With an ancient past spanning some eight thousand years, Plovdiv offers tourists a rich tapestry of history. Set to be elected the European Capital of Culture in 2019, here are four reasons to pack your bag and head to Bulgaria’s second largest city right now.
1. It’s old, really old!
If you’re a history buff, you’ll know that Plovdiv is in fact one of the oldest continually inhabited cities on the planet. The great thing is that you can still see remnants of the past around town including the archaeological remains of the ancient city of Philippopolis, which boasts one of the best preserved theaters in the world. The city’s Old Town is also worth exploring, with its picturesque buildings and narrow cobbled streets. Must-sees include the Archaeological Museum, the Basilica, the Dzhumaya Mosque and the Roman Stadium.
2. Food fanatics will not be disappointed
The local cuisine will send your taste buds into a frenzy. Get ready to enjoy delicious lamb, kebapche (grilled minced meat with spices), banitsa (cheese and filo pastry dish), home-made jam, honey, traditional chocolate cake and the famous Bulgarian white cheese, which is added to all kinds of platters.
3. Did we mention wine?
Plovdiv is well reputed for its vineyards and wine tourism industry. Each year, the city hosts prestigious international wine competitions and a large number of events related to wine tourism such as “Vin et Gourmet” in May and “Défilé du Vin Primeur” in November. While you are in town, be sure to plan a visit to Villa Yustina and Todoroff Hotel and Spa to indulge in some tasting and a wine tour. Both wineries are located within 15-20 km from the city center.
4. You’ll definitely fall in love with the people
It’s clear when you arrive in Plovdiv that the locals are endeavoring to improve the touristic and economic standard of their beloved city. There’s a palpable sense of pride among the people towards their ancient history and heritage. Traditional music can be heard and you may even spot some folkloric dance performances as you wander around. Rest assured that wherever you go, you’re guaranteed a very warm welcome.
Article by Mario Younes, member of FIJET Lebanon General Commission.
Plovdiv was awarded ”The Golden Apple” in September 2016, an annual award bestowed by the World Federation of Journalists and Travel Writers. The city was chosen for its rich heritage and its vision for the future in harmony with its historical landscape.