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Plovdiv History, Bulgaria

The city of Plovdiv is the second biggest after Sofia in the country of Bulgaria with a population estimated at around 380,000. In the past, the city was known as Philippoupolis and was just as significant as it is now. From an ancient Roman settlement to the present, Plovdiv plays an important role as a center of culture and economy. Learn more facts in Plovdiv History.

Plovdiv History – Ancient Times

Plovdiv is considered as one of the most ancient cities in Europe, even older than Carthage, Constantinople and Rome. Excavations and archaeological findings have proven that a recognized settlement already existed in the area as early as the latter part of the 7th millennium BC.

During the Bronze Age, Plovdiv was registered under the name Eumolpas. Philip II of Macedonia captured the city in 342 BC and named it Philippoupolis in honor of the conqueror. 72 AD brought new occupants to the city and again, its name was changed. The Romans called it Trimontium and made it the capital of Thrace. Soon after, it obtained a city status. During the Roman occupation, the city thrived and evolved as a significant center of culture.

Plovdiv History – Medieval Period

In the 6th century, the Slavs had completely occupied the city. Phillippoupolis was made one of the major border bastions of the Byzantine Empire right after the foundation of Bulgaria. The Bulgarian Empire conquered the city for a time but the Byzantines reoccupied it in 855 AD. The shift of power in Phillipoupolis between the Bulgarians and the Byzantines persisted until the 12th century. In the 13th century, the city saw a new power rise. The Latin Empire started its rule over Phillippoupolis in 1204. At this point, the battle for the city’s rule was between the Latin Empire and Bulgaria.

Another remarkable fact in Plovdiv History took place when the Ottomans from Turkey broke the swing of power in 1364 when they invaded Plovdiv. During their rule, the city was called Filibe. The colonizers made the city the capital of the province of Rumelia for a short while. Even under the Ottoman rule, Plovdiv still continued to fashion itself as a cultural and traditional center of Bulgaria.

Plovdiv History – 19th Century

Throughout the 19th century, Plovdiv underwent significant political affairs. It became the focus of the province of Eastern Rumelia’s Bulgarian National Movement. It also played a significant part in the great effort for Church liberation and in the resistance with rulers like Joakim Gruev, and Nayden Gerov. In 1878, the city was freed from the Ottoman rule in the Battle of Plovdiv.

After the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire, the country made Plovdiv its capital since the latter was the largest and most pulsating city of the former. However, due to some disagreements from Austro-Hungarians and British, the Congress of Berlin was established and this caused the country to be divided into several provinces. Plovdiv became a part of the autonomous region of Eastern Rumelia and served as the latter’s capital. In 1885, the city became the witness of the foundation of a secret committee that aimed to unify the divided Bulgarian provinces. The committee was successful in unifying Bulgaria and East Rumelia.

Plovdiv History – Recent Events

After the union of Bulgaria, Plovdiv's significance to the country came in just second to Sofia. However, this did not stop the city from persisting to develop. It progressed as a chief center of industry and commerce. Not even the two world wars could stop the city from evolving into an economic power.

Today, Plovdiv persists to work for its economic and cultural expansion becoming one of the key cities in Europe. For more information about the continent, check out what Thessaloniki History offers.

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