Plovdiv is a large city, with a host of historical sites and history going back deep into antiquity. It is known for its area diversity, as it lies in the Thracian plain, but there are several hills incorporated in its area. The nearby mountains create a majestic backdrop.
Besides exploring the Roman monuments, tourists also marvel at the Old City complex. The recent past, in the Bulgarian Revival period, was a time of building typical houses which were made of wooden skeletons filled with adobes, unburnt bricks. The bases were made of stone.
The typical Plovdiv houses in the 17century were the result of the improved financial status of citizens. They were of two types, symmetrical and non-symmetrical. Wealthier citizens had symmetrical houses. Houses were covered with paintings within and without. Inside, ceilings were adorned with woodcarvings, and in yards the fountains had marble tiles.
Along with the significant historical monuments, Plovdiv’s old style houses are a must to see. In Plovdiv you should also definitely visit the sights you will find in the list bellow. There you will also find info about the walking time from our guest house Kuker INN to each Plovdiv Landmark. You can book a tour with a local guide in Plovdiv at the reception via email firstname.lastname@example.org
* If you want to get some more information from a local tour guide in Plovdiv we can also organize Plovdiv city tour. Ask on reception for more info.
Kapana (The Trap) Art District
In Plovdiv’s centre, the Kapana area is located, a maze of small streets with artisans’ workshops. It was created as an artisans’ area. In the vicinity are the Djumaya mosque, the Roman stadium, the Old City area. The name, meaning “trap”, was given in the 15th century by two narrow market spaces there.
Kapana used to be the trading heart of Plovdiv, with 880 workshops in 1652. Even international bargains were made in the area.
In the Kapana, the Kurshum Han inn was located, as well as the large bezisten, which means “roofed market”. The bezisten was a rectangular building where the merchants stored their goods.
Nowadays street names indicate where the different workshops used to be.
Nowadays Kapana is a centre for artists and the venue for several festivals since 2014, and the renovation of about 10 buildings. One Design Week, One Architecture Week, One Dance Week are among the festivals held.
- Walking Distance from Guest house Kuker INN to Kapana: 5 min
The Plovdiv Old Town (19th Century)
The Plovdiv’s main street was formed in the 19th Century It was a continuation of the Trading Street, and started from the Djumaya square and continued to the Tsar Simeon garden. The buildings lining it were constructed in the end of the 19th century and in the first decades of the 20th century. European architects and Bulgarian architects who graduated abroad contributed their designs.
The ensemble of buildings show the diversity in 19th century European architecture: neo baroque, neo Renaissance, neo classicism, which were replaced by the secession style in the 20th century.
The main street was named Prince Alexander I, in memory of the ruler who reigned when the Unification took place.
- Walking Distance from Guest house Kuker INN to Plovdiv Old Town: 11 min
The Ethnographic Museum
There, the traditional Revival period culture is shown of Thrace, the Rhodopes and the Sredna Gora areas. Livelihoods presented comprise agriculture and animal breeding, which were the main ones, as well as pottery, coppersmith, ironmonger, homespun tailoring and some other ones.
A goldsmith’s workship with its whole inventory is presented, as well as decorations and church items, traditional folk costumes, carpets, musical instrument, items used in rituals. Also shown is an exhibition of old city life items.
- Walking Distance from Guest house Kuker INN to the Ethnographic museum: 13 min
The Balabanov House
This house, one of the emblems of the Old City, belonged first to a rich Plovdiv merchant. Then it was bought by another person, and its last owner was Balabanov, a timber trader. In 1935 the house was brought down, but about 40 years later it was rebuilt, thanks to architect Hristo Peev who studied Plovdiv’s Revival houses in depth.
The Balabanov House is symmetrical, influenced by wealthy houses by the Bosporus. It features lavish woodcarving on the ceilings, luxury furniture in different styles, and also culture and art. Exhibitions, chamber concerts, meetings with people of art are held there.
- Walking Distance from Guest house Kuker INN to the Balabanov house: 11 min
The Saints Konstantin and Elena Church
The church was built in 1832, in the place of an older church. It was lavishly decorated by eminent icon painters, such as Zahary Zograf, Dimitar Zograf, Stanislav Dospevsky. The belfry rising in the northwest area of the yard probably dates from the 60s of the 19th century.
The church is located in the Old City, in the vicinity of the east gate of the ancient acropolis. Under its altar, a Middle Age room, probably a crypt, is located. Nearby, the remains of a church dating from 13-14th centuries have been uncovered.
Since 1954 the Saints Konstantin and Elena Church has been a cultural monument. It was entirely renovated in the period 1978-1989.
- Walking Distance from Guest house Kuker INN to the Saints Konstantin and Elena Church: 12 min
The Church of the Holy Mother of God
The church is called Assumption of the Holy Mother, and celebrates its holiday on 15 August, accordingly. It is 32 metres long and 17 metres wide, built in the baroque style. The belfry, built in 1881, is in three stores, and has four bells
The iconostasis was probably made by the woodcarvers Dimitar and Anton Stanishev. It is in empire style, and features roses, grapes, leaves, daisies, and other plants.
The main icons are those of Jesus and the Holy Mother, made in around 1912. They replaced two works of Stanislav Dospevski. His Holy Mother with the baby Jesus is still in the church.
- Walking Distance from Guest house Kuker INN to the Church of the Holy Mother of God: 10 min
The Ancient Theatre
The seats are oriented towards south. The external diameter of the semi-circle is 82 metres. The open spectator area has 28 concentric rows of marble seats. The stage has a horseshoe form with a diameter of 27 metres.
The theatre’s construction is specific, because probably part of gladiator battles with animals, common in those times, were held there. Traces have been discovered of some safety facilities, near the stage, in front of the first row and the stairs. Probably these additions were constructed before emperor Karakala’s visit to Philipopolis in 214.
Like in other Roman theatres, the honorary spectators’ seats bore inscriptions. Other inscriptions found there show the theatre was also used by the Thracians to hold their provincial gatherings.
- Walking Distance from Guest house Kuker INN to the Ancient Theater: 14 min
The Ancient Stadium
The ancient stadium, built in the beginning of the second century, was 240 metres long and 50 metres wide. It could accommodate 30,000 spectators, most of whom came specially to attend the games. There were 14 rows of seats. The seats were made of monolithic marble blocks adorned by a lion paw image. The first row’s facial part was lined with marble plates 1.8 metres high. The honorary seats were with names inscribed, some bore Greek inscriptions, so the persons who sat there were of high social status.
The central entrance is formed by pylons lined with marble pilasters. On the pilasters, Hermes busts were seen, with palm branches in vases over them. Next to them, Heracles’s paraphernalia were shown: a lion’s skin, a mace, and a quiver with arrows.
On the Djumaya square, the north, arc shaped part of the stadium is located. An entrance connected the track with a subterranean passage. Over the entrance arc is a box. In the north part of the corridor, part of the fortress wall was uncovered. In the fourth century, an ancient aqueduct crossed the area.
- Walking Distance from Guest house Kuker INN to the Ancient Stadium: 6 min
In ancient Plovdiv, the Forum, also called Agora, was the administrative, and religious centre. The complex spreads on 20 hectares, with 11 hectares of open area, and is the largest of this type in Bulgaria. Built during emperor Vespasian’s reign in the first century, it was finished in the second century.
All the main streets in that period led to the Forum. In the vicinity, there were important buildings, like the Odeon, the city library, the treasury, etc. Visitors can see about 11 hectares with restored columns and rows with seats – the Odeon. The remainder lies under the modern buildings which rise around.
The ancient city’s centre and its main street coincide in location with modern Plovdiv’s centre. On the north it borders the main post office, and on the east the tourist information centre. On the north, it borders the Odeon, and a car subway passes between them.
- Walking Distance from Guest house Kuker INN to the Forum: 14 min
The Djumaya Mosque
The exact year it was built is disputed, it was either constructed during Murad I’s reign, in the 14th century, or in the next, 15th century, during Murd II’s reign. Owing to the sultan’s name it was first named Muradiye, as the sultan financed its building, later it acquired the name of Ulu Djumaya mosque, which means “Main Friday Mosque”.
The mosque, having a size of 40 by 30 meters, is in the centre of the pedestrian zone, west of Plovdiv’s Old City area. Two brick layers alternate with one stone layer. There are bricks, too, vertically between the stone blocks. This masonry is typical of the Balkan area before the Ottomans came. So the builders were probably locals, Christians. The nine domes are supported by four pillars. Earlier, under the middle dome, there was a cement fountain in the courtyard.
- Walking Distance from Guest house Kuker INN to the Djumaya Mosque: 6 min
The Main Pedestrian Street
Plovdiv’s main street is the main pedestrian area where both the citizens and tourists can visit theatres, galleries, cafes, and also some of the city’s sights. Plovdiv is rightly famed as a city of artists, so it is worth visiting the galleries to see their works. Don’t miss to walk along this street which is 1.8 kilometres long and that is why it is the longest pedestrian street throughout Europe.
An interesting fact worth noting is that the main street lies on top of the ancient Roman stadium’s track. When walking along, it is a must to observe the houses, most of which are cultural monuments built in the beginning of the 20th century. One of them, the Molle Hotel, was built in 1911, based on a project by the Italian architect Pernigoni.
- Walking Distance from Guest house Kuker INN to the Pedestrian street: 3 min
One of the hills Plovdiv is famed for is Nebet Tepe. “Tepe” means “hill”. One of the reasons for visiting it are the remains of a prehistoric settlement. In the 12th century BC it expanded to form the ancient Thracian town of Evmolpia. It was one of the first city centers in Southeast Europe. The fortress walls surrounded a sanctuary and a palace. The oldest part of the fortress was built without using any mortar like substance, just by ordering large stone blocks. The people in the fortress took water from the Maritsa river. There are slightly visible steps cut into the steep rocks descending to the river.
The other reason to visit Nebet Tepe is the great view of the city. It spreads and shows off its landmarks
- Walking Distance from Guest house Kuker INN to the Nebet Tepe: 15 min
The Trakart museum is located in a unique residential building from the 3rd – 4th century AD with national and world importance. The buiding is located in the subway close to Kapana area, the Ancient Theater and the Bishop’s Basilica. The complex spreads over an area of about 1600 sq. M. but only half been excavated. In the museum you will find multicolored floor mosaics and a collection of ancient Thracian amulets.
- Walking Distance from Guest house Kuker INN to Trakart Museum: 10 min
The Small Basilica
In the Archaeological complex The Early Christian Basilica which dates from the second half of the 5th AD you can see a small chapel with total length of 20 meters. The temple was rich in architectural decoration – a marble colonnade between the ships, a marble altar, apulpit and a sinter. On the floor you will see a rich multicolored mosaic, which is the best preserved from the time of Ancient Philippopolitan.
- Walking Distance from Guest house Kuker INN to the Ancient Theater: 20 min