Bulgaria, Monday May 22 2017, Day 2
Giant Graffiti Murals
Apartment complex with massive full building murals By 140 ideas (?) graffiti collective
Bus to Plovdiv
- Possibly the first ancient city in Europe (but the tour guide cautions, “the Balkans' love to exaggerate”)
- Bulgaria's "second city", another cultural center.
- Climate suitable for many crops, mild winter and hot in summer (max 40C)
Much less infrastructure and income outside of Sofia. Corruption a problem. Big education reform under way. Two years of preschool compulsory and free.
Joined EU in 2007 (Schenken this year). Low cost travel -- 25 euro flights to Berlin. Lots of idea exchange. One reason Sofia is becoming so dynamic over last five-ten years.
Differences from Serbia? Yugoslav economy was Communist but not Soviet, much more open.
During Communist time, Bulgaria had excellent education system. Especially for languages. When transition happened, big brain drain, esp to Germany. Fear that Bulgaria will become a country of old people. It's the young and well educated that leave.
Difficult to open new businesses, tons of regulations.
Orpheus a major god of Thrace.
Thracians believe the entrance to Hades is a cave in the Rostov mountains. Orpheus goes to underworld to retrieve Eurydice. Can both leave but must not turn back, which of course he does. She's petrified he leaves alone. There's a spring in mountains which is his tears for her.
Ancient city of Trimontium (three mountains) First known as Kendros in Thracians, then Philipopolis when conquered by Philip (Alexander's dad), then a Slavic name that became Plovdiv
Maritsa river Vitosha range
Bulgaria is third after Greece and Italy in number of archaeological sites. The Roman road was uncovered under the center of the modern town.
Memorial of Orpheus
Old Plovdiv City Wall
Groups of Houses build behind walls Major wall is late Roman early Byzantine 4-6th century
Face of famous Bulgarian painter Sanko Lavrenov
Church of St Constantine and Helen
Beautiful icon wall behind pulpit, frescoes 18th-19th century
Painter Zlatyu Boyadzhiev
Had a stroke, could then only paint with left hand -- leveled up
Operational until 1940s Awesome array of old bottles Wood fired Distiller for making pure water Second floor Surgery equipment contributed by Plovdiv pharmacists -- so all original (not all from this pharmacy)
Pill maker Gelatin capsule maker Charcoal filter Pharmacy garden
Lunch at a former monastery
Whirling dervish monks -- Dance into devotional delirium (Monks No longer present) Monastery built into old city wall
Built in first c AD Destroyed by invaders in fall of empire 1972 earthquake hill slide revealed ruins of theater
2d century (Hadrian) Long, hosted fights and chariot races. Remains are one gate and partial ring of seats
Built in 1300s when Ottomans were conquering Bulgaria. Historical indications built on former church but no archaeological presence
Don't yet know what the buildings were. Have found coins dating to Roman times, vessels for storing grain, some graves from 5th c.
Statue on the hill Alosha
Nearby ruins are 2nd to 4th CE of a forum and small theater