A city I’ve had the good fortune to visit no less than seven times so far, one short article cannot hope to do it enough justice. Having a beautiful female friend there to look after me is obviously a magnetic incentive but Plovdiv itself is Bulgaria’s second city and cultural capital, a juxtaposition of modernity and history with all the amenities one might expect, and simultaneously one of Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited cities.
Its history dates back some 6000 years, and since becoming a Roman city it has retained many of its old Roman structures and buildings, including its famous amphitheatre. With incredible views over the city it is unsurprising that many events and festivals are still held there today. But the amphitheatre is merely one such vantage point in the city offering panoramic scenery. Plovdiv has historically developed on seven syenite hills, earning it the name ‘The City Of The Seven Hills.’
Step back in time with a walk up through the Old Town and see the river from the hill with the old walls, or make your way up to the statue of the Russian soldier at Alosha from where the vista over the city on a sunny day will carry you for miles.
Plovdiv also boasts the largest sports complex in Eastern Europe, and the 2km Olympic rowing channel alone is apparently visible from space. A great place to walk, enjoy a coffee and take in one of many beautiful sunsets.
The town centre is a modern pedestrian zone overflowing with colourful shops, cafes and bars, and some of the best ice cream available anywhere. An aptly named dessert restaurant named Dreams is worth the walk down the main street alone. In amongst the bustle, one gets a hint of Ottoman ancestry in the cobbled paths and the stunning Dzhumaya Mosque with its opulent minaret.
Not far from Plovdiv are some of Bulgaria’s treasures, such as the Roman ruins of Hissar, an entire complex of ruins and walls reminding you of Bulgaria’s dual heritage from dynasties on either side of its borders. A favourite of mine is Asenovgrad, upon whose cliffs rests the Asem Fortress dating back to the 9th century. I’ve enjoyed its peace and serenity many times, and it will probably be there for another thousand years.
Plovidiv’s relative position within Bulgaria means it is also possible to get to many amazing places further afield, including the Rhodope Mountains, some of the country’s many mystical caves and the famous Bachkovo Monasteries. Braver people than myself paraglide off the lofty peaks of Sopot but I have enjoyed a refreshing plunge into the crystal clear pools within the national forest at Kalofer.
One can even go horse-riding through the hills and find a secluded waterfall near the beautiful Sushitsa Reservoir. That was a truly incredible ride.
I have travelled from Plovdiv to the beaches of the Black Sea, along the stunning Kaliakra Coast and inhaled the aromatic roses in the Balchik Botanical Gardens.
If you’re willing to drive a few hours more and find some accommodation the mountains of Pirin offer some great hiking and spectacular views.
A big draw for yours truly is always the food, and Bulgaria has some of the tastiest anywhere. The Thracian soil is famously very fertile with hardly any artifice or fertilizer used, resulting in naturally succulent produce. Shopska salad, one of their national dishes, is heaven on a plate, and there are no end of great eateries to sample it and other delicious dishes. And it doesn’t hurt that your meal may be accompanied by pulsating live music and gyrating girls!
On each visit I have made to Bulgaria I have discovered something original and remarkable, and yet there is still so much more to see (the Rila Lakes, for example, are on my list). Plovdiv does supreme justice to a country that really should make huge revenue from enticing visitors to its many wonderful sights and attractions. Whether your poison is food or history, skiing or mountaineering, nature trekking or beaches, this beautiful nation of roses has something for everyone in abundance.
These images were taken with a variety of devices, the best camera I have invariably being the one in my hands at the time. All processed in Lightroom for my typical postcard look and then reduced in size, quality and watermarked as a single action in CS6. I realize a post like this doesn’t offer the technical instruction or information as other posts on PL but photography has taken me to many places and I hope that like other contributors to this site my images can perhaps bring some of those places to you. And, more importantly, I hope they encourage you to go out and take photos of your own. If nothing else, consider it a convenient space filler until the next, more worthy post comes along.
I extend my sincere thanks as ever to my dear friend Genka for helping me make so many wonderful memories. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a small sample of them here.
Amazing place and amazing pictures.. Europe has always been on my travel bucket list and hope to be in that part of the world very soon!
Thank you Mansi! Hope you make it there soon! :)
Yet another reason to come visit one of these days. You certainly have some great adventures!
Thanks John! I’d love to come visit again :)
Thanks for the nice pics from Bulgaria. I would like to visit there at some point. The only comment I have is why do you watermark all your images? You are a very good photographer and your style speaks for itself… Anyway, best wishes and keep up the great work.
Thank you for the kind words Philip. I’m not sure my work is that distinctive, being more of a postcard style. The watermarks are my feeble (and perhaps futile) attempt at deterring theft.
Thanks again :)
These photos look over filtered and dark to me.
Ok. Thanks for stopping by.
Rob, In my opinion, Alpha Whiskey’s images are works of art, not photographs per se. His artistic style conveys to the viewer intangible aspects of the scene that would be impossible to convey via ‘technically accurate’, but sterile, photographs.
The painter John Constable isn’t famous for his colour accuracy, he’s famous for producing evocative works of art.
Thank you Pete. Actually John Constable is one of my favourites. Always a splash of red somewhere in his Suffolk landscapes. We have a lot of his work in the National Gallery in London.
Nice perspective from my hometown, Alpha Whiskey!
Best regards from Bulgaria!
Thank you Todor! :)
Best wishes from Plovdiv, Bulgaria!
Really beautiful city to visit and live. Rich culture, beautiful people, good food! Thanks for visiting us!
We have to make global photowalk in every country and city :))
Thank you Tsvetan! That’s a great idea! :)
And yes the food is wonderful!
Thank you for sharing Plovdiv.
My first time in Bulgaria was in Veliko Turnovo and Kotel. It was also a very interesting experience. As you said, Bulgaria has a lot to offer…it’s a beautiful country.
It certainly is Paula! Thank you! :)
You are fortunate to be able to travel the world
Yes sir. The world is getting smaller.
Best wishes from Bulgaria!
Thank you for making popular in Photographylife.com one of the biggest Bulgarian cities – Plovdiv…and a small part of our culture too!
You’re welcome Elia! Thank you and your beautiful country for letting me visit!
You’re are always welcome back,Alpha Whiskey!
Thank you very much Elia! I’m sure I will be back again :)
Great pictures Sharif. Thanks for sharing. Are there any security problems there? Like certain parts of cities not safe to travel or certain parts of the country not considered safe? I have always wanted to visit Bulgaria but my friends advise against going alone the first time.
Thank you Muhammad. :)
That’s what people told me about Colombia but I felt incredibly safe there, as indeed I did in Bulgaria. Admittedly I had a friend and her family to look after me and drive me everywhere so it was never an issue for me. There are unsafe parts of town in every city, even here in London. But Plovdiv is very safe, I think. They get a lot of tourists so you wouldn’t stand out too much.
If you’re worried go with a friend perhaps? I tend to have issues wherever I go anyway because of my name but the Bulgarians were extremely courteous and polite. They are a warm and friendly and outgoing people. And they certainly know how to have a good time!
I think the usual advice about staying safe and alert applies to any country. Hope that puts your mind at rest :)