According to the traditional definition, a hipster is someone who is unusually aware and interested in new and unconventional patterns, an independent thinker. It could be related to culture, music, or politics.
Plovdiv is a famous hipster magnet mainly due to the Kapana district. However, the city’s hipster story actually beings much earlier with the Night of Museums and Galleries festival which was held for the first time back in 2005. That was one of its kind innovative event back then, the first “White Nights” in Bulgaria. The idea was for the audience to be exposed to culture and art in unusual ways during the evening and late-night hours.
Many museums and galleries worked for free gathering hundreds of excited people. The event had massive success and grew to expand to more events and other cities. Fast- forward to current times there are other similar festivals – The night of museums, Literature night, and others.
Plovdiv’s application to be the European capital of culture in 2019 is another event that has largely contributed to its hipster fame. The motto of the project was “TOGETHER” and the opening sentence of the project was – “Everything we are proud of in Plovdiv is problematic: history, diversity, culture, urban space, the sense of togetherness”. That’s why the people of Plovdiv and the authorities have worked together to improve the city.
One of the main events included in the proposed program was – “Mahala” (The Neighbourhood) aimed at breaking cultural borders with the roma minority in the city. “Urban Dreams” aimed at transforming public spaces with spontaneous artistic actions and restoration of cultural places. “River of imagination” aimed at incorporating the Maritza river more into the city’s life. Unfortunately, not all projects were completed but they gave a strong push to the development of the city.
Kapan on the other hand was one big success of the European cultural capital campaign. As we mentioned, Plovdiv is a famous hipster magnet mainly due to the Kapana district and its street art. The Kapana festival though is the cherry on top. It is held a few times a year and is a beloved event by both locals and tourists.
The event gives the opportunity to various local businesses to present their handmade products to a larger audience.
It also includes an accompanying music festival. Kapana fest is definitely one of the things to look for especially around Christmas. The festival has in fact grown so much that it can no longer fit in the tiny streets of the Kapana district and is instead held on the main street across the post office.
No article about the hipster subculture of Plovdiv can go without mentioning the amazing graffiti in the city. As part of the Plovdiv 2019 program and the cultural transformation, various artists have been commissioned to improve the city environment – not only in Kapana. They have done such an amazing job and Plovdiv’s graffiti culture is so rich nowadays that we have created a special separate tour dedicated entirely to that. You can join our free Plovdiv Graffiti Tour every Sunday at 11 a.m. in front of the City Hall.
According to the Urban dictionary definition, a hipster is someone who tries too hard to be different, so hard that in fact ironically it becomes like everyone else who are also trying to be different. Is Plovdiv guilty of that too? Definitely no – a Thracian, a Roman, a Byzantine, an Ottoman, a revival city… a truly ancient place. Plovdiv is a mixture of so many cultures that it can’t be anything else but unique. And the hipster side of it just makes it even more diverse and colorful.
Authors: Free Plovdiv Tour Guides – Nikolina Mihaylova and Adelina Kalapchieva