Bulgaria’s Plovdiv Nominated Among Top 20 ‘European Best Destinations’ 2016

Bulgaria’s Plovdiv Nominated Among Top 20 ‘European Best Destinations’ 2016

Photos presenting the nomination of Bulgaria's Plovdiv as one of Europe's top 20 destinations for 2016. Photos: European Best Destinations

Photos presenting the nomination of Bulgaria’s Plovdiv as one of Europe’s top 20 destinations for 2016. Photos: European Best Destinations

Europe’s oldest city, the southern Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, which is known for its archaeological, historical, and cultural monuments, has been nominated as one of a total of 20 places competing for the “European Best Destination” 2016 title.

European Best Destination 2016 is an event organized by the European organization “European Best Destinations”.

The winner in the competition, which has been around for seven years already, is elected through an online vote (You can vote for Plovdiv or some of the other nominees HERE). The 2015 winner was the French city of Bordeaux.

In addition to Bulgaria’s Plovdiv, the other 2016 nominees are Amsterdam, Athens, the Azores, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Edinburgh, Kotor, London, Madrid, Milan, Nantes, Nicosia, Novi Sad, Rome, Paris, Prague, Vienna, Zadar.

Here is what the official website of “European Best Destinations” says about Bulgaria’s Plovdiv:

“Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture 2019

Nestling in the south part of Bulgaria, Plovdiv is a leading cultural, religious, wine and shopping destination which never fails to reveal exciting, new facets of its character.

With its 8-millennia history, Plovdiv has been proclaimed the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Europe and the 6-th oldest in the world. The city has been listed under #3 in «ТOP 10 most beautiful ancient cities in the world». It was also included in the Lonely Planet’s rank of «ТOP 10 must-visit destinations in 2015».

Various sites and activities turn Plovdiv into a real treasure on Earth, which must be discovered. Culture and architecture: The pearl of the city – The Old Town has preserved historical layers from Prehistorical, Thracian, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, middle Ages, Revival and Modern Times. Extremely well-preserved are the Roman monuments and mosaics, as well as the churches and the Revival houses, most of which have been turned either into museums, or boutique hotels and restaurants.

A touch of art: The diversity of art galleries and museums makes Plovdiv a must-visit destination. Especially attractive is Kapana District, which is the district of creative industries with plenty of art shops offering various artistic activities and trendy cafes and bars with unique atmosphere and coziness. The area of Kapana has become favorite place for the locals as it host number of festivals and artistic events. Kapana District will also play main role in the cultural program of Plovdiv in 2019 when the city will be the European capital of culture.      

Beauty and romance: Plovdiv is located on seven hills which perfect places for sport and cultural events. The romantic atmosphere of the city can be felt everywhere – whether enjoying Lake with the Singing fountains, or having a drink in an art cafeteria.

Top events all-year-round: Plovdiv regularly hosts high-level events set in various areas, which venues include some cultural sites.

Various opportunities: Plovdiv is a paradise for each and every wine-lover and some of the world top events in this branch are held here. It also has one of the longest pedestrian streets in Europe, which is a perfect place to indulge in some retail therapy. With its central location, Plovdiv is perfect for day-trips.”

Photos presenting the nomination of Bulgaria's Plovdiv as one of Europe's top 20 destinations for 2016. Photos: European Best Destinations

Photos presenting the nomination of Bulgaria’s Plovdiv as one of Europe’s top 20 destinations for 2016. Photos: European Best Destinations

Plovdiv 3Learn more about the archaeology and history of Bulgaria’s Plovdiv in the Background Infonotes below.

Background Infonotes:

The history of the southern Bulgarian city of Plovdiv – often dubbed the oldest city in Europe – began with the human settlement on the ancient hill of Nebet Tepe (“tepe” is the Turkish word for “hill”), one of the seven historic hills where Plovdiv was founded and developed in prehistoric and ancient times.

The hills, or “tepeta”, are still known today by their Turkish names from the Ottoman period. Out of all of them, Nebet Tepe has the earliest traces of civilized life dating back to the 6th millennium BC, which makes Plovdiv 8,000 years old, and allegedly the oldest city in Europe. Around 1200 BC, the prehistoric settlement on Nebet Tepe was transformed into the Ancient Thracian city of Eumolpia, also known as Pulpudeva, inhabited by the powerful Ancient Thracian tribe Bessi.

During the Early Antiquity period Eumolpia / Pulpudeva grew to encompass the two nearby hills (Dzhambaz Tepe and Taxim Tepe known together with Nebet Tepe as “The Three Hills”) as well, with the oldest settlement on Nebet Tepe becoming the citadel of the city acropolis.

In 342 BC, the Thracian city of Eumolpia / Pulpudeva was conquered by King Philip II of Macedon renaming the city to Philippopolis. Philippopolis developed further as a major urban center during the Hellenistic period after the collapse of Alexander the Great’s Empire.

In the 1st century AD, more precisely in 46 AD, Ancient Thrace was annexed by the Roman Empire making Philippopolis the major city in the Ancient Roman province of Thrace. This is the period when the city expanded further into the plain around The Three Hills which is why it was also known as Trimontium (“the three hills”).

Because of the large scale public construction works during the period of Ancient Rome’s Flavian Dynasty (69-96 AD, including Emperor Vespasian (r. 69-79 AD), Emperor Titus (r. 79-81 AD), Emperor Domitian (r. 81-96 AD)), Plovdiv was also known as Flavia Philippopolis.

Later emerging as a major Early Byzantine city, Plovdiv was conquered for the First Bulgarian Empire (632/680 – 1018 AD) by Khan (or Kanas) Krum (r. 803-814 AD) in 812 AD but was permanently incorporated into Bulgaria under Khan (or Kanas) Malamir (r. 831-836 AD) in 834 AD.

In Old Bulgarian (also known today as Church Slavonic), the city’s name was recorded as Papaldin, Paldin, and Pladin, and later Plavdiv from which today’s name Plovdiv originated. The Nebet Tepe fortress continued to be an important part of the city’s fortifications until the 14th century when the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396 AD) was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. During the period the Ottoman yoke (1396-1878/1912) when Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire, Plovdiv was called Filibe in Turkish.

Today the prehistoric, ancient, and medieval settlement on Nebet Tepe has been recognized as the Nebet Tepe Archaeological Preserve. Some of the unique archaeological finds from Nebet Tepe include an ancient secret tunnel which, according to legends, was used by Apostle Paul (even though it has been dated to the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I the Great (r. 527-565 AD)) and large scale water storage reservoirs used during sieges, one of them with an impressive volume of 300,000 liters. Still preserved today are parts of the western fortress wall with a rectangular tower from the Antiquity period.