Plovdiv Old town
One of Europe’s most ancient cities, older than Athens, Rome and Constantinople, part of the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage. The Ancient Plovdiv includes the very old part of the town, which had preserved over the centuries its integrity as a historical center with a homogeneous structure and remarkable historical stratification. The accumulated over the Three Hills layers contain some valuable proofs about the millenary development – marks from the Antiquity, Thracian, Hellenic and Roman cultures, from the Middle Ages, the Ottoman period, the Bulgarian National revival and from the XX century.
The earliest settlements in Plovdiv are dated back to 4000 BC. The site was first settled by Thracians, later expanded by Philip II of Macedon and the Roman empire. As the town expanded, one of the three hills Nebet Tepe became the citadel of the town’s acropolis. There are remains of a fortress walls, towers, and a postern from the time of Justinian leading down to the Maritsa river.
The Roman theatre of Plovdiv is one of the world’s best-preserved ancient theatres. It was constructed during Roman Emperor Trajan (reigned 98–117 AD), it can host between 5000 and 7000 spectators and it is currently in use. The theatre is one of the most valuable monuments from the ancient city of Philippopolis.
isar Kapia is a medieval gate in Plovdiv’s old town built in the 11th century AD over the foundations of a gate from Roman times (2nd century AD). Hisar Kapia is one of the three entrances to the acropolis of ancient Philippopolis. During the rule of the Ottoman empire revival houses were embedded in the remains of the old stone walls around the gate.
The Eastern gate of Philippopolis is one of the three entrances of the ancient city that have been discovered in Plovdiv. The gate was built on the main road to Byzantium and the Bosphorus. Initially constructed in the 2nd century AD during the reign of Hadrian, the gate and the complex around it were completely rebuilt in the 4th century, and partially repaired in the 5th century. The gate had one wide central entrance and two narrower side entrances. Two watch towers were built on both sides of the gate for protection during attacks.
One of the oldest towns in Europe. Situated on a rocky peninsula on the Black Sea, the more than 3,000-year-old site of Nessebar was originally a Thracian settlement (Menebria). At the beginning of the 6th century BC, the city became a Greek colony. The city’s remains, which date mostly from the Hellenistic period, include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, an agora and a wall from the Thracian fortifications. Among other monuments, the Stara Mitropolia Basilica and the fortress date from the Middle Ages, when this was one of the most important Byzantine towns on the west coast of the Black Sea. Wooden houses built in the 19th century are typical of the Black Sea architecture of the period. The city is declared by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site with churches from the 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th centuries.
Ancient Sozopol & The Remains of St. John The Baptist
Sozopol has been established in 610 BC as a Hellenic colony of Miletus Greeks named Apollonia Pontica. The urban structure has been built during the centuries and reveals the stages of development of the human civilization, bears the marks of inherited cultural layers and continuity and turns Sozopol into a real museum town.
Totally unprecedented, the discovery of relics of St. John the Baptist took first place in the rankings. The precious relic was brought to worship in the temple-monument St. Al. Nevski in Sofia, and attracted thousands of pilgrims. It was later returned to Sozopol and is nowadays kept in the temple St. Cyril and St. Methodius in the seaside town. Old Sozopol shared first place in the rankings with the relics of St. John the Baptist.
The architectural and archaeological reserve Ancient Sozopol preserves valuable cultural monuments from various periods of the town’s millennial history – the remains of fortified walls, medieval churches, and Bulgarian Revival houses.
The town is recognized as a national architectural reserve of international importance and as an international tourist destination.
Many tourists coming to Bulgaria have heard about Koprivshtica and are eager to visit this true museum town. And for a reason – this is the town where you can see the most well-preserved houses, churches, streets, bridges and atmosphere of Bulgaria from the 19th century. Strolling on the streets you feel like getting transferred to a completely different time. And it’s not only the buildings with magnificent wooden ceilings and decorations and vivid colours that impress – it’s also the beautiful nature all around.
Arbanasi is known for the rich history and large number of historical monuments, such as 17th- and 18th-century churches and examples of Bulgarian National Revival architecture, which have turned it into a popular tourist destination.
Nearly 90 of Arbanasi’s churches, monasteries and mansions are state-protected cultural monuments. Wealthy nobles who resided here during the Bulgarian Revival period have left behind heritage houses, now converted into museums or guesthouses.
The Church of the Nativity is frescoes masterpiece. Once you step inside you will see its absolutely stunning wall paintings, including “the wheel of life”.
This church was the first in the entire village to be decorated like this and, as is so often the case with Bulgarian churches, the frescoes were applied in stages. The oldest layer was dated back to the 17th century and the building itself was erected in the 15th century.