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"Plovdiv - It was love at first sight." Neil Clark, "The Spectator"

"Plovdiv - It was love at first sight." Neil Clark, "The Spectator"

4/4/2006 9:00:28 AM

"This is the loveliest of all towns. It’s beauty shines from faraway,’ wrote the Greek poet Lucian of Plovdiv 19 centuries ago, and if he was guilty of over-egging it, it certainly wasn’t by much. Plovdiv, or Philippopolis, to give it its original name, is older than both Rome and Athens. Its antiquity means that whatever your architectural fix, you’re likely to find it here — whether it’s Thracian ruins from 5,000 bc, a wonderfully preserved 2nd-century Roman amphitheatre (which could seat 6,000 people at its peak and which still stages concerts and shows in the summer), or 1960s socialist functional.

The crowning glory is the picturesque old town, famous for its remarkable collection of 19th-century baroque-style ‘revival’ houses, named after the cultural, political and linguistic renaissance which led to the country’s liberation from the Ottoman yoke in the 1870s. Several of these houses are open to the public. We opted for the Stepan Hindlyan House with its well-preserved Turkish bathroom, colourful murals and exquisite collection of restored period furniture. Don’t miss, too, the nearby Ethnographic Museum, whose magnificent entrance hall with its grand piano and intricately carved wooden ceiling is worth the admission fee alone. For us, the only disappointment with Plovdiv was the lack of snow — so after three days we decided to head for the mountains..."

You can read the whole article in the Spectator

The photo above - courtesy of Lubka Gangarova (copywrite: Lubka Photographic ltd.)

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