@ Plovdiv (Пловдив)

On the way to the mountains of the Balkan we stopped at Plovdiv – the second largest city after Sofia and the cultural capital of Bulgaria – this year even the European Capital of Culture!

We had found a little parking just at the beginning of the main shopping street of Plovdiv, so we first wandered along this beautiful street lined with lime trees where a market was taking place with different craft stalls.

There is evidence of habitation in Plovdiv dating back to the 6th millennium BC, when the first Neolithic settlements were established. It has been considered to be one of the oldest cities in the world.

During most of its recorded history, Plovdiv was known in the West by the name Philippopolis. The city was originally a Thracian settlement and subsequently was invaded by Persians, Greeks, Celts, Romans, Goths, Huns, Bulgars, Slavs, Rus people, Crusaders, and Turks. As in most cities, the Romans left still visible landmarks, like the theatre and the stadium.

The northern curved part of the stadium is visible today. In total, it was 240 m long and 50 m wide and could seat up to 30,000 spectators.

The Roman theatre is one of the world’s best-preserved ancient theatres. It was constructed in the 90s of the 1st century AD. The theatre can host between 5000 and 7000 spectators, and it is currently in use. At the end of the 4th century, a large part of the theatre was destroyed (by either fire or earthquake). Only in the late 1960s, the ruins were found again during archaeological excavations.

A short lunch break

The Old Town of Plovdiv is known for its Bulgarian Renaissance architectural style. Almost every house has its characteristic exterior and interior decoration.

Flower of the Day
Coffee break
After a day in Plovdiv, we were driving along the Maritsa River and into the Rhodopes to Batak.
Maritsa River
The road into the Rhodopes is open
Our camping at the lake at 1.100m

Wild horses graze around the lake. During the night they wandered through our camping area, rubbing themselves against our car so that we felt it shake and even left a lot of manure around us.

Morning Yoga at the lake – what a pleasure!

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