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Bulgaria's Best Kept Secret

Perfect Plovdiv

sunny 19 °C

Here's an idea. Pull out a map of Europe and stick your finger on Plovdiv – No! Can't place it? Incredible. Like us, you probably thought a Plovdiv was a polite form of 'plonker' or a Polish sausage. Nope – Plovdiv claims to be one of the oldest known cities in the world and it is in southern Bulgaria. Plovdiv, previously known as Philippopolis, has been continuously occupied for at least six thousand years and there is evidence that these ruins are some eight thousand years old...
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However, Plovdiv is better known for its modern architecture...
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This Roman amphitheatre is not even two thousand years old – the concrete is barely set.
Just to give you an idea of how big this joint is, Sheila, our very own sound tester, is sitting in the upper circle. From there she can see all the action and hear a dagger drop on the stage...
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Seven thousand Romans could enjoy a rollicking good show here in 135 AD thanks to Emperor Hadrianus Augustus. He was the same Emperor Hadrian who built a wall across northern England to keep out Scottish immigrants – but did he make the Scots pay for it?

Not content with a monumental theatre, Hadrian then built an Olympic sized sports stadium where thirty thousand people could watch all manner of games and feats of strength. Most of the stadium is still buried under nearly two thousand years of development, but one end was unearthed when Plovdiv's main market square was ripped up in the 1970s...
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All manner of Roman buildings are concealed under Plovdiv's 20th century streets and squares. This is the central square...
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If you still think that Plovdiv is just an insignificant blob on the map it is worth considering that the oldest American educational institution outside the United States was founded in Plovdiv in 1860. Today it is the American College of Sofia.
Lucian, a Roman writer wrote in the 2nd century A.D. “Philippopolis is the biggest and loveliest of all cities. Its beauty shines from far away.”
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And to cap it all, Plovdiv has been selected as the European Culture Capital 2019.
We are not surprised. In addition to the Roman ruins, Plovdiv has masses of beautiful old houses along its winding cobbled streets...
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And its restaurants serve meals fit for an emperor...
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This is a single portion of mixed grill that cost less than $10 Cdn in a traditional Bulgarian eatery. So, before we explode, we are heading to the hills – the mountains of Bulgaria – in search of more great historical sights.

Posted by Hawkson 07:22 Archived in Bulgaria

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Comments

Oh my goodness what a find from architecture to exploding food platters. Beautiful buildings old and newish. Today the sun is shining
sort of. We need the sun right now all of us.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Wow. Another great find. Well worth addition to future itineraries. Charming architecture - looks very well kept both ancient and modern.

by Tom Whalley

Looks fabulous. I'm heading for an atlas right now. Plovdiv, was it? Who knew?

by Joyce

very, very, very, interesting. I had no idea.

by kEITH Myers

A single portion! Tell me you shared this. Even I would have difficulty getting through it all. Easier maybe with a glass of an earthy, red Bulgarian wine.

by R and B

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