Plovdiv is the second-largest city in Bulgaria after Sofia, with a population of 379,315 It is the administrative centre of Plovdiv Province in southern Bulgaria and three municipalities (Plovdiv, Maritsa and Rodopi), as well as the largest and most important city in Northern Thrace and the wider international historical region of Thrace. The city is an important economic, transport, cultural and educational centre. One of Europe’s oldest cities, it was originally a Thracian settlement before becoming a major city ruled by Greeks and Romans in Antiquity. In the Middle Ages, it retained its strategic regional importance, changing hands between the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires. It came under Ottoman rule in the 14th century. In 1878, Plovdiv was made the capital of the autonomous Ottoman region of Eastern Rumelia; in 1885, it became part of Bulgaria with the unification of that region and the Principality of Bulgaria. Plovdiv is situated in the southern part of the Plovdiv Plain on the two banks of the Maritsa River. The city has historically developed on seven syenite hills, some of which are 250 m high. Because of these seven hills, Plovdiv is often referred to in Bulgaria as “The City of the Seven Hills”. Plovdiv is host to economic and cultural events such as the International Fair Plovdiv, the international theatrical festival “A scene on a crossroad”, the TV festival “The golden chest”. There are many remains preserved from Antiquity such as the Ancient amphitheatre, Roman odeon, Roman Stadium, the archaeological complex Eirene and others.
Plovdiv is one of the oldest cities in Europe. It is a contemporary of Troy and Mycenae, and older than Rome, Carthage or Constantinople. Archaeologists have discovered fine pottery and other objects of everyday life from as early as the Neolithic Age, showing that in the end of the 7th millennium B.C. there already was an established settlement there. According to Ammianus Marcellinus, Plovdiv’s written post-Bronze Age history lists it as a Thracian fortified settlement named Eumolpias. In 4th century BC the city was a centre of a trade fair (called panegyreis). In 342 BC, it was conquered by Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, who renamed it Philippopolis or “the city of Philip” in his own honour. Later, it was reconquered by the Thracians who called it Pulpudeva (a translation of Philipopolis) In 72 AD it was seized by the Roman general Terentius Varo Lukulus and was incorporated into the Roman Empire, where it was called Trimontium (City of Three Hills) and served as metropolis (capital) of the province of Thrace. It gained a city status in late 1st century. Trimontium was an important crossroad for the Roman Empire and was called “The largest and most beautiful of all cities” by Lucian. Although it was not the capital of the Province of Thrace, the city was the largest and most important centre in the province. In those times, the Via Militaris (or Via Diagonalis), the most important military road in the Balkans, passed through the city. The Roman times were a period of growth and cultural excellence. The ancient ruins tell a story of a vibrant, growing city with numerous public buildings, shrines, baths, and theatres. The city had an advanced water system and sewerage. It was defended with a double wall. Many of those are still preserved and can be seen by tourists. Today only a small part of the ancient city has been excavated.
Useful telephone numbers
0123 – Operator for international calls (if direct recruitment is not possible)
121 – Operator for calls in Bulgaria
179 – Head of the BNB exchange rate of the day
144 – Business Information numbers
145 – Information home phone numbers
146 – Road assistance
150 – Ambulance
166 – Police
160 – Fire
175 – Weather
180 – Time