Bulgaria & Romania: Plovdiv

May 23, 2019 – Plovdiv City Tour / Bachkovo Monastery

Plovdiv is the European Capital of Culture for 2019. Most of us had never even heard of the city before coming here, and now we will never forget it. Having been functioning continuously as a city for more than 8,000 years it ranks as the oldest city in Europe and the 5th oldest city in the world. Its roots are Thracian, and it gave birth to such famous persons as Orpheus, the legendary musician, and Spartacus, the renowned rebel.

We begin our walk through the historical center of Plovdiv which has lovely buildings lining pedestrian streets.
Plovdiv is uncovering the ruins of ancient Philippopolis, founded by Philip II of Macedon after he conquered it in the 4th century BCE.
The Odeon at the Forum of Philippopolis.
Model of the ancient stadium which could hold more than 30,000 spectators for chariot races. Just the curved end where the horses turned the corner has been excavated, and we are standing above it now.
Representation of a chariot race at the stadium of Philippopolis.
Seats on the curve of the ancient stadium. The corner is completely excavated, but then the seats simply disappear back underneath the nearby buildings.
Above the level of the stadium is the mosque which the Ottoman’s converted from a church after they conquered the city.
Interior of the mosque at Plovdiv.
Interior of the mosque at Plovdiv.
Street musicians in front of one of the major churches.
The theatre of Philippopolis was built overlooking the city and the mountains beyond.
It is still in use during the summer for musical performances.
Chris takes the stage at the ancient theatre in Plovdiv.
Theatre seats seen from the stage level.
Roses are in bloom everywhere in the city like these in front of the Ethnographic Museum. The museum is housed inside a fabulous house of a merchant dating from 1847.
One of the things that grabs your eye as you enter the museum is this unique painting by Ivan Murkvichka “Market in Plovdiv” (1888), which was one of the first to depict everyday life of the Bulgarian town after the Liberation.
Detail of women at the market in Plovdiv from the painting.
Detail of the right side of the painting with a boy selling ducks, a priest, and a woman dressed in the current European fashion of the time.
The museum has wonderful permanent exhibits including the interiors of the time.
Display of regional apparel at the Ethnographic Museum of Plovdiv.
Musical instruments displayed at the Ethnographic Museum in Plovdiv.
One example from a large exhibit of jewelry at the Ethnographic Museum in Plovdiv.
An antiques dealer near the Ethnographic Museum lets Dan hold his big (heavy) gun.

After a delicious lunch we drive out of town to visit the second most famous monastery in Bulgaria – the Bachkovo Monastery – dating from the year 1083.

Entering the courtyard at the Bachkovo Monastery.
Entrance to the Cathedral Church of the Virgin Mary at the Bachkovo Monastery.
Another adjoining structure (on the left) is the Church of the Archangels
Interior of the Cathedral Church of the Virgin Mary at Bachkovo Monastery.
Dome of the Cathedral Church of the Virgin Mary at the Bachkovo Monastery.
Frescoes inside the Cathedral Church of the Virgin Mary at Bachkovo Monastery.
An icon of the Virgin holding Jesus. This is the most sacred icon on the property, and according to the legend, the icon is wonder-working, attracting many pilgrims.

After visiting the grounds and several side buildings we return to Plovdiv. Our dinner tonight is a wine tasting meal at the todoroff Wine Residence.

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