The Temples of Plovdiv
Full round trip around the main temples of Plovdiv. During the tour you will learn about the history of ancient religions in Europe's oldest populated city, as well as with the emergence and development of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities under the hills.
Explore the most impressive churches (Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant and Armenian) and mosques. You will hear interesting stories about the life and rituals of different religious and ethnic communities in Plovdiv.
• Get to the most ancient and glorious Orthodox temples - St. Constantine and Helena, St. Sunday , St. Marina, Saint Petka Stara and St. Dimitar.
• Discover the ancient Roman mosaics of the Little and the Great Basilicas.
• Feel the Catholic Heritage in the Cathedral of St. Ludwig
• Visit the Armenian Church Surp Kevork, which holds a fragment of the Holy Cross
• Immerse yourself in the world of Rotating Dervishes in the only surviving original temple
• Take a look at the Ottoman splendor that is the Dzhumaya mosque
The oldest populated city in Europe since the dawn of mankind is home to thousands of cults and religions, almost all of which have disappeared. Plovdiv has almost always been a cosmopolitan city, in which different ethnic communities and chains are harmoniously coexisting. Local residents have always remained convinced that the gods love them. In the temples under the hills prayers were made by legendary saints and philosophers, priests and divine heroes, Roman emperors and popes, Orthodox kings and patriarchs, sultans and caliphs.
Already in 156 AD. the ancient Greek poet Lucian describes the dialogue of the Greek gods flying over Philippopolis, where Hermes exclaims to Heracles: "I swear to Zeus, Heracles, this is the largest and most beautiful of all the cities! True, far from its beauty is its beauty. And a huge river passes by it, touching it very close. "
In the different historical layers of the city are found temples, altars, images and statues of hundreds of deities and immortal heroes. The ancient Thracians honored Kendrissos, who later merged with Apollo, whose main temple was on the top of Djendem. In different epochs, the chief gods of the city were Dionysus, Asclepius, Apollo, Hermes.
Since ancient times, Plovdiv has been the home of Christ's faith. The gospel under the hills brings in 37 AD. Holy apostle Erm, one of the disciples of the Apostle Paul. Since the antiquity, the ruins of the Great Episcopal Basilica (IV century) and the Little Basilica (V century), which are today applying for entry into UNESCO with their remarkable mosaics, have remained. At the same time, near the dead place of the 38 Saints martyrs in the Old Town, the present temple "St. Konstantin and Elena ".
The remains of the ancient temples coexist with impressive Orthodox churches in the Old Town, rebuilt and decorated in the early 19th century. Thanks to them, as well as the established schools, Plovdiv became the capital of the Bulgarian National Revival and the National Liberation Movement.
One of the most beautiful buildings in the city is the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Ludwig from the middle of the XIX century and the Gothic Evangelical Church at the foot of the Sahat Tepe. Armenian Church Surp Kevork ("St. George") at the foot of Nebet Tepe is also one of the old and richly decorated temples. It contains a fragment of the Holy Cross, as well as the relics of John the Baptist and Nicolas the Wonderworker.
At the foot of the Triangle, the Ottoman rulers built remarkable mosques in the middle of the 15th century, two of which are now the monument to the Muslim community, the Dzhumaya (Friday) mosque and the Imaret mosque. They are exquisite examples of early Ottoman architecture, and inside they contain valuable frescoes.
Another of the lesser-known pearls of the Old City is the temple of the Order of the Rotating Dervishes of Ghelaladin Rumi, which was erected in the 16th century. The halls of Mevlevi hane are preserved in their original form and make it only of their kind in Bulgaria.
In the lands near Plovdiv, the Jews founded their village during the reign of the Emperor Caligula. Here is the oldest known synagogue in Bulgaria in the third century. During the various persecutions in the West, larger and smaller groups of Jews settled in the city throughout the centuries.
The beautiful synagogue was built in 1886-87 and keeps the vivid memory of the nationwide WWII feat of rescuing the Bulgarian Jews from sending them to the camps of the death of Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, the temple today is not accessible to visitors and is open only during the service.
During our tour, our guides will introduce you to the ins and outs of the different religious traditions in Plovdiv. As with the history of ancient myths, and with the modern dimensions of the Christian, Muslim and Jewish religions in the city.
Price per person
• For a group of 6 or more: 15 €
• For a group of 2-5: 20 €
• For a single tourist: 30 €
• Free for kids under 16
Inclusions / exclusions
The price includes
• Tour guide
The price does not include
• Entrance fees
Visitors are advised to wear comfortable shoes – the tour involves walking through the cobbled streets.
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