Plovdiv, the City on Seven Hills, is situated on the two banks of the Maritsa River, 130 km southeast of the capital Sofia. It is the second largest city in Bulgaria. Plovdiv is older than Rome, Athens, Carthage or Constantinople; it is almost a contemporary of Troy. The Thracians originally established the settlement on the three eastern hills, naming it Evmolpiass, which was later on called Pulpudeva. In the year 342 B.C., the town was conquered by Philip II of Macedonia and was called Philipopol. During the Roman times it was given the name of Trimontium ("town on three hills"). The Slavs called it Plovdiv. Plovdiv is divided into two parts ? the old town, which occupies the three eastern hills, and the lower town spread out on the plain below. The modern town offers entertainment and vigorous sights while the old town carries the atmosphere and the ancient culture of the city .
Plovdiv is one of the biggest transport junctions in the country and on the Balkans. The international road E 80 / Belgrade-Sofia-Plovdiv-Istanbul runs close to the town. Plovdiv is within thirty minutes drive from three different mountain ranges and just 2.5 hours from the seaside. Plovdiv International Airport operates national and international flights. The climate is mild with a Mediterranean influence, with hot summers and mild winters.
Plovdiv's unique location on the ancient crossroads has stimulated strong cultural and political influences from Eastern and Western civilizations, and yet has maintained its unique cultural identity. Plovdiv is a town built upon layers of towns and a culture developed upon layers of cultures.
Remains of ancient, mediaeval, revival and modern culture coexist to make Plovdiv a synonym of Bulgarian history and a genuine world city. The Ancient Theatre, the most impressive edifice of Roman times, was excavated during reinforcement works at the southern fortress wall. It offered almost 7 000 seats. Nowadays it is used for staging opera and theatre festivals, concerts, municipal celebrations, etc.
Spread over three of the hills, the Renaissance town of Old Plovdiv was built during the 19th century. Old Plovdiv is an autonomous area within the modern town with a municipality of its own. It is declared an architectural museum reserve with over 150 monuments of culture - houses from the National Revival period. Walking around Old Plovdiv, visitors enjoy the steep, cobbled streets and lanes with bow-windows and eaves above them. Its magnificent houses are turned into museums, galleries, workshops, restaurants, and pubs.
But Plovdiv is not just a city rich in cultural monuments and traditions. It is also a modern, vibrant urban centre. Shopping opportunities are abundant, with the biggest crowds walking the wide pedestrian plazas, the shopping streets in the city's center. Additionally, in every alley and side street you'll find charming restaurants with affordable prices. The food is of top quality, as Plovdiv is in the center of the main agricultural region of Bulgaria.
It is just not possible to simply mention one or two favorite clubs, restaurants or bars. The city also offers quality entertainment in the way of theatres, concerts and cinema, as well as many opportunities for sport activities.The mixture of ancient history and heritage with modern infrastructure and lifestyle makes Plovdiv a place where visitors can sample virtually all facets of life and culture not just of Bulgaria, but also of the entire Balkan region.