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

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Slănic Prahova (România)

Location of Slănic Prahova

Location of Slănic Prahova

Slănic is one of the 14 towns of Prahova County, Romania, historically and currently known as a salt extraction center, as well as a spa town, with salt lakes.

The town is famous for its salt lakes (or Băi): The Shepherd’s (Baia Baciului), The Green (Baia Verde) and The Red (Baia Roşie) Lakes, as well as for the Old (Salina Veche) and New (Salina Nouă) Salt Mines.

While salt is still being extracted from the New Salt Mine, the Old Mine is open to the public now, being used as a spa, amusement center and museum of the salt mining industry.

International contests of Indoor Model Aircraft Flying (Modellism) take place annually in the upper level (Mina Mihai) of the Old Mine.

Other worthwhile tourist objectives, all within easy reach for any untrained hiker, are a local water spring named The Cold Fountain (Fântâna Rece), the TV Relay Tower (Releu) beyond The Fir Forest (Pădurea de Brazi), Beacon’s Hill (Dealul cu Semn), The Salt Mountain (Muntele de Sare) with the legendary Bride’s Cave (Grota Miresei), now partially collapsed due to rain erosion, as well as The Green Rock (Piatra Verde) and The Colt’s Small Hill (Deluşorul Mânzului).

Salina Veche is an old salt mine, located in Slănic, Prahova County, Romania, just 100 km north of Bucharest.

The salt mine is closed for extraction purposes, but is open for visitors, featuring a microclimate with natural air-conditioning and constant temperature and atmospheric pressure throughout the year.

It is made up of two levels, named Unirea and Mihai.

The work for the opening of the Unirea salt mine started in 1938 and the exploitation of the salt from this mine was performed between 1943-1970.

The exploitation was done downward from the ceiling to the basis in successive slices of 2.2 meters with a horizontal cutting at the basis and vertically along the walls.

The de-rocking was made through shooting. The transportation of the resulting material was effected with the tubs up the shaft using a cage to the installation of preparation and expedition.

The mine is composed of 14 chambers with trapezoidal profiles, having a 10 m opening to the ceiling and 32 m to the ground, a height of 54 m and a wall inclination angle of 60 degrees.

The shore difference between the surface and the base of the mine is of 208 m and it is covered by the elevator in 90 seconds. The excavated space occupies a volume of 2.9 millions m³ and it is extended on a surface of 78,000 m².

After 1970, the mine becomes a touristic objective, offering exceptional natural conditions as a result of its microclimate rich in aerosols, which proved its well known efficiency in treating the respiratory diseases.

The air-conditioning of the mine is natural, with a constant temperature during the whole year of 12 °C, an atmospheric pressure of 730 mmHg and a humidity with an average of 10% lower than the surface average.

Source: Wikipedia

Communist blocks from the center

Communist blocks from the center

The railway station

The railway station

An old house

An old house

Unirea Mine (Salina Veche) from the distance

Unirea Mine (Salina Veche) from the distance

Unirea Mine (Mina Unirea, Salina Veche)

The entrance to the Unirea Mine (Mina Unirea, Salina Veche)

The shower panel from the entrance (down, 208 m)

The shower panel from the entrance (down, 208 m depth)

The salt walls from the mine

The salt walls from the mine

An old well

An old well

Sculptures in salt

Sculptures in salt

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An amateur sculpture

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Other sculpture

Decebal from Genesis Hall

Decebal from Genesis Hall

Trajan sculpture from the Genesis Hall

Mihai Eminescu

Amber

Amber

Old photos

Old photos

These photos were down, in the mine, near to the elevator

These photos were down, in the mine, near to the elevator

Decebal

Other sculpture with Decebal from the Genesis Hall

Dacian Draco in the Genesis Hall

Dacian Draco in the Genesis Hall

A dacian warrior with Draco

A dacian warrior with Draco

Some beds from the respiratory diseases section

Some beds from the respiratory diseases section

The Salt Museum from Slănic (the guide was strange...)

The Salt Museum from Slănic (the guide was strange...)

Inside the museum

The classical method of extraction (inside the museum)

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Systematic exploitation with "chambers"

Salt in the museum

Different types of salt in the museum

An aerial view of Slănic

I think this is the The Green Rock

On a walk to the The Fir Forest

On a walk to the The Fir Forest

A ventilation hole for the salt mine

A ventilation hole for the salt mine

Sveshtari (Bulgaria)

Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari

Sveshtari royal tomb below Ginina Mogila Mound - 4th - 3th century BC (www.getika.com)

Sveshtari royal tomb below Ginina Mogila Mound - 4th - 3th century BC (www.getika.com)

The Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari is situated 2,5 km southwest of the village of Sveshtari, Razgrad Province, which is located 42 km northeast of Razgrad, in the northeast of Bulgaria.

Discovered in 1982 in a mound, this 3rd century BC Thracian tomb reflects the fundamental structural principles of Thracian cult buildings.

The tomb’s architectural decor is considered to be unique, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids and painted murals.

The ten female figures carved in high relief on the walls of the central chamber and the decorations of the lunette in its vault are the only examples of this type found so far in the Thracian lands.

It is a remarkable reminder of the culture of the Getae, a Thracian people who were in contact with the Hellenistic and Hyperborean worlds, according to ancient geographers.

Source: Wikipedia

A mine on the road from Rousse to Sveshtari

A mine on the road from Rousse to Sveshtari

Near Sveshtari village

Near Sveshtari village

A table in the forest, near to the Reception centre

A table in the forest, near to the Reception centre

The forest from behind the Reception centre

The forest from behind the Reception centre

Thracians outside the Reception centre

Thracians outside the Reception centre

The road to the tombs

The road to the tombs

The principal tomb (royal tomb)

The principal tomb (royal tomb)

Reception centre

Reception centre

Royal tomb

Royal tomb

Picture postcart and calendar with the Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari

Picture postcart and calendar with the Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari

Prospectus from the Reception centre

Prospectus from the Reception centre

Prospectus with the tomb

Prospectus with the tomb

The ticket for the entrance to the Sveshtari royal tomb (5 Bulgarian lev "лев")

The ticket for the entrance to the Sveshtari royal tomb (5 Bulgarian lev "лев" which mean 2.5 euro)