Plovdiv - Ancient and Eternal


Have you ever heard about the sunny country of Bulgaria, situated in the most fruitful land of Europe? God has poured out here lavishly all his gifts – the sea, the rivers, the mountains, the valleys?

Have you ever heard about Plovdiv – the town, where after each of your steps you hear the echo of the thousands years of history? Where, over three hills, had spread out a town, even more ancient and charming? It's there, in this town, where the human voice and the music of different instruments are raising high over the noise and the vanity of everyday life and trying to sing better than birds, wandering off to the infinite blue sky. Because there, atop of three hills, the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts has been situated – at this place the history, the present day and the future go always together and make the inspiration for the young musical talents from Bulgaria, Australia, Asia, Аmerica, the countries of Europe.

If you haven't still heard about this place – WELCOME!

Plovdiv –a town that felt the extreme power of different centrifugal and centripetal forces. It has been defined as 'crossroads' in any historical document that mentions it; 'crossroads' – meaning it geographically as well as spiritually. It has been fated to be a crossroads for thousands of years. Thracians, Hellenes, Romans, Slavs inhabited these lands. The genes would combine to give birth to such a multi-coloured palette of spiritual values and …contradictions also.

One can find three different symbols of this history situated on three of the seven hills in the town. On top of Nebet tepe /hill/ there are remains from Neolithic age. On top of Sahhat tepe /hill/ one of the oldest clock towers in East Europe was built in the 16th century. On top of Bunardzhik /hill/ a statue of the Soviet soldier named Alyosha stays just next to the Russian monument that was erected in 1881 to commemorate the Russian tsar Alexander the First and the soldiers who died to liberate Bulgaria from Turkish yoke.

Here you might also be tempted by the view of the nearby Rhodopi mountains and the quietly flowing Maritsa river. But the real temptation is the history, the spirit of this town even older than the Eternal Rome. A town that is situated on seven hills. A town that has been defeated, destroyed, fired by Celts, Goths, Huns and others who had either passed through it as strangers or remained to continue living for generations. A town that has been restored and resurrected. And today different ethnic groups – a multi-faced community – live together here. And thus you face that polysemic cultural heritage.

Such elaborate historical alloy gives prerequisites for Plovdiv to be a cradle of numerous initial ideas and projects:

  • The first class school 'St. St. Cyril and Methodius' was founded here by Naiden Gerov in 1850. It marked the beginning of the modern secular education in Bulgaria;
  • Here on 11th May, 1858 the first celebration in Bulgaria of the day of the holy brothers Cyril and Methodius took place;
  • In 1855 Stanislav Dospevski organized the first exhibition of icons at Naiden Gerov's place. It turned to be the first art exhibition for Bulgaria;
  • Hristo G.Danov laid the foundations of the first Bulgarian book publishing, printing and distribution here, in Plovdiv, in 1855;
  • The first mass said in Bulgarian was in Plovdiv in the church 'Sveta Bogoroditsa'/ Mother of God/ in 1859;
  • The first theatre house in Bulgaria was opened in Plovdiv and there in 1881 the first performance was played for the audience. The event marked the beginning of the professional theatre in Bulgaria;
  • The first brewery opened after the Liberation, in 1881, it was the starting point for the Bulgarian brewing industry;
  • The first public park in Bulgaria was made by the court gardener and Sultan Abdul Azis' favourite Lucienne Chevalier in 1882 /some sources even claim 1879/. This man made miracles with the the town outlook at that time;
  • The first exhibition of artists is shown at the National library in Plovdiv in 1889. There were over eighty pictures by Ivan Markvichka and Anton Mitov;
  • The first congress in shorthand writing in Bulgaria was held in Plovdiv in 1892 following the initiative of Anton Bezenshek;
  • In 1892 the town became a host of the First Bulgarian agricultural and industrial exhibition with foreign participation. The director was the writer Mihalaki Georgiev. Nowadays the successor of this initiative is the Plovdiv International Fair.