The oldest city in Europe

There some places on the Earth, which have something really unique, but since they are “behind the shadow” of the famous destinations, they often remained unnoticed by many travelers. One of these places is Plovdiv- a city, proven to be the oldest constantly living one in Europe and one of the oldest in the world.

Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria. It has been established at least 4000 years ago or more (nobody knows exactly). And since it has never been destroyed and abandoned, it has a long history, which traces remained in the city as historic layers. Yes, there were destruction and wars, but after such events, the city was immediately rebuilt over the destroyed remnants. As a result of this process of layering, now the remains of the Roman period, for example, lay around 8 m below the modern level of the streets.


What to see or do

Ancient theatre

Built in the 2nd Century BC this ancient theater was one of the largest and best preserved in the area. Capable of housing more than 5000 spectators this theater even to this day seems performances. During this recent visit the theater was unfortunately closed as they were preparing for a concert that was to be held there.

Plovdiv’s Old Town

East of the Main Street is Plovdiv’s Old Town. It is built on a hill with three peaks. Unlike many Old Towns in the world, this one is very calm and clean, even mysterious in some places. It represents traditional Bulgarian houses from the 19th century, as well as older remains from Byzantine, Old Bulgarian, Roman, and Thracian eras. Here you can walk on its silent narrow streets, you can visit some of the houses, now turned into museums like Balabanova house, Hindliyan, and especially the Ethnographic Museum.

Here you can visit also one of the oldest Eastern Orthodox churches in the world- St. Constantin and Elena. Some other landmarks of the Old Town and whole Plovdiv are:

– Hisar Kapiya- a Medieval arc, part of one of the ancient walls of the city.

– Nebet tepe peak, where you can find the oldest remains of Plovdiv, dating back to 4000 years ago, as well as the best panoramic view of the city.

– Roman Theater- one of the largest semicircle Roman Theaters in the world, now a favorite place for open-air performances- from symphonic and opera, ethno folk, to gothic metal live shows.

Museums

The town also has a good selection of museums such as the beautiful Ethnographic Museum and the Archaeology Museum. For a city as old as Plovdiv there are certainly no lack of history in this region. The buildings themselves are gorgeous too such as the Ethnographic Museum.

Kapana (The Trap)

Kapana is a small quarter near Old Town, with a network of many short streets, where you can easily get lost (that’s why it is called “The Trap”). This place represents the best cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops in Plovdiv. It is full of art and culture, and here is the place of Plovdiv’s nightlife, in bars like The Nylon, Cat and Mouse, Terzo Mondo, Central Perk and many others.

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