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10 Cities in the Balkans via Wayfaring With Wagner

If someone asked you to name the third oldest (continuously inhabited) city in Europe, would you have said Plovdiv, Bulgaria? More importantly, would you even have known that Plovdiv was a city in Bulgaria (or a city in general?!)? Plovdiv has the honor of not only being the third oldest city in Europe, but the sixth oldest city in the world. Some scientists actually argue that Plovdiv is the oldest city in Europe based on recent findings – older than Athens and Argos, Greece. It has been inhabited for at least the last 6,000 years, possibly even longer.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With WagnerPlovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner

While Sofia has more of a Russian influence, Plovdiv still retains much of its Roman roots. Plovdiv was originally settled by the Thracians (the native Bulgarians) but later invaded/conquered by the Persians, Macedonians, Celts, Romans, Goths, Huns, Bulgarians, Crusaders, Russians, and Ottomans. Quite a list, right? The majority of the city reflects its Roman heritage.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With WagnerPlovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner

The most lovely restaurant hidden away in Plovdiv. This porch provides wonderful views of the entire city, including the ancient Roman theater, one of the largest and most intact Roman theaters in the world. It is still used for plays, concerts, and operas. I didn’t get a chance to capture a photo of it because it was closed but you can see what it looks like here. It was only uncovered in the 1970s due to a freak landslide!

Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With WagnerPlovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner

The garden and outside area of a Bulgarian Orthodox Church. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside but we could take them outside on the grounds!

Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With WagnerPlovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner

I really need to work on my awkwardness in photos. Seriously, could I have posed any more awkwardly?! Not really sure what I’m standing next to in the photo but it looks cool and old.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With WagnerPlovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner

The Roman ruins overlooking the city of Plovdiv. The city was initially surrounded by seven hills and nicknamed “the City of the Seven Hills” but only six of the hills exist today.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With WagnerPlovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With WagnerPlovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner

Are you starting to get a pattern with all my jumping photos? Also, the lady in the fourth photo with me is one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. She and her husband both work at the Embassy and opened up their home to me for four weeks. Honestly, they went above and beyond to make sure I had a wonderful time and experience in Bulgaria. Emmania, I miss you!!!

 Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With WagnerPlovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With WagnerPlovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner

My impromptu photoshoot on top of the Roman ruins. If you’re on my Christmas card list, I can almost guarantee that one of these photos will make the cut this year :) Emmania just kept snapping away while her husband was off on the side making jokes. Half these expressions I had no idea she had captured until I downloaded them onto my computer! What a wonderful surprise :)

Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner
Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner

We managed to escape the ruins before the rain came pouring down! I think we were all drenched by the time we got back to the car. Thankfully, we made it back to Sofia in one piece (after having to get our car jumped on the way to Plovdiv!).

Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With WagnerPlovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner

I seriously can’t rave enough about Plovdiv or the entire country of Bulgaria. There is something so charming, yet authentic about the entire country. Do yourself a favor and go book a ticket to Bulgaria ASAP! If you’re looking for more specific details on what to see and do, check out this post for an in-depth Plovdiv guide!

Plovdiv, Bulgaria via Wayfaring With Wagner

Question: Where are your favorite Roman ruins located? I love the ones in the most unexpected locations (like Bulgaria!)

13 Comments

  1. Oh, this looks so much like Veria in Northern Greece (close to Thessaloniki). Not so trange as Bulgaria is just around the corner ;-) Love it!

  2. My first experience of Roman ruins was in Volterra, Italy, and the mystique of wandering around an old ampitheatre was AMAZING.

    (But if you want my favorite ruins, ever, that’s the Greek city of Tiryns. Walking down the ruined alleyways, I could a glimpse of what it was like when it was inhabited, for just a fraction of a second I was transported back in time. It’s incredible.)

  3. How neat! I had no idea about this little city – or that it’s one of the oldest in Europe! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Goodness, how amazing! I’ve definitely never heard of Plovdiv, but what an incredible history it must have. And it’s stunning too!

  5. I seriously had no idea that Plovdiv was the third oldest city in Europe! It seriously looks like the cutest town, and with all of the history I’m sure you could be there for days and not see everything!

  6. OMG – This is the town that my old gymnastics coach grew up in!! He wold always talk about how lovely it is. I can’t believe that you went there! Thanks for sharing a little bit of his past with us :)

  7. I have to (sadly) admit that I didn’t know Plovdiv existed. I’m so happy that you shared and now I know! :D I haven’t had the chance to visit Bulgaria yet, but I’ve heard great things and your pictures make it look beautiful!

  8. Pingback: 10 Cities in the Balkans Not to Miss On Your Next Trip to the Region

  9. That’s what my husband calls the ‘first day at school’ pose! Town looks interesting, heading in April, thanks for sharing.

  10. The Ancient Roman Theatre in Plovdiv is one of the best preserved/ restored Roman Theaters in Europe and even today it is a busy site for concerts and performances. Despite its relevantly small capacity (3,500 spectators) it has been personally chosen by Sting for two of his European concerts in 2018!

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