Plovdiv is the second city of Bulgaria situated just over 80 miles from Sofia. The city has a long history and is one of the oldest settlements in Europe. For most of its history it was known as Philippopolis named for Philip of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great, who conquered the city in the 4th century BC. Philippopolis became part of the Roman Empire in the 1st century AD and was an important provincial city. Many Roman buildings from this era survived and Plovdiv has an abundance of Roman ruins, though many are only partially excavated or still lie buried beneath newer layers of construction.
Later, the city came under Byzantine rule and they left behind the Great Basilica and the Smaller Basilica. The former is still being excavated and there are plans to develop a museum around the site as has been done with the latter. Both contain beautiful and elaborate mosaics, some of which remain in situ with others removed to the city’s museums.
The narrow streets of the Old Town are lined with beautiful buildings – Orthodox churches, Ottoman mosques, Bulgarian revival style dwellings. The city has tried to maintain and restore these properties and a number have been developed as museums, open to visitors. In 2019 Plovdiv will be European Capital of Culture, bringing the city to the attention of a wider European audience. Here are some pictures.