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Plovdiv is one of the oldest centers of European civilization – older than Rome and Athens and a contemporary of Troy and Mycenae.
“…This is the biggest and loveliest of all towns. Its beauty shines from faraway…” – Lucian /2nd century/
The first settlement appeared in the sixth millennium BC on the northern hilltop /known as Nebet Tepe / of the Three hills.
Plovdiv emerged as a real town in the 12th c. BC. The ancient Greek writers ascribe the fame of being its first founder to the mythical Thracian king Eumolp, the son of Hemus and Europe. The town was built on the three hills /i.e.tepe/ that were grouped together – Nebet Tepe, Taksim Tepe and Djambaz Tepe.
· In the Thracian times the city was know as Evmolpia.
· In 342 BC, Philip of Macedonia conquered Thrace and Evmolpia was renamed Philippopolis in his honor.
· After Roman invasion Thrace became a Roman province with Philippopolis (Called Trimontium – i. e. The City of the Three Hills), as its most important city.
· After the Ottoman invasion of the Balkan Peninsula in mid-14th century, it was almost destroyed and renamed Filibe.
Many of important ancient monuments have been preserved on the territory of the Old Three Hills.
- Fortress Complex on Nebet Tepe
On the very top of Nebet Tepe, the remnants of the first prehistoric settlement on the Three Hills wa discovered. This settlement evolved into a town around the 12th c. BC. It has been established that this is the ancient Thracian town of Eumolpia that emerged as one of the first urban centers in South – Eastern Europe. Here one can see the fortress equipment from all ancient periods.
- The Ancient Stadium at Djoumaya Square /II c./
On the square west of Djoumaya mosque the imposing relics of Philippopolis`s Ancient Stadium were discovered. Parts of them ware situated below street level. The dimensions of this great sports facility are length 1000 Roman steps, width – 250 Roman steps. The Ancient Stadium accommodated about 30 000 spectators and was one of the most significant architectural works in Philippopolis.
- Ancient Philippopolis’s Forum /I a.d. /
The Forum (agora) of ancient Philippopolis is situate at the southern foothills of the Three Hills and is a remarkable architectural complex. It consists of a vast square space (area) with dimensions approximately 100 by 112 meters, covered with well-polished marble plates and surrounded by an arcade with Corinthian pilasters. The columns are set at regular intervals of six meters and support a broad awning that covers a traffic alley (ambulatio), next to which trade premises ware arranged. Thus, the whole space closes into a square by a single imposing construction.
Archaeological research up to now has shown that this is biggest complex of its kind discovered on the territory of ancient Thrase.
- Roman Mosaics
The most outstanding buildings in Philippopolis from the Roman period had richly decorated floors, usually with big mosaic compositions. Many mosaic floors of this kind have been found on the territory of the ancient town. The earliest mosaics date back to the 2nd c. but the findings of the 4th and 5th c. are the most numerous. Especially noteworthy is the floor decoration of a rich Philippopolis home that existed from the end of the 3rd till the end of the 5th c. Nearly 700 square meters of this remarkable building have been studied.
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