For the past year, Plovdiv was under the spotlights, being a European Capital of culture. This was a prize we were most proud of. But what did it bring to Plovdiv besides fame?
To begin with, we succeeded in renovating a great part of the city center. Since 2015 when Plovdiv won the title European capital of culture for 2019, we’ve turned this area of the city into a jewel.
Starting with Kapana district – the first arts district of Bulgaria. In the past, the ottoman marketplace was there – full of life and working artisans. Sadly with time it lost its function as the merchant center of Plovdiv and turned into a poorly maintained neighborhood nearby the pedestrian street. After the city was chosen to be the European Capital of Culture for 2019 Kapana had its revival. Now it has become a favorite spot for both locals and tourists.
We renovated many of the 19th-century houses around the main street and made sure Plovdiv will look even better than before.
Also, the central square turned into an exhibition of the ancient forum, excavating Roman streets and remnants of shops, temples, and buildings.
The economy of the city changed significantly, with many new businesses opening. Cozy restaurants and nice little cafes opened in the center. Big international companies invested and opened branches in Plovdiv. The second-largest city of Bulgaria became the fastest developing business center in the country. Manufacture in the food industry and IT were especially developed.
Plovdiv did not get significant growth in tourism, however, the quality of the services offered in the city did get significantly better. Therefore, it’s safe to say that in this aspect, being ECC paid quite well. Plovdiv got better functioning tourist centers, more knowledgeable tour guides. Also, better organization and coordination of events and more quality in managing the local museums. The cultural calendar has never been so rich, with literally hundreds of different events, festivals, bazaars, concerts, and performances taking place within the year.
Being a European capital of culture is not easy by any means. Everyone’s turned their sight on you. Expectations are always high. But what we excelled at the most is earning some experience, which is priceless. And now we are ready to work together (pun intended) for a better future for our favorite city – Plovdiv.
Author: Free Plovdiv Tour Guide – Iliya Iliev