of the Debar carving school. The dome is with polyhedral shape. In the western part of the temple there is an open colonnade – narthex which was inscribed with biblical scenes by painter Nikita Odrinchanin in 1858. The total number of scenes are 29, 24 of which are from the Old Testament. When the construction of the new, bigger temple started, the earlier carved iconostasis was preserved. On the left of the royal doors of the iconostasis was an icon of Virgin Mary with the Divine Infant, and on the right – an icon of Christ the Savior, both painted by Stanislav Dospevski in 1868.Two old places for church singers have octagonal shape and are decorated with encrusted bones and wooden plates. Nowadays, St. Marina is the temple with the biggest number of bells. The church also stores a fraction of the holy relics of Saint Martyr Marina as a sanctuary.

The abundance of art galleries and museums makes Plovdiv a must-visit city, famous as the city of artists. There are over 300, 000 immovable artefacts in the city's museums from all of the 8 archaeological periods of its history. Temporary expositions also take place to display private collections, or expositions of paintings by young artists.
Plovdiv is a compact city which can be best negotiated on foot. The Main Shopping Street, which is not only a shopping paradise, but also unique in architecture, loosely bounds the Old Town, where the cultural sites from all the millennia of the city’s history can be discovered, along with modern museum expositions. The city located on six hills, which are natural areas with unique animal and plant species, and perfect for leisure activities. The romantic atmosphere of the city can be felt whether watching the sunset from the top of a hill, or enjoying a cozy restaurant or taking a night walk downtown.
A huge set of top-class events is annually held in Plovdiv. The most popular venues include the Ancient theatre, Balabanov’s house and the newly-constructed Multifunctional Sports Hall Kolodruma. The program bellow features some of the top annual events in the city's Cultural calendar, which offers more than 120 world-wide recognized festivals. Over 10 events are taking place on various locations every day. All the cultural events can be checked on the following webpage: http://www.visitplovdiv.com/en/eventsplovdiv
Plovdiv is a place where one can enjoy a real gastronomic experience with the variety of Mediterranean and traditional Bulgarian meals. What will make such dishes even better, is a glass of wine from the biggest wine region in Bulgaria. The nightlife in the city is something one should explore, whether enjoying wine and discussions on its production in a wine club, get a drink in a cocktail bar, or discover the nightclubs in Kapana District.
Plovdiv is a paradise for everyone willing to indulge in some retail therapy. The Main Shopping Street, which is one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe, is not only the perfect starting point for your tour, but also area where shops of any kind are abundant. There are many shopping centers all around the city, most of them located in the close proximity of the modern city sites. In the Old Town one can visit a number of antique shops, purchase a traditional Bulgarian item, or enjoy hand-made souvenirs made by young artists.
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