Plovdiv (Bulgaria)

Plovdiv (Bulgarian: Пловдив) is the second-largest city in Bulgaria with a population of 381,738. Known in the West for most of its history by the Greek name Philippopolis, it was originally a Thracian settlement before becoming a major Roman city. In the Middle Ages, it retained its strategic regional importance, changing hands between the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires. It came under Ottoman rule in the 14th century. In 1878, Plovdiv was made the capital of the autonomous Ottoman region of Eastern Rumelia; in 1885, it became part of Bulgaria with the unification of that region and the Principality of Bulgaria.

Plovdiv is situated in the southern part of the Plovdiv Plain on the two banks of the Maritsa River. The city has historically developed on seven hills, some of which are 250 m high. Because of these seven hills, Plovdiv is often referred to in Bulgaria as „The City of the Seven Hills”.

The Slavs had fully settled in the area by the middle of the 6th century and changed the ethnic proportions of the region. With the establishment of Bulgaria in 681 Philipopolis became an important border fortress of the Byzantine Empire. It was captured by Khan Krum in 812 but the region was fully incorporated into the Bulgarian Empire in 834 during the reign of Khan Malamir. It remained in Bulgarian hands for a relatively short time until it was reconquered by the Byzantine Empire in 855-856.

Under tsar Simeon the Great (893–927) the city and most of the Byzantine possessions in the Balkans were conquered by the Bulgarian Empire. The city remained in Bulgarian hands under Simeon’s son, Peter I (927–969).

In 970 the Asian army of the Byzantine Empire under the eunuch Peter was destroyed by the Bulgarians near Plovdiv. The city again came to be known as Philippopolis and became Byzantine in character.

Byzantine rule was succeeded by that of the Latin Empire in 1204, and there were two short interregnum periods as the city was twice occupied by Kaloyan of Bulgaria before his death in 1207. In 1208 Kaloyan’s successor Boril was defeated by the Latins in the Battle of Philippopolis.

Under Latin rule, Plovdiv was the capital of the Duchy of Philippopolis governed by Renier de Trit, and later on by Gerard de Strem. Bulgarian rule was reestablished during the reign of Ivan Asen II between 1225 and 1229. In 1263 Plovdiv was conquered by the restored Byzantine Empire and remained in Byzantine hands until it was re-conquered by George Terter II of Bulgaria in 1322. Byzantine rule was restored once again in 1323, but in 1344 the city and eight other cities were surrendered to Bulgaria by the regency for John V Palaiologos as the price for Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria‘s support in the Byzantine civil war.

In 1364 the Ottoman Turks under Lala Shakhin Pasha seized Plovdiv. The Turks called the city Filibe. It was the capital of Rumelia until 1382 when the Ottomans captured Sofia which became the main city of the province.

Plovdiv survived as one of the major cultural centers for Bulgarian culture and tradition. The name Plovdiv first appeared around that time and is derived from the city’s Thracian name Pulpudeva (assumed to be a translation of Philippopolis, from Pulpu = Philippou and deva = city), which was rendered by the Slavs first as Pəldin (Пълдин) or Pləvdin.

The city was liberated from the Ottomans during the Battle of Philippopolis in 1878.

The climate is temperate with mild influence from the Mediterranean Sea and a huge temperature range between summers and winters. Summers are generally extremely hot and dry. On average the city experiences 38 days of temperatures over 30c and 7 days of over 40c a year. Winters are cold, but can sometimes be accompanied by a Mediterranean influence, which can on occasions result in huge temperature jumps within just a few days.

Tourist attractions:

The Rennaissance town of Old Plovdiv was built during the 19th century. Today it has survived as a unique architectual ensemble on the three hills. Its houses reveal the remarkable urban culture of Bulgarian builders, as well as their sense of harmony and their creative power. The brilliant architecture with its noble, stylish simplicity could be called rightfully the Baroque of Plovdiv.

The Church of the Holy Mother of God (Bulgarian: Църква Света Богородица) is a Bulgarian National Revival church in Bulgaria‘s second largest city Plovdiv. The church is situated in the Old town of Plovdiv on one of the city’s seven hills, Nebet Tepe.

A small church existed on that place since the 9th century. The church was renovated in 1186 by the bishop of Plovdiv Constantine Pantehi and it became part of a monastery. Both the church and the monastery were destroyed when the Ottoman Turks conquered the city in 1371 during the course of the Bulgarian-Ottoman Wars. The current edifice was constructed in 1844 as the main church of the city.

The Plovdiv Roman Stadium is among the largest Roman structures in the Balkans. The massive edifice is 180 long and had a capacity of over 30,000. It is believed that it was built during the reign of Septimus Severus (193-211).

Today, the stadium is located in the centre of the city, under the main trade centres. Only part of the edifice can be observed from the Dzhumayata Square, the larger portion is still underground. Further excavation would be very difficult and costly.

The stadium is one of the many Roman remains in the city which include the best preserved Theatre in the Balkans; the ruins of the Agora; a second theatre; remains of an aqueduct, temples and villas with some magnificent frescoes.

The Plovdiv Antique theater is situated in the city center of Plovdiv. The Theater stands between the south-western slope of the Dzhambaz Tepe and the Taxim tepe hill within the old town, and is a major tourist attraction for travelers coming to the area.

The theatre was built in the 2nd century AD under the orders of Trajan the Roman Emperor at this time, and is one of the many surviving Roman constructions in Bulgaria today.

Built with around 7,000 seats, each section of seating had the names of the city quarters engraved on the benches so the citizens at the time knew where they were to sit. The theater was damaged in the 5th century AD by Atilla the Hun.

The theater was only found in the early 1970s due to a landslide, this caused a major archeological excavation, including the removal of 15 feet of earth covering what was left hidden by the landslide.

„Şahabettin İmaret” Mosque, built in XVth century.

The Cathedral of St Louis (Bulgarian: катедрала „Свети Лудвиг“, katedrala „Sveti Ludvig“) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The cathedral was constructed in the 1850s, during the time of vicar Andrea Canova. The first organ in Bulgaria was installed in the cathedral in 1861, later substituted with a newer and larger one. A fire severely damaged the cathedral in 1931 and destroyed the wood-carved ceiling. The cathedral was reconstructed, with Krastyo Stamatov creating the frescoes and Kamen Petkov being the main architect. The cathedral was once again inaugurated on 8 May 1932. Architecturally, it features an eclectic combination of Neoclassicism and Neo-Baroque.

The belfry was built in 1898 and was equipped with five bells cast in the German city of Bochum, a gift from Pope Leo XIII. A new 12-stop pipe organ was installed in 1991.

Armenian Apostolic Church St. George (Kevork) in the Old Town.

Northern district (Bulgarian: Район Северен) is a district of Plovdiv. The district is located on the northern bank of theMaritsa river.

The Archaeological Museum was established in 1882 as a People’s Museum of Eastern Rumelia. In 1928 the museum was moved to a 19th century edifice on Saedinenie Square built by the famous Plovdiv architect Josef Schnitter. The museum contains a rich collection of Thracian art. The three sections „Prehistory”, „Antiquity” and „Middle Ages” contain precious artifacts from the Paleolithic to the early Ottoman period (15th-16th centuries). The famous Panagyurishte treasure is part of the museum’s collection.(Thracian treasure. It is dated from the 4th-3rd centuries BC, and is thought to have been used as a royal ceremonial set by the Thracian king Seuthes III)

The museum is situated at the north-eastern side of „Saedinenie” square, which is located to the north of „6 Septemvri” avenue, which crosses the town West-East. You can get to the Museum by bus № 20 from the Central railway station in Plovdiv or by bus № 99 from „Philipovo” railway station.

Source: Wikipedia

Travel journal

 

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Mogoșoaia (România)

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Mogoşoaia is a commune in the west of Ilfov County, Romania, composed of a single village, Mogoşoaia.

Population (2002)[1] 5,232

Mogoşoaia Palace is situated about 10 kilometres from Bucharest, Romania. It was built between 1698-1702 by Constantin Brâncoveanu in what is called the Romanian Renaissance style or Brâncovenesc style, a combination of Venetian and Ottoman elements. The palace bears the name of the widow of the Romanian boyar Mogoş, who owned the land it was built on. The Palace was to a large extent rebuilt in the 1920s by Marthe Bibesco.

The Palace had been given to Marthe by her husband, George Bibesco, who later also deeded the land to her. She spent all her wealth from the many books she wrote in its reconstruction and it became the meeting place for politicians and international high society, a quiet retreat during the growing turmoil of the 1930s. Prince George died in 1941 and was buried in the small, white 1688 church on the grounds of the Palace.

The Palace is now a popular tourist destination, but although the grounds and gardens are beautiful, the interior of the palace itself is under reconstruction and presently houses a museum and art gallery. (Muzeul de Artă Brâncovenească)

During the second world war, Prince Antoine Bibesco (a cousin of George Bibesco) and his wife Elizabeth Bibesco, refused to flee the country despite their outspoken anti-fascist opinions. Elizabeth spent considerable time during these years visiting Marthe Bibesco at Mogosoaia and when Elizabeth died of pneumonia on April 7, 1945 she was buried in the Bibesco family vault on the grounds of Mogoşoaia. It may surprise visitors to see her grave here with its poignant epitaph in English – „My soul has gained the freedom of the night.” Neither Elizabeth Bibesco’s husband, Antoine, nor George Bibesco’s wife, Marthe, could be buried beside them, as they both died during the Communist regime.

In 2008 the Romanian gothic rock band Inopia produced a video of their song „Epitaph”, filmed entirely at Mogosoaia. The long medievalist composition is based on Elizabeth Bibesco’s epitaph.

In 2010 the Balkan Go Championship took place at Mogosoaia, being broadcasted by EuroGoTV to hundreds of fans watching the stream and following the games on the KGS Go Server.

Source: Wikipedia

Travel journal

It was this type of spontan short trip. 🙂 We were planning to go home and we arrived at  almost 10 km of Bucharest. We went at the north station and firstlly I said to take any train in any direction, but after „family council” 🙂 we stand the verdict: destination Mogosoaia. The train ticket was pretty cheap, around 1.5 lei, 14 kilometres, time: almost half an our.

With smiles on our faces we went in the train. It was an old dirty personal train, we were hanged on the window making photos and films. It came the porter, a strange man that was kidding with everyone, I thought he was drunk :D. He told us that it’s not so easy to arrive by train at Brancoveanu’s castle, because it’s pretty far. And now the adventure it’s starting 🙂

At last we saw the writing on the table : MOGOSOAIA. It was almost free field beside the train station. We asked about the castle and we found out that we have to go by foot something like two kilometres. It was a dusted country road and, as a bonus, a hot autumn day. It was a little bit difficil to arrive because we didn’t know exactly the road and nobody was there. We found a house with a man that was drinking at the enter 🙂 He and his wife told us how to arrive and we recharged our water reserve. 🙂 After almost an hour of walk and ask people about the road, we finally arrived, of course being exhausted.

We enter the park, we passed after the fortificated walls, and here we are, in the front of the castle. It wasn’t as I was expecting… It’s a small and coquettish building with 18th century perfume :). The complex includes also a church and Martha Bibescu’s hot houses plus other buildings for guest.

After we explored carefully every corner, after we made a hundred photos, we went back searching a easier way to Bucharest. This time we choose a mini-bus. It was full of all types of people, but we had the big advantage to arrive fast, without dusted roads, hot sun and foot-walk. It was more expensive then the train was, we paid for one ticket 3.5 lei. It doesn’t matter, it matter that we were back exhausted and everything we wanted was a good sleep 🙂

You can find this building outside the Palace, just near to the entrance

The guide panel with the complex

The main alley

A small part from the garden yard in the front of the watch-tower

An old icon on the entrance wall of the St.George's Church

The painting from the upper part of the front verandah

Saint George depicted as the patron of the church

The main entrance through the watch-tower (Gate House)

The watch-tower, raised before 1702, when the palace was finish. The watch-tower was restored in 1930 and in 1980

Saint George Church, erected by Constantine Brâncoveanu in 1688 which was decorated with frescoes in 1705

Inscription

Cross with two-headed eagle symbol of the Cantacuzinos

The outside garden

The wall and the Brancovan kitchen (cuhnia)

The lake behind Palace

The Room of the Princely Council

The Conference Center (a former d'Elchingen villa) - (17th century, rebuilt 1927 - 1936), it currently hosts 2 conference rooms (having a capacity of 50 places, respectively 75 places) a restaurant - 120 places and 16 residence rooms - 25 places.

Cuhnia and the Gate House from the watch-tower

In the watch-tower

Watch-tower from The Court of Honor

The Conference Center again

Cuhnia - the former princely kitchen is now a place for exhibitions. It was built between 1681 and 1702. Its ventilation furnaces were restored in 1965

The N. Bibescu Hot Houses - a French studio - 1890. Currently, they are used for growing flowers and as an art studio for children. Restored in 2002

A Toyota jeep near the The Conference Center 🙂

The Palace - finished in September 1702 by Constantin Brancoveanu for his second son, Ştefan. Currently, the Palace is the host of the Aula Tradition Museum (Founded in 2000), namely the donation made by Liana and Dan Nasta, a compared art collection comprising approximately 300 items, its ground floor rooms and the annexes thus hosting annually approximately 10 temporary, thematic or contemporary art exhibitions.

The Stairs of Honour inside of Palace. The space is dedicated to Voivode Constantin Basarab Brancoveanu /Constantin Bessarab the Brancovan/ (1688-1714), the author of a synthesis, in a Romanian tradition spirit, of Eastern andWestern origin elements. The ruler is depicted in Varini Favorini's engraving, as Prince of the Holy (Western) Roman Empire and of theWallachians, and in that of Pietro Uberti's, made after the voivode and his four sons had been beheaded in Constantinople. The coats of arms of both the Basarabs /Bessarabs/ and Cantacuzinos /Cantacuzenes/, the Persian "shah-in-shah" carpet, decorated with royal symbols, complete the display.

The Room of Kilims. The kilims are hand-woven textiles used as wall hangings and floor or furniture coverings. These flat weaves are made in a very similar technique as the West-European tapestries - that is why they have often adorned Romanian Lands' palaces and manors. As for the kilims decorating small-town and country houses, they are woven by hostesses themselves. Martha Bibescu ordered that the two-room apartment having once belonged to Constantin Brancoveanu's wife be changed into what she called "The Throne Hall." It is here that the Wallachian (Oltenian included) and Moldavian kilims are displayed, each geographic area preserving its design and composition originality. Romanian kilims use for wool colouring vegetal dyes.

The main lobby from which you can exit in the balcony from the lake

The Room of the Princely Chancellery. This place, dedicated to inner and foreign affairs, to recording and keeping important documents, statal transactions and concluded treaties, a seat for envoys and interpreters, houses maps, official papers (deeds) and chancellery insignia. The two gospels, the tryodion and the coats of arms with Christian symbols are placed in the vicinity of engravings showing the main actors of the Ottoman Porte at the beginning of the 18th century. A velvet table covering embroidered with voivode's monogram in Cyrillic letters and, on the right wall, the portrait of Constantin Brancoveanu's family, Nora Steriadi's textile version made after the votive picture at Hurezi Monastery, try to render the atmosphere. In Martha Bibescu's time, this ceremonial space was used as concert hall and housed formal parties and fastuous balls.

The entrance into The Room of the Princely Chancellery

The inside stairs

Voivode's throne is replaced by an 1860 princely armchair taken from the church of Potlogi. Del Chiaro speaks about the three steps of the throne in his History of Wallachia. The back of the armchair, which is gilt-thread embroidered, shows the princely eagle framed by two laurel branches. Chair sovereignty is underlined by the scarlet hangings bearing country's Arms in a golded border.

Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria)

Click on the map

Click on the map

Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgarian: Велико Търново, sometimes transliterated as Veliko Turnovo) is a city in north central Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Veliko Tarnovo Province.

Often referred to as the „City of the Tsars„, Veliko Turnovo is located on the Yantra River.

Source: Wikipedia

The map of the mediaeval stronghold from Tarnovo (Tsarevets - Bulgarian: Царевец)

The map of the mediaeval stronghold from Tarnovo (Tsarevets - Bulgarian: Царевец)

The entrance to Tsarevets

The entrance to Tsarevets

Yantra river (Янтра)

Yantra river (Янтра)

The mist over the hills

The mist over the hills

The entrance to the stronghold

The entrance to the stronghold

The road to the city

The road to the city

A nice place where you can stop your jurney to the top of the hill

A nice place where you can stop your jurney to the top of the hill

Bulgarian flag

Bulgarian flag

Inside of Patriarchate Church

Inside of Patriarchate Church

Fresco inside of church, on the top of the hill,in stronghold

Fresco inside of church,on the top of the hill,in stronghold

Other painting

Other painting

Candelabrum

Candelabrum

Other paintings

Other paintings

"The mercy's box" :) You can see some Leva and Romanian Lei

"The mercy's box" 🙂 You can see some Leva and Romanian Lei 😀 (The place is visit by thousands of Romanians because the Asen dinasty was vlach/romanian)

A beautiful view from the top of the hill

A beautiful view from the top of the hill

The same panorama

The same panorama

A misty panorama over the hills and Yantra river

A misty panorama over the hills and Yantra river

The grave of the vlach emperor Kaloyan the Romanslayer aka "Ioannitsa" (1197–1207)

The grave of the vlach emperor Kaloyan the Romanslayer aka "Ioannitsa" (1197–1207)

The SS. Forty Martyrs Church (Bulgarian: църква "Св. Четиридесет мъченици", tsarkva "Sv. Chetirideset machenitsi") is a medieval Eastern Orthodox church constructed in 1230 in the town of Veliko Tarnovo

The SS. Forty Martyrs Church (Bulgarian: църква "Св. Четиридесет мъченици", tsarkva "Sv. Chetirideset machenitsi") is a medieval Eastern Orthodox church constructed in 1230 in the town of Veliko Tarnovo

Communist blocks from the time of Todor Zhivkov

Communist blocks from the time of Todor Zhivkov