A Travellerspoint blog

Plovdiv: Start of the March holiday weekend

Plovdiv


View Teaching and Travelling Abroad on 3Traveller's travel map.

I'm typing this sitting in the wonderfully atmospheric common room at Hostel Old Plovdiv. The wooden ceiling is very high and has intricately carved leaves in the middle; this is a historic house, built in 1868 for a rich, local tobacco merchant. The whole hostel is filled with antiques, there are original Roman wall foundations in the breakfast room and right now I'm looking through the window at the trees, whitewashed wall and tiled roof in the courtyard. Church bells have just begun clanging nearby.

The hostel is within the historic Old Town;

IMG_5423.JPGIMG_5427.JPGIMG_5426.JPGIMG_5418.JPG

The journey here from Veliko Tarnovo took about four and a half hours, though that included a 20 minute stop somewhere in the middle of nowhere and half an hour at the bus station in the town of Stara Zagora. As soon as I'd arrived (at a different bus station I'd been expecting), found my hostel and checked in, I went for a walk around the Old Town. The sun was shining and my surroundings were so beautiful, I was filled with the joy of life.

The first place I went was only five minutes away; a hill called 'Nebet Tepe'. It has fortress ruins dating from Thracian and Roman times, the early Byzantine period and the Middle Ages. There isn't all that much left to see now, but still enough for a lovely wander round and some photos of the amazing views over the city. I really recommend this place for a visit. I could definitely see why a fortress was built here!

IMG_5431.JPGIMG_5437.JPGIMG_5433.JPGIMG_5442.JPGIMG_5447.JPGIMG_5449.JPGIMG_5456.JPGIMG_5460.JPGIMG_5465.JPGIMG_5470.JPG

After Nebet Tepe I walked round the corner to the Regional Ethnographical Museum. It's very picturesque, held within a very historic wooden building.

IMG_5478.JPG

There were hundreds of interesting exhibits - mummers' Carnival costumes; musical instruments such as clay and willow whistles, a harmonium, goatskin bagpipes, kavali (end-blown wooden flutes) and gadulki (long, bowed string instruments, possibly descended from the rebec); equipment used for winemaking, beekeeping, tobacco harvesting, rose oil and rosewater-making, weaving, embroidery, metalworking and other traditional crafts; traditional folk costumes of the region (many individual for a specific village); and many different black and white National Geographic photos from the 19th and first quarter of the 20th centuries.

A wander down to the main street followed the museum, mainly because I was starving (it was past three o'clock and I'd had no lunch yet). I tracked down a slice of pizza and saw part of a Roman stadium that was discovered beneath a shopping centre a few years ago.

IMG_5485.JPGIMG_5486.JPG

Next I went back to the hostel to put my feet up for a bit until it was time to return to Nebet Tepe to watch sunset - something I'd decided to do while I was there the first time. I settled myself by one of the fortress walls and stayed for about half an hour.

IMG_5492.JPGIMG_5490.JPG

At one point two women came up and one of them started throwing something out of a jar over the side of the wall; for a second, out of the corner of my eye, I thought she was throwing ashes, but then when I looked properly I saw it was purple or blue powder. She was talking and laughing with her friend as she did it.

After watching the sun go down I found a place to have dinner. The restaurant I went to was pricier than I was expecting, so I had to go for the cheaper options. I had a very tasty wild mushroom soup (broth-like, without any cream) as a starter and then some poached eggs in yoghurt and feta cheese sauce; the latter wasn't an option I'd seen anywhere before, especially in a dinner menu, but it tasted delicious and was more filling than it looked, too.

Church of Sts Konstantin and Elena, Old Town

Church of Sts Konstantin and Elena, Old Town

Posted by 3Traveller 02:40 Archived in Bulgaria Tagged museum hostel buses bulgaria plovdiv explorations roman_remains traditional_customs

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comment with:

Comments left using a name and email address are moderated by the blog owner before showing.

Required
Not published. Required
Leave this field empty

Characters remaining: