Plovdiv is not only one of the most ancient cities on the territory of Bulgaria, but also in Europe. Although Plovdiv went through various metamorphoses and changes, continues to be the eternal town of Bulgaria. No match can be found for the atmosphere of the city, which embraces the visitor at first glimpse, due to its centuries-old life and numerous cultural traces.
The archaeologists have found traces and objects placing the city’s beginnings at around roughly 6000 BC. The first written record was describing a Thracian fortified settlement developed on the territory of the Three Hills – Nebet, Taksim and Dzhambaz hills with the name Eumolpias.
In the 4th century BC Plovdiv was conquered by Phillip of Macedonia. He gave the city one of its most popular names – Philippopolis. The town also had the chance to shine and make a name as a direct participant in the formation of Hellenistic culture. Then the Romans took it and rename it to Trimontium (city of Three hills). Trimontium was the largest and most important centre in the province of Thrace and was an important crossroad for the Roman Empire.
After the split of the Roman Empire, the city was part of the remaining Eastern Roman Empire, later known as Byzantium. By the end of the 6th century the Slavs changed the ethnic background of the region entirely. With the establishment of Bulgaria in 681 Plovdiv became an important fortress on the border of the Byzantine Empire.
The Ottomans who invaded in 1364 and gradually conquered Bulgaria, name the city Filibe.
Liberation from the Ottomans came in 1878 but then the newly freed Bulgaria was divided into 7 separate parts. Of them 5 were given to neighboring countries. The remaining large part was split in two – Principality of Bulgaria with capital Sofia and Eastern Roumelia with capital Plovdiv.
Meanwhile was formed the Secret Bulgarian Central Revolutionary Committee planned to bring together the separated regions of the country. On 6 September 1885 the city was conquered and Eastern Rumelia was again united with the Principality of Bulgaria. This memorable date set the beginning of the new history of the country and is celebrated every year as as the Unification Day and the Day of Plovdiv.
After the unification, Plovdiv remained the second largest and economically important city after Sofia to the present day. The city is a large industrial and commercial center. The famous Plovdiv International Fair, is conducted here. The town hosts theater, dancing and movie festivals, and the numerous archaeological finds of Thracian, Roman and Byzantine times not only recall the glorious past, but are successfully combined with the modern architecture of the city. One of the most famous landmarks is the architectural complex of the Ancient Plovdiv, where many beautiful houses from the times of the Bulgarian Revival had been preserved and restored. On one of the city ends lies a rowing base of Olympic size, which offers great conditions for rowing, running and cycling. In the past there were seven hills in Plovdiv. Nowadays, only six of them are preserved. Markovo hill was turned into pavement for the cobble stoned streets. Those, who decide to count the hills of Plovdiv, should remember that the elevation of the Ancient Plovdiv consists of three hills.