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Steering just a little from the Main Street in Plovdiv and imperceptibly you find yourself in “Kapana” (literal translation: “The Trap”). Once you get there you would never want to go back.

The district emerged as a centre for craftsmen 5 centuries ago, so don't be surprised of street names like Kozhuharska (Leather Str), Zhelezarska (Iron Str) and Zlatarska (Gold Str). The name of the district itself is inspired by the many tangled little streets. Nowadays you will not find traditions craftsmen here but contemporary creative entrepreneurs. This is due to the massive 3-year joint efforts of the Plovdiv Municipality and “Plovdiv 2019” Foundation put in transforming the until recently neglected part of the city into a real art centre and a districted dedicated to creative industries. This project is also part of the artistic programme of “Together” – the concept and motto Plovdiv won the European Capital of Culture 2019 with.

And if you haven’t been around for a while you will surely feel the difference – now more than 80% of the little streets are part of the city’s pedestrian zone. Soon all of them will be. Tiny buildings resembling the ones in Amsterdam are colourfully painted and full of life with people smiling everywhere.

You will find galleries, workshops, ateliers, studios, cozy restaurants and shops, as well as other art spaces, and there is even a vinyl shop! And to back our words up, here is a list of places you should not miss in “Kapana”: Vinyl’s home place Soul Searchin’ – Point-Blank Gallery – Darvodelie Atelier – What A monster – Kotka and Mishka – Rubber Gallery – Our House – Hipster Hostel – Chill Out zone – Atelier 42 – Rakodelnitsata – GG Sisters – Art Place Kapana – Atelier Muza – Sound Trap – The Craft Station – Trap Gallery – MBG Fashion Studio – Kanape Studio – Art Aslon [Incubator] – Basquiat Wine and Art – Rock Bar Download – Petnoto na Rorshah …

Soon to be opened are: culinary crafts workshop – Italian language and culture centre – recording studio – Armenian cultural-information centre – fine and applied arts centre – creative workshop for children and adults – gallery and art shop.

All these places fill “Kapana” with modern cultural content not only with their daily activities but also organizing events with social, economic and cultural effect for the city. What happens in the new/old art district of Plovdiv is so much – concerts, exhibitions, festivals, forums, brainstorming sessions and discussions, theatrical performances, art installations, screenings, workshops and many more. So we advise you to follow the programme here

Tsar Simeon’s Garden in Plovdiv is created in 1892 by the Swiss landscape architect Lucien Chevalas (1840-1921). In 1879 Bulgarian knyaz Aleksandar Bogoridi invited Chevalas to become the official gardener of Plovdiv. For all his contribution to the city, in 1901 he was declared an honorary citizen of Plovdiv. Often he is referred to as “the Minister of flowers”.

This year, to both citizens and guests’ delight, the renovation of the Garden has been completed. The idea behind it is to resemble the look from the time of the First Bulgarian fair in 1892 and bring back Bulgaria’s Kingdom spirit.

Since this summer the restored fountain of Goddess Demeter is brought for a new life, and a Viennese pavilion is built in the centre of the park. The pavilion is with a metal openwork construction and is a replica of the 1936-Central Pavilion. All this was possible with the help of archival photographs and historical evidences from the Book of the fair. In addition there is new lighting in the park, and also new benches and modern children's playgrounds are installed. The trees and the flowers turn the park in a paradise garden.

The pearl on the crown of the park is the renovated Lake with the Singing Fountains. You can enjoy the light show of the lake intertwined with water effects.

The Fountain’s special dance – a spectacular show with music and light can be observed every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 21:00.

1, Saedinenie Sq.

tel.: 032/ 624 339, tel./fax: 032/ 633 106

www.archaeologicalmuseumplovdiv.org

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Summer working hours /May – October/: 10:00 – 18:00

Closed: Monday

Winter working hours /November – April/: 9:30 – 17:00

Closed: Sunday and Monday

Day for a free-of-charge visit:

First Thursday of each month – for students and retirees

The Regional Archaeological Museum in Plovdiv is one of the oldest cultural institutions in Bulgaria. Officially opened in 1882, its development passes through the stage of being archaeological-numismatic collection-office, until it was finally established as Archaeological Museum in 1920. The museum possesses one of the richest collections of artifacts and works of human art related to the history of Plovdiv District and the Town of Plovdiv successor to one of the largest and most important ancient cities on the Balkan Peninsula – Philippopolis.

The Regional Archaeological Museum in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (RAM – Plovdiv) is one of the first Bulgarian cultural institutions, officially opened in 1882. Originally set up as an archaeological and numismatic office, it gradually earned the status of Archaeological Museum during the 1920s. 
Its funds initially consisted of a numismatic collection of 1,500 coins, ethnographic and historical documents, church plates, and incunabula from the VIII - XVII c., as well as 300 icons and paintings by some of the most famous Bulgarian painters Stanislav Dospevski, Ivan Lazarov, Tzanko Lavrenov, Nikolay Rainov, Zlatju Boiadjiev, and many others. 
The Museum boasts one of the richest collections of 100.000 exhibits of artefacts related to the history of Plovdiv and its region.  Plovdiv is the heir to one of the biggest and most famous ancient towns in the Balkan Penninsula - Philippopolis.

Prehistoric Art

The research on prehistoric times and art, commenced in the 1940s, has so far been carried out by several generations of devoted archaeologists. During that period about 25 multi-strata sites of the so-called "wire" type have been thoroughly studied.

The sites of "Yassatepe" in "Universitetski" quarter in Plovdiv; "Ploskata mogila" ("The Flat Burial Mound") situated in the village of Zlatitrap; the "Razkopanitza" burial mound in the village of Manole; the prehistoric settlement near the village of Muldava as well as the eneolithic cult complex near Dolnoslav village are all among the most significant Bulgarian prehistoric sites.

The extensive site research has been a perfect basis for studying the succession of pre-historical cultures (as well as their characteristic features) that originated in the Maritza river valley from the beginning of the Neolithic Age until the end of the Bronze Age. The Museum’s Pre-historic Fund consists of 4,800 exhibits classified in the following collections:

- Production tools made of stone, flint, bone or antler

- Plastic images (anthropomorphic and zoomorphic) made of marble, bones or clay

- Pottery dating from the Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages

- Copper and bronze tools and their casting moulds

- Jewelry and amulets

Thracian Art

The ethnoname "Thracians" denotes the multi-composite and multitudinous population that inhabited the territory up to the Carpathians on the north, reaching the Black Sea on the east, up to the Vardar river on the west and down to the Aegean Sea on the south. It was Homer who first mentioned the Thracians in line 434 of the Tenth song in his "Ilyad". That name is also found in various Cretan-Mycenaean written records.

Herodotus (V, II) wrote: "The Thracian ethnos is the most numerous one after the Indian. The Thracians are differently named in each separate region but the manners and customs of the whole nationality remain just the same everywhere."

The Thracian tribe called Odryssaes inhabited the region of Plovdiv in the V - I  c. B. C. It was the only one among all the 46 known Thracian tribes that set upa form of government headed by a Royal institution. The Odryssian state included the present territory of Bulgaria, the northwestern part of Turkey and the northern regions of Greece. The representatives of the Thracian aristocracy were buried in huge mounds or stone sepulchres, of various layout, architecture and interior. The earliest sepulchres featuring cyst layouts and multi-colored paintings dating from V c. B. C. were found in the region of Kaloyanovo. They are related to the heirs of the first Odryssian tsar Teres I (480 - 440). Under the reign of the Thracian tsar Kotis I (383 - 359), in the beginning of IV c. B. C., the monumental masonry-built tombs with antechambers (dromos) and burial chambers equipped with a door for multiple visits were first introduced. Such kind of tombs were found in the vicinity of Perushtiza, Brestoviza and Plovdiv, as well as near the village of Starossel, Hissar region.

The Panagyurishte Gold Treasure

The Treasure collection, produced in the town Lampsakos in Asia Minor, consists of nine gold vessels with a total weight of 6.100 kg, discovered in 1949 near Panagyurishte.

The gold beverage set includes a phiale (a dish) and eight rhytons (cups) in the form of different zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures. The treasure used to be the possession of an unknown Thracian ruler of the Odryssian tribe who reigned at the end of IV c. and the beginning of III c. B. C.

 

Ancient Greek Art        

The museum displays a rich and varied collection of ancient Greek works of art dating from V - IV c. B. C., found in the Odryssian kings’ burial mounds near the villages of Duvanli and Chernozem, in Kaloyanovo district. The Ancient Greek Art collection consists of black-and-red-figured ceramics produced in the Attic workshops as well as of silver objects (kantharoses, phiales and skyphoses) decorated with gilt figures and Greek Pantheon mythological scenes. The collection also includes gold jewelry objects for adorning feminine bodies and clothing.

 

Roman Art

The Antiquity Department of the Museum contains more than 5,000 exhibits divided into several collections illustrating the Thracian-Roman Arts.

Bronze Plastic Art Collection

The Bronze Plastic Art collection includes more than 200 bronze statuettes of idols worshipped by the Thracians in the period of I – IV c. The most numerous ones are the statuettes of the Thracian Rider, Hermes, Heracles, Telesphorus, Silenus, Fortunae, etc.

The Museum is in possession of over 100 bronze ornaments of chariots, pieces of furniture, as well as bronze vessels found in burial mounds all over Thrace. Those which provoke the greatest interest include the funeral bronze vessels from the site near "Kamenitza" in Plovdiv, dating from I c., also from the village of Voivodinovo in the region of Plovdiv, dating from II c., as well as the collections of Roman military diplomas and surgical instruments, dating from I – III c.

Ancient Sculptures Collection

The Ancient Sculptures Collection includes 50 marble portrait-heads from Philipopolis, some of which are statues of real-life people, found in the theatre and the big buildings, as well as torsos of idols worshipped in the various regions of Thrace.

The Museum also houses a part of the impressive marble plastic art objects used to decorate religious and civil buildings from I - IV c. - the theatre, the stadium and the town forum, as well as the main street with its rich colonnade near the eastern gate of Philippopolis - all elaborately decorated. The fund treasures a great part of the frieze-architrave, columns and capitals of the Ancient Stadium, as well as its entrance wall-piers decorated with objects related to Hermes and Heracles.

The most attractive among the town decorations is the frieze-architrave ornamented with the health-giving idols of Philippopolis, dating from III c.

The Museum keeps more than 1,000 exhibits from various sanctuaries in Thrace. The most valuable among them are those from the sanctuary of Asclepius Zemidrenetius near the village of Batkun, the Pazardzhik district, the sanctuary of Apollo Seulamenos near the village of Trud, Plovdiv region, as well as the unique tracery consecrated tombstone of Mithra Taurokton near the village of Kurtovo Konare in the region of Plovdiv.

Another museum collection includes tombstones, sarcophagi and epitaphs from the Philippopolis necropolises. The most valuable among those monuments are the tombstones from the Eastern necropolis, as well as the numerous sarcophagi from the Western necropolis.

Terracotta and Lamp Collection

Contains more than 500 Roman clay lamps made in the town, imitating the models of the famous Athenian lamp-makers Elpidephoros, Eutuches, Pireitos. An interesting cult utensil bearing the images of Zeus-Serapis and Dionysos also originates from the town.

Antique Mosaics Collection

The Collection contains predominantly mosaic panels from civil and religious buildings, with total surface area of 750 sq. m.

Mosaics in civil buildings

  • Polychromatic mosaic bearing the emblem of "Eyrene" from a residential peristyled building built after the Gothic Invasion in 251.
  • Polychromatic flooring bearing the emblem of "Narcissus", with dolphins in the corners, from a residential peristyled building, II c.
  • Mosaic bearing the emblem of "Blue birds" from a residential building, II c.
  • Polychromatic mosaic found in the apoditerium of a residential building with a bath, V - VI c.
  • Two-layered polychromatic mosaic in OPVS VERMICVLATUM, found in nine rooms of the Termi Aqui, situated right under today’s "Kniaz Alexander" street, II - IV c. A. D.
  • Wall mosaics and floorings of theTermi situated right under today’s "Yoachim Gruev" school, of an area of 2,5 decares (from the middle of III c. until the end of IV c.)

Mosaics in religious buildings

  • Monochromatic mosaic, bearing the emblem of Menora and donors’ inscriptions from a synagogue, III - V c.
  • Polychromatic two-layered mosaic with geometrical figured pictures of birds and Christian symbols from an episcopal 3-nave basilica, with atrium portici, partially revealed, V - VI c.
  • Monochromatic mosaic from a residential complex, IV c.
  • Marble mosaic tiling, featuring pictures of a deer and birds from a baptistery, V - VI c.
  • Polychromatic mosaic from a martyrium - an early Christian building outside the fortified town, V - VI c.

 

Medieval Art

Written sources, historical research and archaeological excavations over the last 30 years have made it possible to build a fairly precise idea of what Medieval Plovdiv looked like. It used to be a major commercial, political, cultural and religious center in Thrace in the period of IX – XIV c. A. D.

The urban planning is typical for that period. The medieval town is composed of an inner fortified part situated up on the Three Hills and some suburban quarters located down in the valley.

The majority of all movable cultural monuments displayed in the Medieval Art Museum Section are found on the territory of Polvdiv and its region.

The Medieval fund includes 1,270 inventory units classified according to their functions in various collections: labour tools, pottery, weapons, jewelry, religious objects,architectural elements, stone plastic art

Bulgarian Revival Art

Throughout the Bulgarian Revival period Plovdiv remained the biggest and most developed town in Bulgaria in terms of culture and economy. During that period the unique architectural ensemble of The Three Hills was created, alongside with a number of other valuable monuments of spiritual and material culture. The Regional Archaeological Museum displays rich collections of church plates, incunabula (early printed books), jewelry, belt buckles and belts, pottery and luxurious objects of high artistic value, dating from that period.

Numismatic Collection

The Numismatic Department of Plovdiv Regional Archaeological Museum boasts a collection of 60,000 coins, dated VI c. B. C. - XX c. A. D. The department is constantly enriching its fund either through acquisition from various archaeological excavations or by buying out coins from private collectors.

The earliest coin emissions are represented by electrum and silver coins (archaic and classical type) cut out in the towns of Kyzikos, Athens and the Island of Thassos. They came into circulation in the Upper-Thracian Vallley in the period of VI - IV c. B. C., through the exchange of merchandise along the Maritza river valley and the road system in the Rhodope Mountains. The Numismatic Fund of the Museum treasures a considerable number of coins minted by various Thracian towns as well as by rulers and tribes, inhabiting the Aegean coast and the inner part of Thrace. It also contains imitations of the tetradrachms of Maroneia and the Island of Thassos, from II - I c. B. C., with decoratively depicted human and animal images.
The earliest coinages in the ancient Philippopol belong to the II B. C., when the town was called Odriza and produced bronze coins with the image of Heracles, the holly animal – bull and an inscription - WDRISWN.

A substancial part of the numismatic treasure of the Archaeological Museum is comprised of coins minted in the period of I - V c. A. D. Philippopolis was the first town in the inner part of Thrace that began to mint the so-called "pseudo-autonomous" bronze coins. The Emperors Domicianus (81 - 96), Trajan (98 - 117) and Hadrian (117 - 138) gave permission to the town to issue coins without the mediation of the Roman legates, temporarily governing Thrace. Alongside with the coins, the Museum collection holds a considerable amount of medallions, issued as commemorative signs to eminent representatives of the Emperor in the province or to town notables. In some periods they were also used as legal tender.

The minting of coins in Philippopolis in I c. A. D. began under the rule of Emperor Domicianus (81 - 96). Under the rule of different Roman emperors, the images on the coins and medallions minted in Philippopolis were generally related to the location, religion and history of the town in the period of I - V c. A. D. They represented deities worshipped by the Thracian people, such as: Bendida (also identified by the Greeks as Arthemis), Orpheus, Apollo Cendrisian, Eumolpius, Dionysus, as well as the Hebros river with boats sailing, the Rhodope mountains, and town-protecting deities. Coins and medallions representing scenes from the Alexandrian and Pythian games organized in the town during the reign of Caracalla (198 - 217) were also minted. Their inscriptions on the coins reveal that the games themselves were financed by the Thracian Union and province funds.

In the Middle Ages (VII – XV c.) Plovdiv continued to play a leading part in the historical development of Bulgaria as an economic, commercial and cultural center. The Numismatic Fund of the Museum holds collections of gold, electrum and bronze coins from that period, minted under the rule of different Byzantine emperors. These treasures were all found on the territory of Plovdiv and the region around it.

A collection of gold, silver and bronze Ottoman coins of different face values is an essential part of the Numismatic Fund. These coins, dating from the period of XV - XIX c., represent almost all Ottoman Sultans. The Numismatic Department also holds an impressive collection of West-European coins, typical for the period of XVI - XIX c., issued by different European rulers.
The Numismatic Department Fund also displays a coin collection, issued during the XX c. by official Bulgarian authorities.

1, Saedinenie Sq.

tel.: 032 629409

Summer working hours /April-October/: 9:30 – 18:00

Closed: Saturday and Sunday

Winter working hours/November-March/: 9:30 – 17:00

Closed: Saturday and Sunday

Day for a free-of-charge visit: First Thursday of each month

 

The building was built in 1885 for the Provincial Counsel of Eastern Rumelia. On 19.09.1985 the national museum expositionUnification of Bulgaria1885 was opened here. On an area covering 1000 sq. m.,through authentic items, weapons, photographs and documents are traced back the efforts of Bulgarians in the establishing of Eastern Rumelia as The Second Bulgarian State, their fight for the Unification with Principality of Bulgaria and its military defense - The Serbian-Bulgarian War.

Exposition „The Unification of Bulgaria of 1885” has been arranged in the building of the Province assembly (the Parliament) of East Rumelia. The building was designed by Architect Pierre Montani and is now one of his most significant creative accomplishments. Born in the department of Savoy, he was one of the numerous community of foreigners who settled in Plovdiv after the Russo-Turkish war (1877-1878). The building was under construction from 1883 to 1885 under the guidance of Architect Oscar Lefait. A spacious assembly hall was designed for the delegate sessions and the side wings were meant for the administration. On 6 September 1885 the Unification of East Rumelia and the Principality of Bulgaria was proclaimed, and as Sofia became the capital of the unified Bulgarian state, the building was deprived of its initial designation. In March 1886 the Prime Minister Petko Karavelov ordered the building to accommodate the Plovdiv Public Library and Museum. It had been the most important cultural institute in Plovdiv for nearly 100 years. In 1895 the Commercial and Industrial Chamber of Plovdiv was founded there, the Association of South Bulgarian Artists was created in 1912, and the first art exhibitions were organized. Down the years the authentic appearance of the building was preserved and now it is still one of the cultural centres of Plovdiv.

The museum exposition „The Unification of Bulgaria” was opened in 1985 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and East Rumelia, an event which has become a national symbol of our new history. The exposition represents the period beginning with the Treaty of Berlin (1878), which dismembered the Bulgarian-populated lands into five parts, till the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885. Focus is put on the setup and development of East Rumelia as the Second Bulgarian state, preparation and implementation of the Unification with the Principality of Bulgaria on 6 September 1885. Five exhibition halls on area of 900 m2 show authentic exhibits (personal belongings, award tokens, cold steel and firearms), photos and documents of participants in the Unification and the Serbo-Bulgarian War. The preparation and realization of the Unification was an act of the whole Bulgarian public, a unique example of common action of the masses and their leaders. The Unification indicated the vitality, endurance and increased self-respect of the Bulgarian people. After its recognition, the Bulgarian state expanded significantly not only its territory and population, but also its influence before the Great Powers and the Ottoman Empire for a final solution of the Bulgarian national issue: the unity of all lands inhabited by Bulgarians in one single Motherland.

 

Museum Exposition 9th Infantry Regiment of Plovdiv in the Wars for National Unification

Is it necessary and in what way our military history is to be shown in the expositions of the regional museums of Bulgaria? In such a way as to be different in Plovdiv, Sliven, Burgas, Varna, Ruse, and yet to show the truth of the Bulgarian wars for national unification. We, in the History Museum of Plovdiv, have taken a keen interest in this question for many years, as an answer was found while we were making preparations for the celebration of 125th anniversary of setting up 9th Infantry Regiment of Plovdiv. Its precise name was in fact “9th Infantry Regiment of Her Highness Princess Klementina”. It was founded at the end of 1885 after the Unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and East Rumelia as a result of the military territorial division of the country and the regimental arrangement. It was recruited in the region of the nowadays Plovdiv county, excluding the region of Karlovo, Parvomay and Asenovgrad, and has become a symbol of the martial courage of the people of Plovdiv and the neighbouring communities. In such a way, the soldiers of a company came from close settlements, knew each other, shared together the hardship of army life, and stood by each other in the hard times of battle. The regiment was successor of the glorious traditions of 4th Volunteer’s battalion which encamped in Plovdiv after the Liberation; of 2nd Battalion of the East Rumelia’s militia which under the commandment of Major Danail Nikolaev proclaimed the Unification of Bulgaria on 6 September 1885 and participated in its military defence at Slivnitsa.

In the exposition which we opened on 21 June 2011 within the building of the Museum at 1 Saedinenie Square in Plovdiv, we display the preparation and participation of the Regiment in the wars for national unification. Thanks to the idea of Colonel Vasil Delov, who was at the head of the Regiment at the end of the nineteenth century, we are able to show photo material of very high quality of officers, soldiers, their drills and life in the barracks of the Regiment, i.e. the image of the Bulgarian soldier. Among the military archives and our collections we have discovered photos of life at the frontline which put their stamp on times and locations of glorious victories: the liberation of the Rhodopes and the Aegean region, and the officers of the Regiment at Şarköy of the Marmara Sea during the Balkan War; the short and yet bloody battles at the Serta Mountain and Krivolak during the Second Balkan War when the Regiment took part in the complete defeat of the Serbian Morava Division; the first defence of Dojran and the combat at the Cerna Bend during the First World War when in uninterrupted battles the Regiment lost a great number of its soldiers and officers, and the lieutenants took the command of the battalions; the heroic battles at Deve Bair, Kriva Palanka, Strazhin, Stracin and Kumanovo during the Second World War.

The greatest interest is undoubtedly attracted by the collection of weapons which the Regiment was armed with from the time of its establishment till 1955 when it was disbanded, as well as trophies: a Turkish flag captured by the Rhodope battalion in 1912, rifles, guns and uniforms. No less is the interest towards the orders and medals worn by the war heroes, the pictures of the army artist Hristo Stanchev, the instruments of the army surgeon Dr. Mihail Krastev, the “military works of art” made by soldiers in the trenches of the First World War. To make the exposition more interesting to children, we created a replica of a command post of the Regiment dated 1917 when it was headed by the legendary Colonel Boris Drangov. There one can see the original officer’s camp bed, the Regiment’s typewriter and a telephone.

An evidence of the topicality of this museum exposition was the public interest demonstrated already in the process of its preparation. We witnessed some moving gestures made by former soldiers and officers of the Regiment and their successors who granted the key of the Regiment’s barracks and trophy weapons (Colonel Genko Chelibakov); the manifesto on entry of Bulgaria into the First World War read before the Regiment in October 1915; the complete set of photos owned by Colonel Ivan Bonev, commander of the Regiment during the Patriotic War (his son Dr. Bonyu Bonev); the photos of General Nikola Genchev, commander of 2nd Infantry Division (his son Professor Lyubomir Genchev), and still many more other exhibits. Tens of people came to ask for clarification of the fate of their grandfathers and fathers – perished soldiers of 9th Infantry Regiment or of the other regiments of the Bulgarian army.

This exposition shows one of the approaches which modern museums should apply while searching for their own concept of the Bulgarian military history. It should have an intriguing and diverse presence in their expositions because each infantry, cavalry or artillery regiment keeps innermost secrets of our past. We, Bulgarians, should be proud of and not forget the military heroic deeds of our ancestors. When in a military hospital after the capture of the Edirne Fortress they asked a soldier with an amputated arm why he was so smiling and elated, he answered: “Yes, my arm is now shorter, but Bulgaria became greater!” That is really the way to build up Bulgaria.

2, Dr. Stoyan Chomakov Str.

tel.: 032/625 654; fax: 032/626 328

www.ethnograph.info

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Summer working hours /April-October/: 9:00 – 18:00

Closed: Monday

Winter working hours /November-March/: 9:00 – 17:00

Closed: Monday

Day for a free-of-charge visit:

First Thursday of each month – for students and retirees

 

The exhibition is located in Argir Kuyumdzhiouglu’s beautiful Renaissance house, which was built in 1847 by the master-builder Hadzhi Georgi. Inside of it, there are representations of traditional material and spiritual culture of the Bulgarians who lived in the region of Plovdiv, Rhodope Mountains and Srednogorie during the National Revival. Among the many museum collections, those of brassware, pottery, weapons, shepherds wood-carving, jewelry and church items, sewn and crocheted laces, costumes from the entire Bulgarian ethnic territory, musical instruments, and urban decorstand out.

Plovdiv Regional Ethnographic museum is the second largest specialized museum of this type in Bulgaria. It is an acknowledged scientific-educational institution and an attractive center for cultural tourism. The museum was established in 1917 and since 1938 it has been located in Kuyumdzhieva house, a cultural monument of national significance.
Plovdiv Regional Ethnographic museum provides coordinative, qualification and expert-consulting activities for all museums and collections of artifacts with ethnographic character on the territory of Plovdiv and the region. In addition, the museum lends its methodical support to the municipal and private museums.
The museum is a co-organizer and a host of popular traditional festivals such as Folk Festival, the Annual Festival of Chamber Music, The Festival of Classic Guitar, etc., as well as concerts, biennials, fashion shows, theatrical plays, book presenting and performances. The demonstration of traditional crafts is another type of tourist attraction.

 

History
The idea of establishing an Ethnographic Museum dates back to the end of 1891. After a quarter of a century, based on the proposal of Stoyu Shishkov who was a teacher, researcher, journalist and publisher, the local administration decided on the establishment of a Regional museum. Its main aim is collecting materials concerning the past and the present of Plovdiv region viewed in historical, economic, artistic and everyday aspect. The museum started its existence on January, 22nd, 1917 when at the Municipal Council (at present Municipality of Plovdiv) a meeting was held and a decision was taken for “establishing a Regional museum run by a Standing committee”. The museum regulations were approved on July, 20th, the same year and according to them the first director was appointed Yordan PopGeorgiev and Stoyu N. Shishkov for a museum secretary.
The years that followed were spent on collecting materials, taking pictures and promotion activities. In 1930 there were over 500 artifacts in the museum. In 1931- 1932, in spite of the well-grounded opposition of Stoyu Shishkov, the administration transferred this modest property to the Public Library and Museum, due to economy reasons. In 1938, following the initiative of the mayor Mr. Bozhidar Zdravkov, the Museum started its second existence: Kuyumdzhiev House, the most impressive house in Plovdiv, was appointed Municipal House Museum.
On 14th October 1943, the new house of the Museum was opened for visitors. In 1949 the Municipal House Museum was renamed National Ethnographic Museum. In 1952 a permanent exhibition was introduced, totally renovated in 1962. Presently, over 40 000 artifacts are divided into the following six stocks: Agriculture, Crafts, Textiles and Clothing, Furniture and Interior, Musical Instruments and Ritual Properties, Works of Fine Art. There are also Photography, Scientific Archives and Library Sections. 

 

The house
One of the most picturesque spots in the old town of Plovdiv is located near the eastern gate of the town called Hisar Kapiia (Hisar Stone Gate). As a part of this ensemble, the impressive façade of the Kuyumdzhiouglu house, built in the remote 1847 by the master-builder Hadji Georgi, creates unique atmosphere. It is a typical representative of Plovdiv Renaissance symmetrical house, defined by experts as a peak of Baroque architecture in Bulgaria. Its owner is Arghir Kuyumdzhiouglu, a wealthy tradesman from Plovdiv. 
Kuyumdzhieva house is a part of Architectural-archeological reserve The Ancient town of Plovdiv. The building has impressive size – four floors, each one with an area of 570 sq. m.; two big parlours; twelve rooms (all of them with unique wood-carved ceilings) and over one hundred and thirty windows. The focus is placed on the imposing reception parlour (hayet) on the second floor, arching and projecting above the wicket towards the yard. Characteristic of the reception parlour is its oval central part with a beautifully shaped wooden ceiling, constructed by means of a high painted chamfer. 
The eastern façade of the house was built upon the ancient fortified wall and is an inseparable part of the ensemble of Hisar Kapiia. At the end of 19th century the house became a girls’ boarding school, and later it turned into a millinery factory, a vinegar factory, and a storehouse for flour. Antonio Colaro, a tobacco tradesman, bought it in 1930. In 1938, following the initiative of the mayor Mr. Bozhidar Zdravkov, the Municipality of Plovdiv and the Ministry of National Education signed an official decision for establishing a Municipal House-Museum whose successor nowadays is Regional Ethnographic Museum in Plovdiv. Since 1943 the house-monument has been opened for visitors.
Presently, the unique house is a National Monument of Culture.

Permanent exhibition

A museum is a place where one can see, touch and feel tradition. The rich collection represents the traditional culture of Thrace, the Rhodopes and the Sredna Gora mountains during the period of National Revival. On a permanent display, the agriculture and stock-breeding are presented as basic means of living of population in the region. One of the most characteristic crafts from the period of Renaissance are shown here: homespun and woolen braiding tailoring, pottery, coppersmith’s and ironsmith’s trade. The goldsmith’s workshop is represented by its entire inventory in the exquisite house. A great deal of adornment and religious items collection is exhibited, too. There is a separate place for national traditional costumes, textiles and carpets, musical instruments and ritual properties as well as urban style of living, frugally presented in the museum. The interiors of Koprivshtitza room, Rhodope room and Plovdiv drawing-room add to the information about the style of living and culture of the population in the region.

 

Agriculture

The Agriculture Stock comprises tools and utensils ( in total about 1000 inventory items) used in the economic activities of the population living in the region between the Rhodopes mountains and the Rose Valley. Exponents of the specific of this region: wine producing, tobacco-growing, rice-growing, rose oil manufacture, gardening and stock-breeding are displayed here. Among the exhibits, the following attract mostly visitors’ attention: a gun-powder box, dated 1757; wooden calendars (tallies), Rhodope bells, rose distillery in Karlovo (1876), etc.
The stock is presented in two exhibit halls.

 

Crafts

The stock includes over 7 000 inventory items – craftsman’s articles and tools. The main collections are: copper utensils (one of the richest collections in our country, with samples from the middle of 18th c. until the end of 19th c.), porcelain, ceramics, wrought iron, adornments and church plates, clocks, antique arms, seals, and banners of craft-guilds.
Four of the museum halls are separated for crafts to be displayed: homespun tailoring, pottery, copper-smithery and iron-smithery, and goldsmith’s trade. 

 

Textiles and Clothing

With more than 11 000 exhibits, the Textiles and Clothing Stock is the largest one in the museum. The textiles are divided in two sections: small-size textiles (towels, tablecloths and small covers) and big-size textiles (carpets, rugs, goat’s hair rugs, felts, covers, tuft and fleecy rugs, fabrics for mattresses and quilts). There is a unique collection of carpets, dating back to the middle and the end of 19th century.
The rich collection of traditional costumes and town suits represents not only the typical clothing from the region but such from all the other parts of the country, as well. Particularly interesting is the collection of underwear from the end of 19th c. and the beginning of 20th c.
The stock comprises two exhibit halls and the second-floor parlour.

 

Furniture and Interior

The Furniture and Interior Stock contains over 800 artifacts, which date back to the beginning of 19th century until the middle of 20th century. The most valuable among them are the painted china plates, oil lamps, cast-iron and tile stoves, parlour and bedroom suits, painted chests and boxes.
The majority of the furniture is situated in three halls: a drawing room of a wealthy Plovdiv family from the end of 19th century, a Koprivshtitza and a Rhodope room. The refined tables, chairs, sofas, and armchairs in the two parlours add to the exhibition and create variety and coziness in it.

Musical Instruments and Ritual Properties

There are 5 400 exhibits preserved in this stock. The main collections are: gramophones and gramophone records, shepherd’s pipes, martenitsa (twined tasselled red and white thread, symbol of spring and health), and Easter eggs. The phonograph from the first Plovdiv Fair, the street organs, the pianos, the gramophones (some of them dating back to the beginning of 20th c.) together with the gramophone records represent the urban culture of the past century. Besides, the stock has a variety of folk musical instruments from the region available such as bagpipes, wooden pipes, shepherd’s pipes, rebecs, ocarinas, drums.
The stock also includes most of the personal archives of the renowned Bulgarian musician, orchestra conductor and musicologist Angel Boukureshtliev. This is the place where one can see the harmonium owned by Naiden Gerov from the early 1960s of 19th century. It was the first keyboard musical instrument delivered to Plovdiv for fashionable use.
The stock is presented in one exhibit hall.

Photo Gallery and Fine Art

The Fine Art Collection of the Ethnographic Museum consists of more than 100 valuable paintings, icons, statuettes, woodcarvings and metal figures. Authors’ names include painters like Simeon Velkov, Kosta Forev, Georgi Bozhilov – Slona, Dimitar Kirov, Kolyu Vitkovski, etc.
With its more than 2000 inventory items, the photo gallery possesses a great information potential of a subject to scientific interpretations and a source of illustration of the life in Plovdiv and Plovdiv region – portraits, clothes, architecture, style of living, festive rites, etc. Most of the photographs are black and white, mounted, and date back to the beginning of 20th century. Their authors were some of the most famous photographers of that time: K. Savov, D. Kotsev, A. Kolarov, A. Tomov, etc.

The exhibition includes the 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.

Ancient Plovdiv Architectural and Historical Reserve (The Old Town) is located in the Central part of the city of Plovdiv on the Three Hills (Nebet Tepe, Taksim Tepe and Dzhambaz Tepe) and covers an area of about 35 ha. It was formed due to the continuous life over the centuries – from Prehistoric, Thracian, Hellenic, Roman, Late-ancient, Medieval, National Revival, and Post-Liberation periods to present days. The combination of the prevailing Antiquity, Middle Ages and Revival in an independent core within the modern city is one of a kind for our country.

From the Roman and the Late-ancient period in the Old Town have been best preserved the Ancient Theatre, the Ancient Forum, the Roman Stadium, Early Christian basilicas, public and private buildings, pipelines, street network and parts of the fortress walls, constructed in the Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

From the National Revival period the authentic architecture of houses as well as several churches and school buildings have been preserved.The residential buildings are divided into two main groups. The first group of houses corresponds to the mountain asymmetrical type, but it has been expanded and enriched for the needs of the urban life. The second group is the so-called “Plovdiv symmetrical urban house”. This group of buildings is characterized by a unique national interpretation of the European baroque.

 

Ancient Plovdiv Municipal Institute

50, Konstantin Stoilov Str.

Director: +359 (0) 32 633 380
Requests for tour guides:

              +359 (0) 876 192 700

              +359 (0) 32 62 70 82 

Fax:      +359 (0) 32 62 71 32
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

            This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.oldplovdiv.com

The earliest settlements on the territory of the city are dated back to the 6th millennium BC. There were several prehistoric settlements on this territory, but the oldest and most important one was located on hill known as Nebet tepe.

Later here was founded the ancient Thracian city of Eumolpia. The excavated massive city walls surrounding a temple and an aristocratic palace are the major components, which characterized the settlements during that age. The oldest part of the fortress is made of large stone blocks without any connective substance /so called Cyclopes’ Construction/.

It is interesting to know when and where was the ancient town of Plovdiv founded. What is the place where the people settled and remained to live there for 8 millennia? This place is the hill known today as Nebet tepe situated on the hilltop plateau in the northern part of the three hills (Trimontium).

The earliest settlements on the territory of the city are dated back to the 6th millennium BC. There were several prehistoric settlements on this territory, but the oldest and most important one was located on hill known as Nebet tepe.

Initially the village was situated in a naturally sheltered and consolidated place on the front side of the northern hill. It gradually expanded towards the other hills to become the most significant Thracian city on the territory of Bulgaria. At that time the lands of today's Plovdiv were inhabited by the Thracian tribe Bessi. The scientists are still not sure if the name of the city at that time was Eumolpia or Pulpudeva.

In 342 BC Philip of Macedon conquers the Thracian settlement of Nebet tepe. That is the time when the Kingdom of Macedon started to dominate as the most powerful force on the Balkan Peninsula, to reach its peak during the reign of Alexander III the Macedon. During that period the name of the town was Philippopolis. After the 4th century BC the town grew and took its place as political and economic centre of Thrace.

There are different assumptions when the fortification wall was built around Philippopolis. According to some scientists the village became a city and was fortified in the early second millennium BC. There are suggestions that at this place existed a royal complex and religious centre. The latest archaeological research, however, give reasons to assume that Philippopolis became a city with urban architecture and look around the IV century BC.

During the Hellenistic period the town expanded to the East, mainly within the limits of the so called Trimontium – a massif of three hills. However, the recent archaeological researches provide evidence that at that time Philippopolis began to grow also towards the foot of the hills. At Nebet Tepe are found ruins of dwellings and fortifications dating from this period.

In the 1st century AD Philippopolis was included in the limits of the Roman Empire. As a result, its significance as a political, economical and cultural centre of the province of Thrace was reinforced. In this period it became a metropolitan city – a district centre. There were the meetings of so called koinon trakon – the general assembly of the Thracians, with representatives from all settlements in the province of Thrace.

This was also the time when the city "climbed down" from the hills to the plain. This kept the urban structure typical for the cities that were founded before the period of the Roman Empire and further developed under its management: acropolis – a high spot on the three hills, a new town with orthogonal city plan, and a square (Forum) – the administrative and social centre with the most important public buildings situated around it.

The complex of Nebet tepe continued to play an important role as an element of the fortification system of the city until the 14th century, with lots of improvements and supplements during the Antiquity and the Middle Ages. A notable finding of that later period is a reservoir of 350 cubic meters.

Tsar Ivaylo Str.

tel.: +359 32634 008

Summer working hours: 9:00 – 18:00

Winter working hours: 9:00 – 17:30

Day for a free-of-charge visit:

First Thursday of each month – for students and retirees

 

This is one of the best preserved ancient theaters in the world. Built at the end of 1st – the beginning of 2nd century under Emperor Trayan, the theater was one of the major public buildings of the ancient Philippopolis. It is situated on the southern slope of Three-hills in the saddle between Dzhambaz tepe and Taksim tepe. In addition to theatrical performances it was used for gladiators’ and hunting games. It was active until the fifth century and had capacity of 6000 spectators. In 1981 it was partially restored. Now this site has been fully adapted to the Plovdiv’s modern cultural life and holds different types of performances with capacity of about 3500 spectators.

As one of the most important cities in the borders of the Roman Empire, Philippopolis has its own theatre, which nowadays shines upon the heart of the Old town as the only restored and functioning antique theatre in Bulgaria. According to the building inscription on the frieze architrave of the stage structure, the theatre is built between 114 – 117 year AD during the reign of Emperor Traian (Marcus Ulpius Traianus). Situated on the south slopes of the Three Hills, in the saddle between Taksim Hill and Dzhambaz Hill, the Ancient theatre is one of the most significant public buildings of Philippopolis, remarkable with its architectural representativeness and magnificence.

Accessible to visitors today, the stage has friezes and statues, while 28 rows of marble seats (of which 20 are preserved) had capacity of about 6000 spectators.  Inscripted on the seats, the appellations of the ten districts bear the names of deities and mythical heroes. Steep stairs separate the theatre into radial sectors. The playing ground (orhestra) is horseshoe-shaped and its diameter measures 26,64 m. At the southern part stands a three-storey edifice, used by the actors (skene).

The honourary spectator seats are marked with the names of magistrates and notable citizens. A theatre loggia standed, for the emperor and thedignitaries, above the arched passage of the second rang seats . It was built with resources provided by the Gerousia (council of elders) of Philippopolis.

 The theatre combines stylistic features of the Hellenistic and Roman theaters. It was mainly designed for theatrical performances, but the great number of administrative inscriptions prove that the building was also used as a seat of the Thracian provincial Assembly (Кoinon). Here were held contests for poets, musicians, singers and town-criers, as well as battles against animals, and gladiator fights, a proof of which are the specific characteristics of the construction. It exists until the end of the IV century, when it is burned down.

Discovered and rebuilt by archeologists of Plovdiv in the early 80s of the XX century, the Ancient theatre of  Philippopolis is among the most important theatres of the Roman Empire period.

Nowadays this facility is the most emblematic monument of the ongoing cultural and historical continuity, carried through the ages on the Three Hills. Reborn for a new breath of life of functioning stage for classic drama, dancing and music, the Ancient theatre is a charming spiritual center of the city in which the today’s culture interacts with the intransitive values ​​of the past.

Roman Stadium  Sq.

The Stadium is located in a hollow between Sahattepe and Teksimtepe. With its impressive size (total length 240 m. and width 50 m.), the stadium had the capacity of 30 000 spectators.Now after a recent reconstruction it is reborn for a new life and the fourteen rows of marble seats are once more available to sit on. In the modern outlook of the city, the Roman Stadium of Philippopolis is located under the main pedestrian street. The north part of the stadium is accessible for visitors. You can also see a part of the city wall built in 172 under the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius and foundations of the Roman aqueduct of Philippopolis.

The Stadium of Philippopolis was built in the beginning of 2nd century AD during the reign Emperor Hadrian. It is situated in the Northern part of the fortified city surrounded by defence walls, in the natural terrain between Taksim Tepe and Sahat Tepe.

The facility, approximately 240 meters long and 50 meters wide, could seat up to 30 000 spectators.

According to the epigraphic and numismatic monuments games similar to the Pythian Games in Greece were held in the town. To honour the visit of the Roman emperor Caracalla in 214 the games were called Alexandrian while the games for the visit of emperor Elagabalus in 218 were called Kedrisian Games.

The games were organised by the General Assembly of the province of Thrace. In their honour the royal mint of Philippopolis coined money featuring the face of the ruling emperor as well as the types of athletic events held in the Ancient Stadium. A marble slab stone was found during the excavations of the sfendona proving that there were games celebrating the favourite man of emperor Hadrian – Antinous.

Athletes competed in two categories of age – men and boys. Agonothetes (organisers of the sport events) presided over the games. The latter started with a contest for criers and buglers. Sporting events were usually accompanied by music, poetry and art contests.

The spectators seats are tiered in 14 rows, crossed by stepped aisles down to the track. The seats are made of solid marble blocks and the front parts are decorated with stylized lion paws.

At Roman Stadium Square is exhibited the northern curved part of the Stadium (sfendona). Under the tiered rows of seats (cavea), a covered vaulted passage was found. It connected the track with a corridor dug in the terrain. The vault supported the royal seats above it. North of the corridor a section of the fortress wall built back in 2nd century AD was found. It had undergone certain readjustments in 3rd and 4th century AD. In the 4th century AD this area was crossed by an ancient aqueduct.

Like the other imperial buildings for spectacular events, the Ancient Stadium of Philippopolis had its seats of honour preserved by inscriptions in the marble blocks. Seats with Greek inscriptions were found, proving the existence of special seats for members of higher public position.

The main entrance to the Stadium is formed by masonry pillars decorated with marble pilasters and reliefs. On the pilasters there are busts of Hermes (hermai) with placed above them prize vases with palm sprays, accompanied by Hercules’ attributes – lion skin, a mace and a quiver.

There you can dive underground at the original level of the Ancient town. The space open for visitors includes a part of the track, the semi-circular part of the spectator seats (sfendona) and a panoramic wall with hypothetical reconstruction of the missing space of the facility. Some of the discovered elements of the Stadium are identified along the main street of Plovdiv.

The Roman Stadium was pronounced a national cultural value in 1995.

Knyaginya Maria Luiza Blvd.

The еarlychristian (small) basilica was situated in the Eastern suburbs of the ancient city. According to the plan it was a three-nave temple. There was an apse and a narthex. South of it a small chapel was built next to the northern part of the basilica a baptistery is attached /baptism hall/. The total length of the temple is 20m and its width is 13 m. It was built in the second part of the V century with a rich architectural decoration which includes marble colonnade between the naves, marble alter wall, pulpit and sintron. The floors are covered by colorful mosaics with geometrical motifs. The baptistery has a square plan, crusiform baptizing pool and polychromic mosaics. A deer, a pigeon and other Christian symbols were depicted on them. With the following design the basilica was functioning until the end of the VI century.

On the territory to the East and Northeast of the Forum (Agora) of Philippopolis in the years of Early Christianity were formed neighborhoods where several Christian churches were built. In the same area were found also the ruins of a synagogue - a unique building from that period.

The ruins of the Small Early Christian basilica were found during the construction works of ​​"Maria Louisa" Blvd.

The Small basilica is situated in the eastern outskirts of the Ancient city, next to the fortification wall with a tower from 2nd - 4th century AD.

The basilica has a central nave, flanked by two aisles. It is with one apse and with a narthex. A small chapel was built to the South and a baptistery is erected just next to the Northern aisle. The overall length of the basilica, including the apse, is 20 meters, and the width is 13 meters.

The basilica was built in the second half of 5th century AD with rich architectural decorations – marble colonnades separating the aisles, marble altar wall, pulpit and synthronos. The floors were covered with rich multicolour mosaic with geometrical motifs. The mosaic includes a panel with donor inscription. Remnants of an altar table were found.

After the building had been burnt down, it was reconstructed and renovated. The outer dimensions of the building were not changed, but the floor level was raised with approximately 0.70 m. The new flooring was made of bricks. The layout of the narthex, the altar wall and the pulpit were changed and a baptistery was added next to the Northern aisle.

The baptistery had a square plan, cross pool and polychrome mosaic flooring, where Christian symbols - deer, pigeons and others - were depicted. The basilica functioned until the end of 6th century AD.

Two donor inscriptions were found during excavation works. One of them was carved on the lining marble slab from the altar of the basilica. The other was shaped in the mosaic of red tesserae on white background, just opposite to the altar apse. It mentions "patrician" and "winner", but the name was erased. Probably it was the name of Basilisk, a Byzantine Emperor in 475-476 AD, and erasing it from the mosaic shows that it was made intentionally after his dethronement.

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