Self-Guided Walking Tour of Old Town, Plovdiv

It turns out that THE thing to see in Plovdiv is the Old Town. Since the self-guided walking tour was free and it was a beautiful day, of course we went! Now, I can’t remember exactly what everything is that we saw, so you won’t find in-depth information here, but if you ever find yourself in Plovdiv, the people at the tourist information centres were fabulous — the most knowledgeable and helpful ones we found in all of Bulgaria. They have a map with some information so you can follow the same self-guided walking tour that we did.

Plovdiv is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe, and when you get there, you’ll see that it is very cultural, and very artsy. The Old Town has several well-maintained historical houses that used to be the homes of famous artist, writers, and musicians, most of which have recently been turned into museums or galleries. You can pay to enter them, and choosing to take a pass to all of them gives you a discount — clever marketing!

There are also several old Eastern Orthodox churches that are worth visiting. You might even catch a glimpse of a priest with his long beard and robes.

And, of course, there was a very old mosque as well. Supposedly it was built somewhere between the 14th and 16th centuries, during the Ottoman rule in Bulgaria, and is still used to this day.

Along our walk, we discovered a temporary exhibition of Bulgarian artisans being held at one of the old houses. We went in, looked around, and ended up buying a souvenir decoration for our Christmas tree back home.

We wound our way up to the Ancient Theatre, a remnant of the Roman foundations of the city. The staff was preparing for the Vaselin Marinov concert that would be held there later in the evening.

Finally, after a bit of a climb, we made it up one of the seven historical hills of Plovdiv, around which the city was founded. You can still see some of the semi-restored remains of what I think is a Roman fort. Here are some of the views from the top.

Following this walking tour was a really interesting way to explore Plovdiv. We had stopped in Plovdiv initially on the recommendation of a friend, and because it was convenient, and were totally wowed by what we discovered. It is a laid-back and unassuming town that loves cultural tourists, but lets them feel like they are discovering a bit of history for themselves. We found it a small, but wonderful city to have a historical stroll in. Thanks, Plovdiv!

Do you have any little places like Plovdiv that you discovered and recommend visiting?

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