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A Break In Plovdiv

 

Plovdiv has much to offer in the way of sightseeing and cultural pursuits. There are over 200 archaeological sites and 30 of them are of national importance. Well worth visiting is the spectacular and well preserved Roman Amphitheatre, which lies in the Old Town and still hosts a variety of open air concerts, plays and operas.

The protected Old Town itself is a living museum to some of the most impressive Revival and Renaissance architecture in the country. It's winding, steep cobbled streets houses a multitude of quaint antique and craft shops as well as a host of restaurants, bars and cafes.
Plovdiv's five museums house some 30,000 cultural artifacts and can be visited throughout the year at the Archaeological Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, the Historical Museum, the Natural Museum and the City Art Gallery. By far the most impressive exhibit is the 6th century BC Panagyurishte Golden Treasure - it consists of six exquisitely decorated golden utensils, whose combined weight is a staggering 6,000 kg.


City of Churches

Plovdiv is a city of churches, many of which are constructed in distinctive 19th century Eastern Orthodox style. Churches of other denominations, in particular Roman Catholic and Muslim nestle alongside and demonstrate a different design structures. The Orthodox Church of St Constantine and Elena is believed to be the oldest in the city. It was constructed in 337 on the site of an ancient pagan temple on one of the fortified hills and was named after the Emperor, Constantine the Great and his mother Elena. The church was destroyed and rebuilt many times and today it contains some outstanding frescoes and icons, which were painted by masters of one of the most famous Bulgarian Iconographic Schools.

Sports

Citizens of Plovdiv are ardent followers of one the four local teams, of which Botev Plovdiv and Lokomotiv are the most successful. Both of these teams play in Bulgaria's top league and the city's ardent passion for the sport has spawned some excellent youth players.

The "Plovdiv Sports Complex" is distinctive and the largest in Eastern Europe. It is made up of Plovdiv Stadium where football matches are held along with tennis tournaments and swimming races. The stadium also contains a rowing base with a 3 km long channel, plus a host of restaurants and cafés and a spacious park.

Just outside the city is the massive, a water park called Aqualand, which proves to be very popular in the summer.


Shopping

The new town of Plovdiv is a must for all dedicated shopaholics. Its pedestrianised main thoroughfare is home to endless boutiques, shoe shops and cafes. Clothing and footwear is priced very competitively with some real bargains to be found. Several huge hypermarkets are sited out of town and include Metro, Kaufland, Sani, Praktiker, Billa and Mr Bricolage, and the two large shopping Malls - Mall Plovdiv and Mall Galeria Plovdiv.

Arts and Culture

Plovdiv is rich in arts and culture with numerous theatres including the Plovdiv Drama Theatre successor of the first professional theatre group in Bulgaria and the Plovdiv Puppet Theatre, which remains one of the leading establishments in this genre.
Plovdiv Opera has achieved international acclaim across Europe, notably in Spain, Germany, Italy and Denmark. The Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra is responsible for producing some world-class conductors including Valdi Simeonov, Rouslan Raitchev and Stoyka Milanova. Many world renowned soloists like Yuri Boukov and Mincho Minchev have worked with the Plovdiv Philharmonic. The orchestra's international acclaim is remarkable.


The city's traditions are preserved in Bulgaria's first public library known as the Ivan Vazov National Library. The library owns a collection of rare Bulgarian and European publications as well as housing modern classics.
The International Fair in Plovdiv is the country's largest and oldest international trade fair, having been established in 1892. It is situated in a huge exhibition complex with the largest ground area in southeastern Europe. Some 40 shows and exhibitions are held here every year, with around 7,000 exhibitors from 58 countries participating.