Bulgaria Central and Eastern Europe Europe


Stories and Photos from our travels to the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Europe.

Destination 》EuropeCentral and Eastern Europe  》Bulgaria

Year Visited: 2018 – August


During our backpacking trip through Central and Eastern European countries, my son and I arrived in Plovdiv, after spending few days in Veliko Târnovo, the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire.

Plovdiv, built around 7 hills, is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Europe dating back to the 6th century BC, more ancient than Rome, Athens and Constantinople. The city has been invaded by the Persians, Greeks, Celts, Romans, Goths, Huns, Bulgarians, Slav-Vikings, Crusaders, and Turks.

The city’s cobblestoned lanes are packed with colorful and creaky 19th-century mansions, and many well preserved historical remains including a Roman Stadium, and Theater. Photos below are from our few days stay in this ancient city.

Welcome to Plovdiv! A beautiful Manhole Cover with City’s Coat of Arms.
The Balabanov House, a traditional 19th century house with authentic interior belonged to a wealthy merchant, the house today hosts temporary exhibition, conferences, theater performances, meetings.
One of the first things you will notice about traditional Plovdiv houses is that the second floor are often wider than the lower level. The upper levels are supported by wooden beams.
Traditional Plovdiv houses; two houses built on the opposite sides of a street have roofs that almost touch at their highest points.
Kuyumdjioglu House; One of the most beautiful examples of the Revival Houses in the Old Town of Plovdiv. It was built in a beautiful style in 1847. The owner Kuyumdjioglu was a rich merchant, who left Plovdiv after the Liberation of Bulgaria. The house was then used as a factory and as a flour warehouse. Eventually, it became the Ethnographic museum of Plovdiv.
Hisar Kapia – a medieval gate in Plovdiv’s old town built in the 11th century AD over the foundations of a gate from Roman times from the 2nd century AD.
Plovdiv Roman theater, one of the world’s best-preserved ancient Roman theater, located in the old town of Plovdiv. It was constructed in the 1st century AD, during the reign of Emperor Domitian. The theater can host between 5000 and 7000 spectators and it is currently in use.
Church of St Constantine and St Helena, one of the oldest ones in the city. The original sanctuary from the beginning of the 4th century was built on the remains of an ancient pagan temple
Street Artists playing Bulgarian folk songs in the old town of Plovdiv.
Dzhumaya Mosque, located in the center of Plovdiv and was built in 1363–1364 on the site of the Sveta Petka Tarnovska Cathedral Church after the conquest of Plovdiv by the Ottoman army.
Authentic Turkish coffee and Baklava, a rich, sweet dessert pastry, at the coffee shop that is part of the Ottoman mosque. in the Balkans, coffee is always served with a glass of cold water.
Raul’s first introduction to the Turkish Coffee.
Singing fountains in the the city center, a very lively place with many shops, restaurants, coffee shops andbars.
City of Plovdiv from the Nebet Tepe, one of the seven hills of Plovdiv where the ancient town was founded. As the town expanded, Nebet Tepe became the citadel of the town’s acropolis.
View from the Nebet Tepe, one of the seven hills of Plovdiv.
Beautiful Sunset over Plovdiv from the Nebet Tepe, one of the seven hills of Plovdiv.

The “Plovdiv 2019″, the city was developing and preparing for European Capital of Culture in 2019. We visited Plovdiv in August 2018.

Street art of Kapana, the creative heart of the city, a pedestrianized area full of shops, restaurants and galleries. In the 1990s it was a parking zone full of ruined houses. The transformation began in 2014, when few creative enterprises moved into the area, funded by the European Capital of Culture Foundation.

Street art in Kapana District.
Street art in Kapana District.
Street art in Kapana District.
Street art in Kapana District.
Street art in Kapana District.
Street art in Kapana District.
Street art in Kapana District.
Street art in Kapana District.
Street art in Kapana District.
Do you recognize this couch? Raul being fan of “Friends”, wanted to have his picture taken.
Kamenitza , a Bulgarian beer, the brewery established in 1881, is based in the city of Plovdiv.

During our stay in Plovdiv, we made a day trip to Bachkovo Monastery, founded in 1083, the second largest monastery in Bulgaria and one of the oldest monasteries in the Balkan Peninsula. The monastery is known and appreciated for the unique combination of Byzantine, Georgian and Bulgarian culture, united by the common faith. Raul did all the research and planned the visit, I just followed him.

The main entrance of Bachkovo Monastery
Interior of of Bachkovo Monastery; beautiful frescoes from 17th and 18th centuries.
Bulgarian Troyan Pottery for sale outside Bachkovo Monastery.
Chushka Byurek (Cheese Stuffed Peppers), Bulgarian red pepper baked in the oven, then stuffed with cheese and fried in breadcrumbs. One of few vegetarian option in Bulgaria.
Lunch at a very nice restaurant by the waterfall near Bachkovo Monastery. Drinking Ayran – a healthy drink made of locally produced yogurt that Bulgarians are so proud of. In India it is called salted Lassi.

After few days in the the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Europe, we took a bus to Belgrade, the capital city of Serbia, and continued our backpacking trip through Central and Eastern European countries.

By Window on The World

In May 2017, 23 days before I was going to complete 50 years, grabbed an opportunity and took an early retirement.. Picked up a backpack and traveling ever since.. Love to travel around the world, experience different culture, local cuisine & drinks .. and take pictures.. so far been to 108 countries and still counting...

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