Built on seven hills along the banks of the Maritsa River, Plovdiv is Bulgaria’s second largest city. One of Bulgaria’s oldest cities, rich in history and attractions, it served for thousands of years as a cross-road for important commercial routes.
During the Roman age – 1st-4th century, Philippopolis (the city of Philip II of Macedonia, today Plovdiv) was the largest metropolis in the province of Thrace.
Many of its ancient public establishments have been discovered and studied: the Ancient Roman Theatre, the Roman stadium with 30 000 seats, the Forum, a couple of basilicas of the early Christian time, the synagogue and public baths.
Ruins of the two fortification walls with their gates are the most numerous and visible among the monuments from Roman times.
The old part of Plovdiv, with its winding, cobble-stone streets, is best explored by roaming around it on foot. Its decorative 18th-19th century buildings bear the stamp of a typically Balkan style of architecture; mostly renovated, some function as museums or galleries.
Plovdiv’s most famous landmark is its 2nd century Roman amphitheatre which is located on the side of the hill in the old part of the city. The “Theatron” (seats for the audience) is arranged in tiers and is divided into two rings of 14 rows each. The stage has two levels.
Most probably the theatre had a capacity of about 7000 spectators. There are numerous Roman mosaics discovered in Plovdiv.