Ancient and Eternal- the city’s motto fits perfectly. Also known as “the city of the seven hills” due to its location, Plovdiv is the second largest city in Bulgaria and in the top five oldest cities in the world.
It’s one of my favorite cities and last time I was here was the day after my 18th birthday; the day I fell in love with the way ancient and modern history blend in like it was meant to look this way even 5000 years ago.
The city consists of two parts: old town and modern day Plovdiv. As you guys should know by now I’m a sucker for history, so I was quick to put on my walking shoes and “get lost” in the most ancient part of the city.
Starting at the East gate which still has the original pavement from over 6000 years ago when the area was part of the Roman Empire. The East gate was the shopping district, housing only the wealthiest families with the road, leading to the amphitheater and the coliseum up the hill.
Crossing the modern day road, I climbed my first hill, a gorgeous blend between the ancient roman road(5000 yo), Turkish Empire castle walls (built in the 15th century) and the 150 year old post slavery houses.
Continuing up, I have to note my favorite feature about post-slavery houses from the beginning of the 20th century. You will notice on the pic below how one part of the house is constructed outward- a traditional Gossip room. What is that you ask?- after about 500 years of slavery, the Bulgarian aristocracy was fast developing. The socialites spent their days drinking tea and coffee in said rooms, keeping track on everything happening below them on the then Main Street of Plovdiv, who was spotted with whom, the works. A whole room designed exclusively for a vintage (or maybe original is the word), Gossip Girl!
We reached our destination- Nebet Tepe.
Believed to be a magical place, not just because of the view. This hill is said to be a sacred ground for ancient Thracian tribes, who enhabited Bulgaria 7000-8000 years ago. It’s believed the goddess Hekate preformed rituals here so the place is loaded with positive energy. Another theory states that’s the whole reason ancient Romans chose it as the main fortress in the area.
The original Coluseum remodel: just thinking that 5000 years ago, real gladiators walked these roads, sacrifices took place, people walked, preparing to face or possibly meet death itself…
Such a small part remains, yet it’s still so easy to feel the excitement as you walk the tunnel passage leading to the battle grounds. Even the bravest warriors must have paused for a second, hearing the crowd’s roars louder and louder.
Once you are up the steps and you look ahead, you get an instant “slap” back into present day times. Welcome to downtown Plovdiv, the shopping district!
Focus on creating memories, invest in experiences, not material possessions!
Love, Silvia Mèlange