Plovdiv

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Plovdiv
Пловдив  (Bulgarian)
The ancient Roman theatre in Plovdiv
The ancient Roman theatre in Plovdiv
Flag of Plovdiv
Flag
Coat of arms of Plovdiv
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): The city of the seven hills
Градът на седемте хълма  (Bulgarian)
Gradăt na sedemte hălma (transliteration)
Motto: Ancient and eternal
Древен и вечен  (Bulgarian)
Dreven i vechen (transliteration)
Plovdiv is located in Bulgaria
Plovdiv
Plovdiv
Location of Plovdiv in Bulgaria
Coordinates: 42°9′N 24°45′E / 42.150°N 24.750°E / 42.150; 24.750
Country  Bulgaria
Province Plòvdiv
Municipalities Plovdiv-city
Established 4000 BC
Government
 • Mayor Ivan Totev (GERB)
Area
 • Total 101.98 km2 (39.37 sq mi)
Elevation 164 m (538 ft)
Population (2013 census[1])
 • Density 3,316/km2 (8,590/sq mi)
 • City 341,041
 • Municipal body 403,153
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 4000
Area code(s) (+359) 032
Website www.plovdiv.bg

Plovdiv (Bulgarian: Пловдив) is the second-largest city in Bulgaria after the capital Sofia with a population of 341,041 inhabitants as of June 2013.[1][2] It is the administrative center of Plovdiv Province and the municipalities of the City of Plovdiv, Maritsa municipality and Rodopi municipality, whose municipal body had a population of 403,153 inhabitants as of February 2011.[1] It is an important economic, transport, cultural and educational center,[3] as well as the second-largest city in the historical international region of Thrace after Istanbul. It is the tenth-largest city in the Balkans after Istanbul, Athens, Bucharest, Belgrade, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Zagreb, Skopje and Tirana.

Plovdiv's history spans 6,000 years, with traces of a Neolithic settlement dating to roughly 4000 BC,[4] ranking it among the world's oldest cities. Plovdiv was known in the West for most of its recorded history by the Greek name Philippopolis (Φιλιππούπολις), which was introduced in 340 BC.[5] Plovdiv was originally a Thracian city before later becoming a Greek and a major Roman one. In the Middle Ages, it retained its strategic regional importance, changing hands between the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires. It came under Ottoman rule in the 14th century. On 4 January 1878, Plovdiv was “liberated” from Ottoman rule by the Russian army. It remained within the borders of Bulgaria until July of the same year, when it became the capital of the autonomous Ottoman region of Eastern Rumelia. In 1885, it and Eastern Rumelia itself became part of Bulgaria.

Plovdiv is situated in south-central Bulgaria on the two banks of the Maritsa River. The city has historically developed on seven syenite hills, some of which are 250 m (820.21 ft) high. Because of these hills, Plovdiv is often referred to in Bulgaria as "The City of the Seven Hills".

Plòvdiv is host to cultural events such as the International Fair Plovdiv, the international theatrical festival "A stage on a crossroad", the TV festival "The golden chest". There are many remains preserved from antiquity such as the ancient Plovdiv Roman theatre, Roman odeon, Roman Stadium, the archaeological complex Eirene and others.

The oldest American educational institution outside the United States was founded in Plovdiv in 1860, which was later moved to Sofia – today's American College of Sofia.

On 5 September 2014 Plovdiv was selected as Bulgarian host of European Capital of Culture 2019.[6]

Name[edit]

Plovdiv was given various names throughout its long history. It was originally a Thracian settlement by the name of Eumolpias (Εὐμολπιάς), named after the mythical Thracian king Eumolpos, son of Poseidon.[7] Philip II of Macedon conquered the area in 342–341 BC and renamed the city Philippoupolis (Greek: Φιλιππούπολις); the later Thracian name for the city, Pulpudeva, is a translation.[8] After the Romans took control of the area, the city was named in Latin: Trimontium, meaning the Three Hills. The Slavic name occurred in different variants, Pəldin (Пълдин), Pləpdiv (Плъпдив) and Ploudin (Плоудин), based on the city's later Thracian name Pulpudeva, while the current variant Plovdiv was documented (as Пло(в)дївь) for the first time in a Bulgarian apocryphal chronicle of the 11th century. The city was known as Philippopolis in Western Europe well into the early 20th century. The city was known as Filibe in Turkish during the Ottoman Empire.

The asteroid (minor planet) 3860 Plovdiv is named after the city. It was discovered by the Bulgarian astronomer Violeta G. Ivanova on 8 August 1986. Plovdiv Peak (1,040 m or 3,412 ft) on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is also named after Plovdiv.

Geography[edit]

Plovdiv is on the banks of the Maritsa river, approximately 152 km (94 mi) southeast of the Bulgarian capital Sofia. The city is in the southern part of the Plain of Plovdiv, an alluvial plain forming the western portion of the Upper Thracian Plain. The heights of Sredna Gora rise to the northwest, to the east are the Chirpan Heights and the Rhodope mountains surround the plain from the south.[9] The city had originally developed to the south of Maritsa, and expanded across the river only within the last 100 years. Modern Plovdiv covers an area of 101 km2 (39 sq mi), which is less than 0.1% of Bulgaria's total area. This makes the city the most densely populated in the country with 3,769 inhabitants per km².

Inside the city proper are six syenite hills, called tepeta. In the beginning of the 20th century there used to be seven of them, but one (Markovo tepe) was destroyed. Traditionally the citizens have called them Dzhendem tepe, Bunardzhik, Sahat tepe, Nebet tepe, Dzhambaz tepe and Taksim tepe. The last three form the area of the Three Hills (Bulgarian: Трихълмие), a lively section of the city centre.[10]

Climate[edit]

Plovdiv has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) with considerable humid continental influences. There are four distinct seasons and large temperature jumps between seasons are common.

Summer (mid May to late September) is hot, moderately dry and sunny with a July and August maximum average of 31 °C (88 °F). Plovdiv sometimes experiences very hot days typical in the interior of the country. Summer nights are mild.

Autumn starts in late September; days are long and relatively warm in early autumn. The nights become chilly by September. The first frost occurs on average by November.

Winter is normally cold and snow is common. The average number of days with snow cover in Plovdiv is 33. The average depth of snow cover is 2 to 4 cm (1 to 2 in) and the maximum is normally 6 to 13 cm (2 to 5 in) but in some winters it can reach 70 cm (28 in) or more. Average January temperature is −0.4 °C (31 °F).

Spring arrives in March but that season is cooler than autumn. The frost season ends in March or in April at the latest. The days are mild and relatively warm in mid spring.

The average relative humidity is 73%, being highest in December with 86% and lowest in August with 62%. The total precipitation is 540 mm (21.26 in) and is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest months of the year are May and June with an average precipitation of 66.2 mm (2.61 in), while the driest month is August with an average precipitation of 31 mm (1.22 in).

Gentle winds (0 to 5 m/s) are predominant in the city with wind speeds of up to 1 m/s representing 95% of all winds during the year. Mists are common in the cooler months especially along the banks of the Maritsa. On average there are 33 days with mist during the year.[11]

Climate table:

Climate data for Plovdiv
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 22.5
(72.5)
25.0
(77)
30.1
(86.2)
30.5
(86.9)
34.5
(94.1)
40.1
(104.2)
45.0
(113)
40.7
(105.3)
39.1
(102.4)
33.2
(91.8)
28.0
(82.4)
21.6
(70.9)
45.0
(113)
Average high °C (°F) 6.1
(43)
8.2
(46.8)
14.2
(57.6)
19.2
(66.6)
24.6
(76.3)
29.0
(84.2)
31.8
(89.2)
31.7
(89.1)
26.3
(79.3)
19.7
(67.5)
13.4
(56.1)
6.4
(43.5)
19.2
(66.6)
Daily mean °C (°F) 1.4
(34.5)
3.0
(37.4)
8.0
(46.4)
12.7
(54.9)
18.1
(64.6)
22.0
(71.6)
24.5
(76.1)
24.3
(75.7)
20.0
(68)
13.5
(56.3)
8.0
(46.4)
2.1
(35.8)
13.2
(55.8)
Average low °C (°F) −3.0
(26.6)
−2.2
(28)
1.8
(35.2)
6.2
(43.2)
11.6
(52.9)
15.1
(59.2)
17.3
(63.1)
17.0
(62.6)
12.7
(54.9)
7.5
(45.5)
2.7
(36.9)
−1.9
(28.6)
7.1
(44.8)
Record low °C (°F) −22.0
(−7.6)
−24.4
(−11.9)
−11.4
(11.5)
−5.2
(22.6)
−0.2
(31.6)
6.0
(42.8)
11.0
(51.8)
10.0
(50)
3.5
(38.3)
−3.4
(25.9)
−8.4
(16.9)
−25.5
(−13.9)
−25.5
(−13.9)
Precipitation mm (inches) 27
(1.06)
34
(1.34)
37
(1.46)
41
(1.61)
77
(3.03)
57
(2.24)
39
(1.54)
43
(1.69)
35
(1.38)
37
(1.46)
36
(1.42)
39
(1.54)
502
(19.76)
Avg. precipitation days 4.8 5.1 5.8 4.7 6.5 6.2 3.8 3.1 3.1 3.9 5.8 6.2 60.7
 % humidity 76 67 60 53 53 50 45 46 48 59 69 76 59
Mean monthly sunshine hours 94 110 170 200 252 281 328 315 230 162 120 77 2,339
Source #1: Stringmeteo.com[12][13]
Source #2: Danish Meteorological Institute (sun and relative humidity),[14]

History[edit]

Main article: History of Plovdiv

Antiquity[edit]

Plan of the known parts of the Roman city superimposed on a plan of modern Plovdiv.

Plovdiv has settlement traces dating from the Neolithic, roughly 6000 BC.[4] Archaeologists have discovered fine pottery[15][16] and other objects of everyday life from as early as the Neolithic Age, showing that in the end of the 4th millennium BC. there already was an established settlement there.[17][18] According to Ammianus Marcellinus, Plovdiv's written post-Bronze Age history lists it as a Thracian fortified settlement named Eumolpias. In the 4th century BC the city was a centre of a trade fair (called panegyreis).[19] In 342 BC, it was conquered by Philip II of Macedon,[20] the father of Alexander the Great, who renamed it "Φιλιππόπολις", Philippopolis or "the city of Philip" in his own honour. Later, it was reconquered by the Thracians who called it Pulpudeva (a reconstructed translation of Philipopolis)[21]

In 72 BC it was seized by the Roman general Marcus Lucullus but was soon restored to Thracian control. In AD 46 the city was finally incorporated into the Roman Empire by emperor Claudius,[22] it was called Trimontium (City of Three Hills) and served as metropolis (capital) of the province of Thrace. It gained a city status in the late 1st century.[23] Trimontium was an important crossroad for the Roman Empire and was called "The largest and most beautiful of all cities" by Lucian. Although it was not the capital of the Province of Thrace, the city was the largest and most important centre in the province.[24] In those times, the Via Militaris (or Via Diagonalis), the most important military road in the Balkans, passed through the city.[25][26]

"This Plovdiv is the biggest and loveliest of all cities. Its beauty shines from faraway..."

Roman writer Lucian.

The Roman times were a period of growth and cultural excellence.[27] The ancient ruins tell a story of a vibrant, growing city with numerous public buildings, shrines, baths, and theatres. The city had an advanced water system and sewerage. It was defended with a double wall. Many of those are still preserved and can be seen by tourists. Today only a small part of the ancient city has been excavated.[21]

Middle Ages[edit]

The Slavs had fully settled in the area by the middle of the 6th century and changed the ethnic proportions of the region.[28] With the establishment of Bulgaria in 681 Philipopolis became an important border fortress of the Byzantine Empire. It was captured by Khan Krum in 812 but the region was fully incorporated into the Bulgarian Empire in 834 during the reign of Khan Malamir.[29] It remained in Bulgarian hands for a relatively short time until it was reconquered by the Byzantine Empire in 855–856.[30][31] Under Byzantine control the city became the centre of Paulician heretics transported from the eastern borders of the empire to serve as military settlers on the European frontier with Bulgaria. From Philippopolis the influence of dualistic doctrines spread to Bulgaria forming the basis of the Bogomil heresy. Under tsar Simeon the Great (893–927) the city and most of the Byzantine possessions in the Balkans were conquered by the Bulgarian Empire. The city possibly remained in Bulgarian hands under Simeon's son, Peter I (927–969).[32] However, the city is described at the time of Constantine VII in the 10th century as being within the Byzantine eparchía of Thrake, within the théma (province) of Thrakoon. Around the year 1000 Philippopolis gave its name to a newly created théma of which it was the seat of administration.[33] The historian John Fine describes Philippopolis as being a Byzantine possession at the time it was sacked by the Russian ruler Sviatoslav I of Kiev in 969.[34]

The city again came to be known as Philippopolis and became Byzantine in character. Aime de Varennes in 1180 encountered the singing of Byzantine songs in the city that recounted the deeds of Alexander the great and his predecessors, over 1300 years before.[35]

Khan Krum was the first Bulgarian ruler to capture Plovdiv.

Byzantine rule was succeeded by that of the Latin Empire in 1204, and there were two short interregnum periods as the city was twice occupied by Kaloyan of Bulgaria before his death in 1207.[21] In 1208 Kaloyan's successor Boril was defeated by the Latins in the Battle of Philippopolis.[36] Under Latin rule, Plovdiv was the capital of the Duchy of Philippopolis governed by Renier de Trit, and later on by Gerard de Strem. Bulgarian rule was re established during the reign of Ivan Asen II between 1225 and 1229. In 1263 Plovdiv was conquered by the restored Byzantine Empire and remained in Byzantine hands until it was re-conquered by George Terter II of Bulgaria in 1322.[37] Byzantine rule was restored once again in 1323, but in 1344 the city and eight other cities were surrendered to Bulgaria by the regency for John V Palaiologos as the price for Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria's support in the Byzantine civil war.[38]

Ottoman Rule[edit]

In 1364, the Ottoman Turks under Lala Shakhin Pasha seized Plovdiv.[39][40] The Turks called the city Filibe which comes from "Fhilip". It was the capital of Rumelia until 1382 when the Ottomans captured Sofia which became the main city of the province. Plovdiv survived as one of the major cultural centers for Bulgarian culture and tradition.

National revival[edit]

Under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, Plovdiv was a focal point for the Bulgarian national movement in the Eastern Rumelia province of the Empire. During that period Plovdiv was a major economic center along with Constantinople, Odrin and Solun. The richer citizens constructed beautiful houses many of which can still be seen in the Architectural reserve Old Plovdiv. Plovdiv was a sanjak centre of Rumelia Province between 1364–1864 and was the sanjak centre of Edirne Vilayet between 1864–1878 during Ottoman Rule.

Plovdiv had an important role in the struggle for Church independence which was according to some historians a peaceful bourgeois revolution. Plovdiv became the center of that struggle with leaders such as Nayden Gerov, Dr Valkovich, Joakim Gruev and whole families. In 1836 the first Bulgarian school was inaugurated and in 1850 modern secular education began when the "St Cyrill and Metodius" school was opened. On 11 May 1858 the day of Saints Cyril and Methodius was celebrated for the first time, this later became a National holiday which is still celebrated today. In 1858 in the Church of Virgin Mary the Christmas liturgy was served for the first time in the Bulgarian language since the beginning of the Ottoman occupation. In 1868 the school expanded into the first grammar school. Some of the intellectuals, politicians and spiritual leaders of the nation graduated that school.[21]

The city was liberated from the Ottomans during the Battle of Philippopolis in 1878.[40]

Eastern Rumelia[edit]

Main article: Bulgarian unification

According to the Treaty of San Stefano on 3 March 1878 the Principality of Bulgaria included the lands with predominantly Bulgarian population. Plovdiv which was the biggest and most vibrant Bulgarian city was selected as a capital of the restored country and for a seat of the Temporary Russian Government.[41] Great Britain and Austria-Hungary, however, did not approve that treaty and the final result of the war was concluded in the Congress of Berlin which divided the newly liberated country into several parts. It separated the autonomous region of Eastern Rumelia from Bulgaria and Plovdiv became its capital. The Ottoman Empire created a constitution and appointed a governor.[42] As of 1 January 1885, the city of Plovdiv had a population of 33,442, of which 16,752 were Bulgarians (50%), 7,144 Turks (21%), 5,497 Greeks (16%), 2,168 Jews (6%), 1,061 Armenians (3%), 151 Italians, 112 Germans, 112 Romani people, 80 French people, 61 Russians and 304 people of other nationalities.[43]

In the spring of 1885 Zahari Stoyanov formed the Secret Bulgarian Central Revolutionary Committee in the city which actively conducted propaganda for the unification of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia. On 5 September several hundred armed rebels from Golyamo Konare (now Saedinenie) marched to Plovdiv. In the night of 5–6 September these men led by Danail Nikolaev took control of the city and removed from office the General-Governor Gavril Krastevich. A provisional government was formed led by Georgi Stranski and universal mobilization was announced.[44] After the Serbs were defeated in the Serbo-Bulgarian War, Bulgaria and Turkey reached an agreement according to which the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia had a common government, Parliament, administration and army. Today 6 September is celebrated as the Unification Day and the Day of Plovdiv.

Recent history[edit]

Until 1989, the city's anthem glorified the local memorial to the Soviet soldiers, informally known as Alyosha

After the unification, Plovdiv remained the second city in Bulgaria in population and significance after the capital Sofia. The first railway in the city was built in 1874, and in 1888 it was linked with Sofia. Plovdiv was on the early route of the Orient Express. In 1892 Plovdiv became host of the First Bulgarian Fair with international participation which was succeeded by the International Fair Plovdiv. After the liberation the first brewery was inaugurated in the city.

In the beginning of the 20th century Plovdiv grew as a significant industrial and commercial center with well-developed light and food industry. German, French and Belgian capital was invested in the city in development of modern trade, banking and industry. In 1939 there were 16,000 craftsmen and 17,000 workers in manufacturing factories, mainly for food and tobacco processing. During the Second World War the tobacco industry expanded as well as the export of fruit and vegetables. In 1943 1,500 Jews were saved from deportation in concentration camps by the archbishop of Plovdiv, Cyril, who later became the Bulgarian Patriarch.

On 6 April 1956 the first trolleybus line was opened and in the 1950s the Trimontsium Hotel was constructed. In the 1960s and 1970s there was a construction boom and many of the modern neighborhoods took shape. In the 1970s and 1980s antique remains were excavated and the Old Town was fully restored. In 1990 the sports complex "Plovdiv" was finished. It included the largest stadium and rowing canal in the country. In that period Plovdiv became the birthplace of Bulgaria's movement for democratic reform, which by 1989 had garnered enough support to enter government.

Plovdiv has hosted specialized exhibitions of the World's Fair in 1981, 1985, and 1991.

Plovdiv was the first geographic location to be featured as a theme day in Reddit's Picturegame [45]

Population[edit]

The population by permanent address for the municipality of Plovdiv for 2007 is 380,682,[46] which makes it the second in population in the nation. According to the data of NSI (National Institute of Statistics) the people who actually live in Plovdiv are 346,790.[47] According to the 2012 census 339,077 live within the city limits, and 403,153 in the municipal triangle of Plovdiv, including Maritsa municipality and Rodopi municipality, of which the city is the municipal center.[1] Population of Plovdiv:

Plovdiv
Year 1887 1910 1934 1946 1956 1965 1975 1985 1992 2001 2011
Population 33,032 47,981 99,883 126,563 161,836 225,508 299,638 342,131 341,058 338,224 338,153
Highest number 342,131 in 1985
Sources: National Statistical Institute,[48] „citypopulation.de“,[49] „pop-stat.mashke.org“,[50] Bulgarian Academy of Sciences[51]

At the first census after the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1880 with 24,053 citizens[52] Plovdiv is the second largest city behind Ruse, which had 26 163 citizens then,[53] while the capital Sofia had 20 501 citizens then. As of the 1887 census Plovdiv was the largest city in the country for several years with 33,032 inhabitants compared to 30,428 for Sofia. According to the 1946 census Plovdiv was the second largest city with 126,563 inhabitants compared to 487,000 for the capital.[41]

Ethnicity and religion[edit]

Saint Marina Church

According to records provided by Bulgarian scholars, although the city had an ethnic Bulgarian majority in the first half of the 19th century, a major part of it was fully or partly hellenized, described under the name "Gudilas". Thus, the city could be considered of Greek or Bulgarian majority in 1830, on whether the Gudilas were considered part of the one or the other community. This process of hellenization declined from the 1830s, as Bulgarians became more assertive and socially mobile.[54]

Census Total Bulgarians Turks Jews Greeks Armenians Gypsies Others
1878 24 053[55] 10 909 5558 1134 4781 806 865 902
1884 33 442 (100%) 16 752 (50,09%) 7144 (21,36%) 2168 (6,48%) 5497 (16,44%) 979 (2,93%) 112 902 (2,70%)
1887 33 032 19 542 5615 2202 3930 903 348 492
1892 36 033 20 854 6381 2696 3906 1024 237 935
1900 43 033 24 170 4708 3602 3908 1844 1934 2869
1910 47 981 32 727 2946 4436 1571 1794 3524 983
1920 64 415 46 889 5605 5144 1071 3773 1342 591
1926 84 655 63 268 4748 5612 549 5881 2746 1851
1934 99 883 77 449 6102 5574 340 5316 2728 2374
1939 105 643 (100%) 82 012 (77,63%) 6462 (6,12%) 5960 (5,64%) 200 (0,19%) 6591 (6,24%) 2982 (2,82%) 1436 (1,36%)


According to the latest 2011 census data, the individuals declared their ethnic identity were distributed as follows:[56][57]

  • Bulgarians: 277,804 (89.9%)
  • Turks: 16,032 (5.2%)
  • Gypsies: 9,438 (3.1%)
  • Others: 3,105 (1.0%)
  • Indefinable: 2,487 (0.8%)
    • Undeclared: 29,287 (8.7%)

Total: 338,153

According to the 2001 census data, the ethnic composition was as follows:[58]

  • Bulgarians: 302,858 (89.5%)
  • Turks: 22,501 (6.7%)
  • Gypsies: 5,192 (1.5%)
  • Others: 5,764 (1.7%)
  • Indefinable: 933 (0.3%)
    • Undeclared: 976 (0.3%)

Total: 338,224

In its ethnic character Plovdiv is the second or the third largest cosmopolitan city inhabited by Bulgarians after Sofia and possibly Varna. According to the 2001 census from population of 338 224 inhabitants the Bulgarians were 302 858 (90%). Stolipinovo in Plovdiv is the largest Gypsy neighbourhood in the Balkans, having a population of around 20,000 alone, further Gypsy ghettos are Hadji Hassan Mahala and Sheker Mahala. Therefore the census number is a deflation of the number of the Gypsies and they are most likely the second largest group after the Bulgarians, most of all because the Muslim Gypsies in Plovdiv claim to be of Turkish ethnicity and Turkish-speaking at the census ("Xoraxane Roma").[59] For further information see the article The Gypsies in Plovdiv.

After the Wars for National Union (Balkan Wars and World War I) the city became home for thousands of refugees from the former Bulgarian lands in Macedonia, Western and Eastern Thrace. Many of the old neighbourhoods are still referred to as Belomorski, Vardarski. Most of the Jews left the city after the foundation of Israel in 1948, as well as most of the Turks and Greeks. Prior to the population exchange, as of 1 January 1885, the city of Plovdiv had a population of 33,442, of which 16,752 were Bulgarians (50%), 7,144 Turks (21%), 5,497 Greeks (16%), 2,168 Jews (6%), 1,061 Armenians (3%), 151 Italians, 112 Germans, 112 Romani people, 80 French people, 61 Russians and 304 people of other nationalities.[43]

The vast majority of the inhabitants are Christians – mostly Eastern Orthodox — and there are Catholics, Eastern Catholics and Protestant trends (Adventists, Baptists and others). There are also some Muslims and Jews. In Plovdiv there are many churches, two mosques and one synagogue (see Plovdiv Synagogue).

City government[edit]

Plovdiv is the administrative center of Plovdiv Province, Municipality of Plovdiv, Maritsa municipality and Rodopi municipality. The mayor of the Municipality of Plovdiv, Ivan Totev,[60] with the six district mayors represent the local executive authorities. The Municipal Council which consists of 51 municipal counselors, represents the legislative power and is elected according to the proportional system by parties' lists.[61] The executive government of the Municipality of Plovdiv consists of a mayor who is elected by majority representation, five deputy mayors and one administrative secretary. All the deputy mayors and the secretary control their administrative structured units.

According to the Law for the territorial subdivision of the Capital municipality and the large cities[62] the territory of Plovdiv Municipality is subdivided into six district administrations, their mayors being appointed following approval by the Municipal Council.

From left to right: A view from the central square; the City hall; a fountain in the City garden; a church near the Post Office.
The Trimontsium Hotel.
District Neighbourhoods
Central
Kapana, Stariya grad, Marasha, Centar
Northern
Karshiaka, Gagarin, Filipovo, Zaharna Fabrika
Southern
Hristo Botev – Yug, Hristo Botev – Sever, Vastanecheski, Uhoto, Yuzhen, Komatevo, Ostromila, Belomorski
Eastern
Kamenitsa, Izgrev, Stolipinovo
Western
Hristo Smirnenski, Proslav, Mladezhki Halm, Mladost
Trakiya
Olga Skobeleva, Lauta

In 1969 the villages of Proslav and Komatevo were incorporated into the city. In 1987 the municipalities of Maritsa and Rodopi were separated from Plovdiv which remained their administrative center. In the last several years the inhabitants from those villages had taken steps to rejoin the "urban" municipality.[63]

Main sights[edit]

The city has more than 200 archaeological sites,[64] 30 of which are of national importance. There are many remains from antiquity – Plovdiv is among the few cities with two ancient theatres; remains of the medieval walls and towers; Ottoman baths and mosques; a well-preserved old quarter from the National Revival period with beautiful houses, churches and narrow paved streets. There are numerous museums, art galleries and cultural institutions. Plovdiv is host to musical, theatrical and film events.

The city is a starting point for trips to places in the region, such as the Bachkovo Monastery at 30 km (19 mi) to the south, the ski-resort Pamporovo at 90 km (56 mi) to the south or the spa resorts to the north Hisarya, Banya, Krasnovo, Strelcha.[65]

Roman City[edit]

The Roman odeon.
The remains of the The Ancient Stadium before the reconstruction in 2010–2012

The Ancient theatre (Antichen teatur) is probably the best-known monument from antiquity in Bulgaria.[66] It was built in the beginning of the 2nd century during the reign of the Roman Emperor Trajan. It is situated in the natural saddle between the Dzhambaz Tepe and Taksim Tepe hills. It is divided into two parts with 14 rows each divided with a horizontal lane. The theatre could accommodate up to 7,000 people.[67] The three-story scene is on the southern part and is decorated with friezes, cornices and statues. The theatre was studied, conserved and restored between 1968 and 1984. Many events are still held on the scene[68] including the Verdi festival and the International Folklore festival. The Roman Odeon was restored in 2004.[69] It was built in the 2nd–5th centuries and is the second (and smaller) antique theatre of Philipopolis with 350 seats. It was initially built as a bulevterion – edifice of the city council – and was later reconstructed as a theatre.

The Ancient Stadium[70] is another important monument of the ancient city. It was built in the 2nd century during the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. It is situated between Sahat Tepe and Taksim Tepe, nowadays – beneath the main street from Dzhumaya Square to Kamenitsa Square. It was modeled after the stadium in Delphi. It was approximately 240 meters long and 50 meters wide, and could seat up to 30 000 spectators. The athletic games at the stadium were organised by the General Assembly of the province of Thrace. In their honour the royal mint of Philippopolis coined money featuring the face of the ruling emperor as well as the types of athletic events held in the stadium. Only a small part of the northern section with 14 seat rows can be seen today; the larger part lies under the main street and a number of buildings.

The Roman forum dates from the reign of Vespasian in the 1st century and was finished in the 2nd century. It is near the modern post office next to the Odeon. It has an area of 11 hectares and was surrounded by shops and public buildings. The forum was a focal point of the streets of the ancient city.[3]

The Eirene Archaeological complex is in the southern part of the Three Hills on the northern part of an ancient street in the Arheologicheski underpass. It includes remains of a public building from the 3rd–4th centuries which belonged to a noble citizen. Eirene is the Christian name for Penelopa – a maiden from Megadon who was converted to Christianity in the 2nd century. There are colourful mosaics which have geometrical forms and figures.[71]

On Nebet Tepe are remains of the first settlement on the Three Hills which in 12th-century BC grew to the Thracian city of Eumolpias, one of the first cities in Southeastern Europe. Massive walls surrounding a temple and a palace have been excavated. The oldest part of the fortress was constructed from large syenite blocks – the so-called "cyclopean construction".

Museums and protected sites[edit]

The Archaeological Museum was established in 1882 as a People's Museum of Eastern Rumelia.[72] In 1928 the museum was moved to a 19th-century edifice on Saedinenie Square built by Plovdiv architect Josef Schnitter. The museum contains a rich collection of Thracian art. The three sections "Prehistory",[73] "Antiquity"[74] and "Middle Ages"[75] contain precious artifacts from the Paleolithic to the early Ottoman period (15th–16th centuries).[76] The famous Panagyurishte treasure is part of the museum's collection.[77]

The Historical Museum of Plovdiv[78] was founded in 1951 as a scientific and cultural institute for collecting, saving, and researching historical evidence about Plovdiv and the region from 16th to 20th centuries. The exhibition is situated in three buildings.[76]

The Regional Ethnographic Museum – Plovdiv was inaugurated in 1917. On 14 October 1943 it was moved to a house in the Old Town. In 1949 the Municipal House-museum was reorganized as a People's Ethnographic Museum and in 1962 it was renovated. There are more than 40,000 objects.[76]

The Museum of Natural Science was inaugurated in 1955 in the old edifice of the Plovdiv Municipality built in 1880. It is among the most important museums in the country with rich collections in its Paleontology, Mineralogy and Botanic sections. There are several rooms for wildlife and it contains Bulgaria's largest freshwater aquarium with 40 fish species.[76] It has a collection of minerals from the Rhodope mountains.

The Museum of Aviation was established on 21 September 1991 on the territory of the Krumovo airbase[79] 12 km (7 mi) to the southeast of the city. The museum possesses 59 aircraft and indoor and outdoor exhibitions.[76]

The Old Town of Plovdiv is a historic preservation site known for its Bulgarian Renaissance architectural style. The Old Town covers the area of the three central hills (Трихълмие, Trihalmie): Nebet Tepe, Dzhambaz Tepe and Taksim Tepe. Almost every house in the Old Town has its characteristic exterior and interior decoration.

Churches, mosques and temples[edit]

There are a number of 19th-century churches, most of which follow the distinctive Eastern Orthodox construction style. They are the Saint Constantine and Saint Helena, the Saint Marina, the Saint Nedelya, the Saint Petka and the Holy Mother of God Churches. There are Roman Catholic cathedrals in Plovdiv, the largest of them being the Cathedral of St Louis. There are several more modern Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and other Protestant churches, as well as older style Apostolic churches. Two mosques remain in Plovdiv from the time of the Ottoman rule. The Djumaya Mosque is considered the oldest European mosque outside Moorish Spain.

The Sephardic Plovdiv Synagogue is at Tsar Kaloyan Street 13, in the remnants of a small courtyard in what was once a large Jewish quarter. Dating to the 19th century, it is one of the best-preserved examples of the so-called "Ottoman-style" synagogues in the Balkans. According to author Ruth E. Gruber, the interior of the Plovdiv Synagogue is a "hidden treasure…a glorious, if run-down, burst of color." An exquisite Venetian glass chandelier hangs from the center of the ceiling, which has a richly painted dome. All surfaces are covered in elaborate, Moorish-style, geometric designs in once-bright greens and blues. Torah scrolls are kept in the gilded Aron-ha-Kodesh.[80]

Culture[edit]

Theatre and music[edit]

A preserved medieval street in the Old town.
A performance in the Roman Odeon.

The Plovdiv Drama Theatre[81] is a successor of the first professional theatre group in Bulgaria founded in 1881. The Plovdiv Puppet Theatre, founded in 1948, remains one of the leading institutions in this genre. The Plovdiv Opera was established in 1953.

Another pillar of Plovdiv's culture is the Philharmonic, founded in 1945.[82] Soloists such as Dmitri Shostakovich, Sviatoslav Richter, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yuri Boukov and Mincho Minchev have worked with the Plovdiv Philharmonic. The orchestra has toured in almost all of the European countries.

The Trakiya Folklore Ensemble, founded in 1974, has performed thousands of concerts in Bulgaria and more than 42 countries.[83] The Trakiya Traditional Choir was nominated for a Grammy Award. The Detska Kitka Choir is one of the oldest and best-known youth choirs in Bulgaria, winner of numerous awards from international choral competitions. The Evmolpeya choir is another girls' choir from Plovdiv, whose patron when it was established in 2006 became the then mayor Ivan Chomakov. The choir was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador and a municipal choir.

Literature[edit]

Plovdiv is among the nation's primary literary centres – in 1855 Hristo G. Danov created the first Bulgarian publishing company and later the first printing-press.[84] The city's traditions as a literary centre are preserved by the first public library in Bulgaria, the Ivan Vazov National Library, by the 19 chitalishta (cultural centres) and by numerous booksellers and publishers. The library was founded in 1879[85] and named after the famous Bulgarian writer and poet Ivan Vazov who worked there for five years creating some of his best works.[86] Today the Ivan Vazov National Library is the second largest national library institution with more than 1,5 million books,[87] owning rare Bulgarian and European publications.

Arts[edit]

The Art Gallery of Plovdiv

The city has traditions in iconography since the Middle Ages. During the Period of National Revival a number of notable icon-painters (called in Bulgarian zografi, зографи) from all regions of the country worked in Plovdiv – Dimitar Zograf and his son Zafir Zograf, Zahari Zograf, Georgi Danchov and others.[40] After the Liberation, the Bulgarian painter of Czech origin Ivan Mrkvička came to work in the city. The Painters' Society was established there by artists from southern Bulgaria in 1912, whose members included painters Zlatyu Boyadzhiev, Tsanko Lavrenov and Sirak Skitnik.

Today the city has 30 art galleries. The Art Gallery of Plovdiv was founded in the late 19th century.[88] It possesses 5,000 pieces of art in four buildings. Since 1981, it has had a section for Mexican art donated by Mexican painters in honour of the 1,300-year anniversary of the Bulgarian State.

European Capital of Culture[edit]

On 5 September 2014 Plovdiv was selected as Bulgarian host of European Capital of Culture in 2019.[6] The city will co-host the event with yet to be decided Italian city.

Economy[edit]

Main article: Economy of Plovdiv
A new business centre in Plovdiv

Located in the middle of a rich agricultural region, since the beginning of the 20th century Plovdiv grew as an industrial center. Food processing, tobacco, brewing and textiles were the main pillars of the industry.[89] During Communist rule the city's economy greatly expanded and was dominated by heavy industry; it still produces lead and zinc, machinery, electronics, motor trucks, chemicals and cosmetics. After the fall of Communism in 1989 and the collapse of Bulgaria's planned economy, a number of industrial complexes were closed.

Plovdiv has one of the country's fastest-growing economies with average GDP growth of 12%–13%. As of 2005, the total revenues were 9.4 billion leva (approximately 4.8 billion euro), which was 88% more than in 2001. The profits for the same period rose 4.5 times.[90] Unemployment is 6,5%[91] which is lower than the national average. One recent problem is the municipality's administrative borders, which almost completely coincide with the city limits. Due to the constant increase of investments which are $465,000,000 for 2005 some of the businesses have to be redirected to the Maritsa or Rodopi municipalities such as the industrial zone of Radinovo village.[90]

Industry has been expanding again since the late 1990s, with manufacturing plants built in the city or in its outskirts, mainly the municipality of Maritsa. In this period, some €500,000,000 has been invested in construction of new factories. Some of the new plants include the Liebherr refrigerator plant with 1,850 employees and a capacity of 450,000 items per year, the Socotab tobacco processing plant (2,000 employees), a bicycle plant (500 workers, capacity 500,000 units),[92] а Schneider electronics factory,[93] a biodiesel plant, the Bulsaphil textile plant (790 workers), and several electronics and high-tech plants producing CD players and other electronic equipment. The largest electronics plant in the Balkans was inaugurated in the nearby village of Voivodinovo.[94]

Due to the demand for business office space Business Park Plovdiv was going to be constructed in the district of Trakiya, but the advance of the global financial crisis has put a halt on the project. The investment has been planned for €68,000,000 and the park should occupy an area of 110,000 m2 (1,184,030.15 sq ft).[95][96] A commercial and industrial park is to be built in the village of Radinovo at several km to the north-west of the city with a built-up area of 50,000 m2 (538,195.52 sq ft).[97]

Shopping and commerce[edit]

A new shopping center in the Trakiya District.

The commercial sector is developing quickly. Shopping centers have been built mainly in the Central district and the district of Trakiya. Those include Shopping Center Grand,[98] Market Center[99] and two more all on the Kapitan Raycho Street,[99] Forum in Trakiya, Excelsior and others. There are several malls under construction – the €40 million Mall of Plovdiv with a shopping area of 40,000 m2 (430,556.42 sq ft), 11 cinemas and parking for 700 cars,[100] €50 mln. Central Mall Markovo tepe,[101] a huge €60 mln. mall and hotel complex in the district of Trakiya[102] as well as several other projects planned or under construction.

Plovidv also has the Galeria Mall, with a free 1350-car parking space, 100 shops, coffee houses, ice-scathing ring, 6 story climbing inside wall and other entertainment (bowling and arcade center). The mall is 6 stories high with 127 000 square meters area, half of which is the parking lot and the rest is shopping area, one of the larges on the Balkans. It has Carefur,Zora, Multirama, Paolo Botticelli, Adidas, Cult, Aqua, Rivas, Roberto Zago, Swatch, DM, Lustro, Fabiano, Denix, Colette and many other well known brand stores.

Several hypermarkets have been built mainly on the outskirts of the city: Metro, Kaufland, Triumf, Praktiker, Billa, Mr. Bricolage, Baumax, Technopolis, Technomarket Europa, and others. The main shopping area is the central street with its shops, cafés and restaurants. A number of cafés, craftsmen workshops and souvenir shops are in the Old Town and the small streets in the centre, known among the locals as "The Trap" (Bulgarian: Капана).

The Plovdiv International Fair, held annually since 1892, is the largest and oldest fair in the country and all of southeastern Europe, gathering companies from all over the world in an exhibition area of 138,000 m2 (1,485,419.64 sq ft) located on a territory of 352,000 m2 (3,788,896.47 sq ft) on the northern banks of the Maristsa river.[103] It attracts more than 600,000 visitors from many countries.[104]

The city has had a duty-free zone since 1987. It has a customs terminal handling cargo from trucks and trains.[104]

Transport[edit]

Plovdiv has a geographical position which makes it an international transport hub. Three of the ten Pan-European corridors run into or near the city: Corridor IV (DresdenBucharestSofia-Plovdiv- Istanbul), Corridor VIII (Durrës-Sofia-Plovdiv-Varna/Burgas) and Corridor X (SalzburgBelgrade-Plovdiv-Istanbul).[105][106] A major tourist center, Plovdiv lies at the foot of the Rhodope Mountains, and most people wishing to explore the mountains choose it as their trip's starting point.

The city is a major road and railway hub in southern Bulgaria:[107] the Trakia motorway (A1) is only at 5 km (3 mi) to the north. It lies on the important national route from Sofia to Burgas via Stara Zagora. First-class roads lead to Sofia to the west, Karlovo to the north, Asenovgrad and Kardzhali to the south, Stara Zagora and Haskovo to the east. There are intercity buses which link Plovdiv with cities and towns all over the country and many European countries. They are based in three bus stations: South, Rodopi and North.

Railway transport in the city dates back to 1872 when it became a station on the LyubimetsBelovo railway line. There are railway lines to Sofia, Panagyurishte, Karlovo, Peshtera, Stara Zagora, Dimitrovgrad and Asenovgrad. There are three railway stations – Plovdiv Central, Trakia and Filipovo – as well as a freight station.[105]

Plovdiv has a large public transport system,[108] including around 29 main and 10 extra bus lines. However, there are no trams in the city, and the Plovdiv trolleybus system was closed in autumn 2012.[109] Six bridges span the Maritsa river including a railroad bridge and a covered bridge. There are important road junctions to the south, southwest and north.

The number of registered private automobiles in the city increased from 178,104 in 2005 to 234,298 in 2009.[110] or some 658 cars per 1,000 inhabitants[111]

The Plovdiv International Airport is near the village of Krumovo, 5 km (3 mi) southeast of the city. It takes charter flights from Europe and has scheduled services with Ryanair to London and Frankfurt-Hahn and S7 to Moscow. Many small airports are in the city's surroundings, including the Graf Ignatievo Air Base in Graf Ignatievo to the north of Plovdiv.

The BIAF Airshow is held every two years on the Krumovo airbase, one of the biggest airshows in the Balkans.[citation needed]

Education[edit]

Around two thirds of the citizens (62,38%) have secondary, specialized or higher education. That percentage increased in the period from 1992 to 2001.[112]

Plovdiv has 78 schools including elementary, high, foreign language, mathematics, technical and art schools. There are also 10 private schools and a seminary. The number of pupils for 2005 was 36,964 and has been constantly decreasing since the mid-1990 due to lower birth rate.[112] Among the most prestigious schools are the English Language School, the High School of Mathematics, the Ivan Vazov Language School, the National Schools of Commerce – Plovdiv,[113] the English Academy,[114] the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts Plovdiv,[115] and the French High School of Plovdiv.[116]

The city has six universities and a number of state and private colleges and branches of other universities. Those include Plovdiv University,[117] with 900 lecturers and employees and 13,000 students; the Plovdiv Medical University, with 2,600 students;[118] the Medical College; the Technical University of Sofia – Branch Plovdiv;[119] the Agricultural University – Plovdiv;[120] the University of Food Technologies;[121] the Academy for Music, Dance and Fine Arts;[122] and others.[112]

The 2009 International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) was held at the University of Plovdiv "Paisiy Hilendarski", between 8 and 15 August 2009. The 2009 IOI Honorary Patron was Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov.[citation needed]

Between 1875 and 1906, the Zariphios School provided education in the Greek language for Plovdiv 's Greek community.[citation needed]

Sports and recreation[edit]

Plovdiv Sports Complex in autumn.

The Plovdiv Sports Complex is the biggest in Eastern Europe.[citation needed] It consists of Plovdiv Stadium with several additional football fields, tennis courts, swimming pools, a rowing base with a 2 km-long channel, restaurants and cafés in a spacious park in the western part of the city, just south of the Maritsa river. There are also playgrounds for the children. It is popular among the citizens and guests of Plovdiv who use it for jogging, walking and relaxation. Plovdiv Stadium has 55,000 seats which makes it the largest football venue in Bulgaria.[123]

Other stadiums include Hristo Botev Stadium (22,000 seats), Lokomotiv Stadium (11,000 seats), Maritsa Stadium (5,000 seats) and Todor Diev Stadium (7,000 seats). There are six indoor sports halls: Lokomotiv, Dunav, Stroitel, Chaika, Akademik, Total Sport. In 2006, Aqualand, a water park, was opened near the city centre.[124] Several smaller water parks are in the city as well.

A view from the City garden.

Football is the most popular sport in the city; Plovdiv has four professional teams. Botev Plovdiv[125] was founded in 1912 and is named after one of the most ardent Bulgarian poets and revolutionaries, Hristo Botev. The city also has PFC Lokomotiv, founded in 1926.[126] Both teams are a regular fixture in the top Bulgarian league. The rivalry between them is considered to be even more fierce than the one between Levski and CSKA of Sofia. There are two other football clubs in the city – Maritsa FC (founded in 1921) and Spartak Plovdiv (1947).[127]

Plovdiv is host of the international boxing tournament "Strandzha" which takes place since 1949.[128] In 2007, 96 boxers from 20 countries participated in the tournament. There is a horse racing club and a horse base near the city. Plovdiv has several volleyball and basketball teams.

Three of the city's seven hills are protected natural territories since 1995. Two of the first parks in Bulgaria are located in the city center  – Tsar Simeon garden - city garden (where the very first work of the Italian sculptor Arnoldo Zocchi could be seen) and Dondukov garden - old city garden. Some of the larger parks include the Botanical garden, Beli Brezi, Ribnitsa and Lauta.

Notable citizens[edit]

Old Plovdiv.
Church of Saint Nedelya.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Sign showing Plovdiv 's sister cities.

Plovdiv is twinned with the following cities:[129][130]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  70. ^ The Ancient stadium of Philippopolis
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  74. ^ Archaeological Museum Plovdiv – Roman art.[dead link]
  75. ^ Archaeological Museum Plovdiv – Middle Ages art.[dead link]
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  92. ^ "Bicycle factory in Tsaratsovo". Big.bg. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
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  101. ^ "A Bulgarian-Israeli company to build a mall in Plovdiv". Comfort.bg. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  102. ^ "Мол за 60 млн. евро ще строят в пловдивския райoн Тракия". Comfort.bg. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
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  106. ^ See the map.
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  111. ^ "Eurostat. Transport in Urban Audit cities, core city".
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  114. ^ "English Academy Plovdiv". Englishacademybg.com. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  115. ^ "National School for Music and Dance Art Plovdiv".
  116. ^ Vassil Todorov. "French High School of Plovdiv". Feg.plovdiv.free.fr. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  117. ^ "University of Plovdiv "Paisiy Hilendarski"". Uni-plovdiv.bg. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  118. ^ "Medical University". Meduniversity-plovdiv.bg. 29 June 2011. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  119. ^ "Technical University of Sofia, Plovdiv branch". Tu-plovdiv.bg. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  120. ^ "University of Agriculture". Au-plovdiv.bg. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  121. ^ University of Food Technologies.[dead link]
  122. ^ Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts.[dead link]
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  127. ^ "Spartak Plovdiv". Spartakpd.info. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  128. ^ "International boxing tournament Strandzha". Boxing.mdkbg.com. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
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  130. ^ "Plovdiv Twinning". Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  131. ^ "Kardeş Şehirler". Bursa Büyükşehir Belediyesi Basın Koordinasyon Merkez. Tüm Hakları Saklıdır. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
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  133. ^ "Twinning Cities". City of Thessaloniki. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°9′N 24°45′E / 42.150°N 24.750°E / 42.150; 24.750

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