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Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East

Writer Jessica Ackerman: Planning a Trip to Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Although many people do not immediately think of Bulgaria as a top vacation spot, it is actually a great place to visit or live. If you are living in Bulgaria on either a short or long term basis, you owe it to yourself to visit and enjoy a few of its cities. If you are planning a trip to Bulgaria, you'll find many things to see and do in Plovdiv. Here are a few of the sites and attractions you won't want to miss:

Beautiful Architecture

If you're interested in viewing some of Bulgaria's beautiful architecture, you won't want to miss seeing some of the churches. The Church of Sveta Bogoroditsa is a huge old church, standing grandly at the top of a set of stone stairs. It features beautiful murals and icons, and a stately blue and pink bell tower. It was originally built in 1844, and stands on the previous site of a shrine from the 9th century. The Church of Sveti Konstantin and Elena is the oldest church in Plovdiv. The current church, which dates back to 1832, was built on the former site of a Roman church. This beautiful church was dedicated to Constantine the Great and his mother. The church features painted iconostasis and beautiful frescoes. The Dzhumaya Mosque, which dates back to the mid 15th century, is another great architectural structure not to miss.

Museums and Galleries

You'll also find a number of excellent museums and galleries to visit in Plovdiv. The Ethnographical Museum is housed in a beautifully restored 19th century home, so you'll be able to enjoy the architecture in addition to the approximately 40,000 exhibits. The many exhibits include traditional crafting examples such as metalworking and weaving. You'll also find traditional musical instruments, folk costumes, and winemaking displays. If you're interested in the country's history, the Historical Museum would be a good choice. The Archaeological Museum features some of the most treasured artifacts in Bulgaria. It includes Roman and Thracian jewelry and pottery, along with icons, ecclesiastical artifacts, and various liturgical items.

If art is more your style, pay a visit to the Philipopolis Art Gallery, housed in the restored Hadzhi Aleko house. This private art gallery features the works of Bulgarian Masters from the 19th and 20th centuries. If you want to see contemporary works of art, the Center for Contemporary Art is a great gallery to visit. The State Gallery of Fine Arts, housed in an 1846 mansion, features works from the 19th and 20th century. Plovdiv actually has a thriving art community, which is apparent in the many art galleries located in the city.

Entertainment and Dining

No matter what your preferred form of entertainment and nightlife, you'll find something of interest in Plovdiv. The city has an assortment of various nightclubs, restaurants and bars. During the summer season, the Open-Air Theatre provides traditional dance and music performances. You can also enjoy opera performances at the Plovdiv Opera House. Plus, whether you're looking for fine traditional dining or something new and exciting, the restaurants in Plovdiv will not disappoint.

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