Location and history The second biggest city in Bulgaria – Plovdiv is situated on the Maritza River’s banks. Its unique location on an ancient crossroad is the reason for the strong cultural and politic influence of the east and west civilizations. Although these agents the city has preserved its exclusive cultural identity. Plovdiv population is 345 000 people. The town covers a territory of 53 sq. m. from the flat Gorno-thracian lowlands on the both sides of the beautiful Maritza River. Characteristic of Plovdiv is the development of multibranched economy. The town is a center of a big number specialized in different spheres science institutes, high schools and universities, international fair, airport, financial-credit institutions, duty free shops, exchanges and cultural institutions. Plovdiv district includes 18 municipalities: Assenovgrad, Brezovo, Kaloyanovo, Karlovo, Krichim, Kuklen, Lucky, Maritza, Perushtitza, Plovdiv, Parvomay, Rakovski, Rodophi, Sadovo, Sopot, Stamboliiski, Saedinenie, Hisarya. All of them spread over a territory of 5972.89 sq. m. Within the district borders live 712 702 people, with average population density 119.84 people per sq. m. Over the district territory work more than 150 public institutions, their departments, and 1300 non-government organizations have been established. Plovdiv is one of the oldest towns not only in Bulgaria, but even in Europe. Its 8 millenniums old history dates from human civilization. The town is contemporary of the Troy and Mycenae. Plovdiv cultural-historical heritage is unique not only in Bulgaria, but in the world. Its historical, knowledgeable and attractive value is incomparable to no other town in Bulgaria. Its motto is not by chance – “Ancient and Ageless”. The favorable climate and geographical location have contributed to the Plovdiv’s rising progress throughout all historical epochs. From that area passes significant international main lines of communications, which in the ancient times had connected the East to the Europe, the Baltic to the Mediterranean, and Black Sea to the Adriatic. The six hills make the town special and extremely picturesque and beautiful.After the Bulgarian Liberalization from Ottoman servitude the cosmopolite Plovdiv as it was the biggest, rich and busy Bulgarian town was announced as the capital town of the new state. The Berlin contract however has destroyed all Bulgarians dream to have united and free country. Bulgaria was detached in two parts: Principality Bulgaria with capital Sofia and vassal province East Romelia with capital Plovdiv. Sofia was becoming state and political center, but Plovdiv keeps its natural statute of cultural center. Economics and investments In the early beginning of the ХХ century Plovdiv distinguished itself by an industrial and commercial center with very well developed light and food industry. Plovdiv and its region were the first in the country, which overcome the world giant economical crisis in the years 1929-1933. In 1936 the Fair in Plovdiv became a member of the International Fairs Union and soon it made its reputation as a structural section, stimulated the import and export trade operations growth. In 1939 there were 16 thousands craftsmen in the city and over 17 thousands workers in factories, mostly employed in the food and tobacco industries. Plovdiv is a main of fruits, vegetables and semi-manufacture exporter of Bulgarian economy. Today the main mission of the district strategy is: tourism development and sustainable economical growth supporting, creating new work positions and knowing better the cultural-historical heritage of Plovdiv city and its neighbouring settlements. Plovdiv is the first town in Bulgaria, which has prepared a long term plan in relation to the tourism branch priority and faster integrity in the European market. The second biggest city stands about the transforming it into perspective tourist destination by means of development of: cultural, business, sport, historical, wine and festival tourism. The Fair town in Plovdiv is the biggest in the whole South-East Europe. One of the most important structures facilitating the international business is the duty-free zone Plovdiv as an institution contributing to the specific city appearance. It was established in 1987 and gives excellent conditions to foreign companies and joint venture for installing, reinstalling or producing, as well as distribution and re-export, conservation, storing and foods treatment. In Plovdiv operates also customs terminal, specialized basically in process of heavy loaded lorries and railway carriages. In 1990 Plovdiv Trade Chamber restored its functions. It was established in 1985. Throughout the last years the Chamber intensified its international activity, as it had created contacts with similar chambers in Britain, USA, Greece, Turkey, Israel, France, Germany and Italy. There are Business Chamber, Chamber of Transport, commodity exchange, etc. The business activity coefficient is 55.4 % and the average value in the country is 46.8 %. Gross Domestic Product per one person of the population is 4305 leva in 2004, which is 88 % from the average value for the whole country. The services branch generates more than the half of the additional value, while the farming takes a relative small share. The city has good communicative, energetic, water supplies and infrastructure. Projects A big number of repairs of a large scale have started in Plovdiv since the beginning of 2007. In the Municipality program is planned the main repair of 256 streets, 8 boulevards, 2 bridges, as well as the construction of a new bridge over Maritza River. There are 10 million leva provided for the infrastructure repairs in the city. It is also planned a reconstruction of the old sewage system to be done; there will be installed brand new water mains, new curbs and asphalt covering. Together with the capital repairs over 200 streets will be patched or entirely covered with asphalt; some of the pavement will be arranged in full. The investments in new trolley bus and bus auto park are the criteria with high importance – 60 %. Development of the real estate market Average price for apartment is 505 Euro per sq. m., maximum 900 Euro per sq. m. in the central part of the city. The price of the houses differs depending on their location and condition. The newly built houses in the central part of the city cost between 422-740 euro per sq. m. and similar properties located in the edge quarters cost 256-547 euro per sq. m. Plot’s prices start from 353 -913 euro per sq. m. for regulated properties in the broad center of the city. In one of the most attractive residential quarters - Karshiaka, where the a lot of brand new developments appeared recently a regulated plot could be bought for a price from 82 to 1010 euro per sq. m. Near the ring road next to Plovdiv the prices for regulated plots start from 6 and reach 61 euros. The unregulated plots in this region cost round 6-40 euros per sq. m. In the central part of the city the difference between regulated and unregulated land is sensible. Trends Plovdiv is not only the second biggest city in the country, but the official statistics indicate that Plovdiv region has realized the second most active property market in Bulgaria for the last year. So far new buildings are being mainly constructed in the central part of the city, but now many investors are building in the outskirts. There are numerous possibilities for building housing complexes of closed type in the suburbs. The increase of the prices of properties in Plovdiv dropped behind the sharp increase in prices in the Capital, Varna, and the resorts during the last two years due to the huge interest in buying properties in the latter. Now the interest is growing again. It is expected that the prices will continue growing. The most sought-after supply in the central part of the city is lower due to the fact that the owners of apartments are having good profit of renting their properties out. Tourism and places of interest With its rich history and well preserved centuries old cultural heritage, Plovdiv has affirmed as an attractive for the visitors cultural and historical center. The city and its region have more than 7000 beds in over than 50 hotels, as well the camping, accommodations and hostels offer other 5000 beds. Main agent for the business tourism development is the Plovdiv Fair. During the international events the city meets businessmen from world known companies and corporations, which are special for the country and the tourist community in the town. The tourism in Plovdiv and the region develops mainly in the fields of the cultural, religious, balneological, congress and business tourism. Annually the city is visited by more than 150 000 foreign tourists. While the multiple sport events take place in Plovdiv the participants and city guests are served by the tour operator companies, which provide comfort and all needed amenities during their stay - from nights, nutrition and transportation to the attractive programs and recreational fitness. There are numerous geothermal springs in Plovdiv surroundings, and in their vicinity operate all year balneological resorts – Hisaria, Banya, Narechenski bani, etc. Plovdiv surrounding area is extremely rich with cultural-historical landmarks, which creates conditions for mountain, ecological, hunting and fishing tourism in the Rodophes; cultural-knowledgeable in the Asenovgrad vicinity (Assen’s Fortress, Bachkovo Monastery) and Hisarya (Rome Stronghold); balneological in Hisaria, Banya and Narechen, based on the great number geothermal springs; religious in Krastova Gora (Cross Woods) and the variety of monasteries in the Rhodopes and the Balkan’s foot. For those of the tourists who prefer rural tourism, the settlements round Pamporovo – such as Momchilovci, Stoikite, Shoroka Lyka give the chance to feel the atmosphere of the authentic rural lifestyle and to taste the national dishes. In Plovdiv and its region there are well developed tourist infrastructure and human potential, which will manage successfully to the high requirements of the contemporary tourism. Remains from the ancient and medieval times and buildings with oriental, baroque and Old Bulgarian elements form the central part of the modern town. The variety of styles is mixed with contemporary architecture. Plovdiv is a picturesque city with a lot of parks and gardens, museums and archeological monuments. Its old part, called the Old Town with houses dates from the Bulgarian national Revival period XVІІІ-ХІХ century. Actually it represents an impressive outside museum. “The Old Tow” is perched on the three hills of the ancient Trimontsium. In 1956 it was declared an architectural preservation area. From the central part of “The Old Town” you can see the walls of the fortress Filipopolis. Other attractions are the majestic Sahat Tepe and the clock tower built in the 16th century, the Bonardjhika and the monument of Aliosha, as well as the architectural complex Nebet Tepe including remains of an ancient Thracian settlement. There you can see one of the most spectacular views of the city – the Antique Theatre. Each summer the well preserved Roman theatre hosts many open-air concerts and plays. Plovdiv then turns into an international cultural home.Emblematic for Plovdiv are also: Roman Stadium, Philipopol’s Forum and many, many others. It is an interesting combination of contemporary architectural creations, modern buildings and the equipments with the ancient spirit and old-times appearance of Plovdiv. In the region it will be interesting for you to visit the Assen’s Fortress, the Thracians fortress Shtus (in village Sitovo), the revival settlements and sites main participants in the April Rising (Batac, Peshtera, Bracigovo and Perushtica), the fortress in Cepina near by Village Dorkovo and others. You will never be bored there. The big variety of museums, churches, archeological ruins, art halls, galleries, theatres, cinemas compete with different kinds and styles amusements, restaurants and attractions. The city hotels offer a variety and interesting options between all categories and styles accommodations and recreational sites. Except for the rich architectural-historical heritage Plovdiv is famous for its full of cultural events calendar – theatrical, folklore, and music show programs. It is a good basis for cultural and festival tourism development. A place you should not miss to visit is the Plovdiv Fair. Thematic collections of visitors from the whole country, local manufacturers from all the branches and products from all economic fields will surprise anybody of the city guests. Maritsa River with its presence has contributed to the mysterious and romantic appearance of the city. Besides it is a favorite place for the keen fishermen and the water sport lovers, there are numerous projects foreseeing to develop the potential of the Maritsa River as an eco-tourist and recreational site.
Nowadays Plovdiv remains the second biggest and significant city in Bulgaria, following the Capital. It is important strategically and main industrial, commercial, scientific, cultural and communicational center.