Bunardzhik tepe is one of the most interesting hills (tepe means hill in Turkish) in the city of Plovdiv. It is the second tallest hill with its 234 meters and it has a spectacular 360 degrees panoramic view. With its multiple attractions and monuments, it draws people in. It only takes between 20 and 30 minutes to get from the foot of the hill to the top. In the meanwhile, you will feel like you are on a hike in the mountain, surrounded by a beautiful forest which can provide some sweet escape from the busy boulevards around and all the city noise. Most importantly, during Plovdiv’s hot summer, you can find some shadow and fresh air.
The Bunardzhik tepe is also known as the Liberators Hill because on a terrace just under the top of the hill is situated the Monument of the Russian Liberators. It was put there back in 1881 to honor the Russian soldiers that died for the liberation of Plovdiv. That happened in the Russian – Ottoman war a few years prior, which led to the liberation of Bulgaria in 1878.
Around the monument, you can find little plaques with names. Each of those names is of an astronaut who has planted a pine tree in this area. A curious tradition that dates back to 1961 when Yuri Gagarin – the first man to go to outer space, planted the first pine tree on the hill. That is why nowadays the place is known as the Alley of Astronauts.
On the top of the hill, there is another important historical monument – the one of the Unknown Russian Soldier. It is also known among the people as Alyosha, which is short for the Russian name – Alexei. In fact, the monument is modeled after a real person – Alexei Ivanovich Skurlatov, who was a Ukrainian soldier serving the USSR army during WWII. He even visited the monument in 2007 for its 50-year anniversary.
The monument is emblematic for the city as its height of 10,5 meters makes it visible from many city areas. An interesting detail is that the statue itself is situated in such a manner that it is facing towards the Russian capital – Moscow. On at least two occasions the city authorities have sought to remove the statute. First, it happened in 1989 – after the fall of the Socialist regime in the country. Then – two years later, in 1991. It is definitely a place to see!
The name of the hill – Bunardzhik, actually comes from the Turkish word “bunar” which means a well due to the multiple water sources and cascades, one of which you can find down the hill. During Roman times, an aqueduct distributed water between Bunardzhik Hill and nearby Sahat tepe. This comes to show that Plovdiv was a rich and important city as not many European cities at the time had aqueducts that were quite expensive to build! Although the original didn’t survive, nowadays you can see a wonderful recreation of it at the foot of the hill, right next to a children’s playground.
While you are at the foot of the hill, you can search for the monument of our national hero – Vasil Levski. The person responsible for the organization of the so–called “secret committees”. That was an elaborate organization throughout the whole country that was preparing a national uprising. Unfortunately, the revolutionaries got betrayed and the uprising started before they were ready. It remained in history as the April uprising. And became the reason for Russia to declare war to the Ottoman Empire, which ultimately led to the national liberation.
At the foot of the hill, there is also a summer theatre which often hosts concerts and theatre performances. You can find out more about their program on their FB page.
The Bunardzhik Hill was declared a landmark in 1995 and remains a favorite spot for both locals and tourists.
Photo on the cover: Dimitra Lefterova
Author: Free Plovdiv Tour Guide – Nikolina Mihaylova