How To: Explore local museums
Plovdiv is a city located in the heart of Bulgaria, and is considered to be the oldest city in Europe. With a history dating back to the ancient Thracian civilization, it has been a cultural center for centuries and is steeped in history.
Plovdiv is a city rich in history and culture, and its museums are a testament to this fact. These museums showcase the diverse heritage of the city, from its ancient Thracian roots to its Ottoman past to its contemporary art scene. Whether you’re interested in archaeology, ethnography, or nature, Plovdiv has a museum for you. Here we go!
The Regional Ethnographic Museum
The Regional Ethnographic Museum is located in a beautiful 19th-century Ottoman house in the Old Town of Plovdiv. The museum showcases the traditional folk culture of the region, with exhibits of traditional costumes, household items, and musical instruments. The museum also features a reconstructed traditional Bulgarian interior, giving visitors a glimpse into the daily life of Plovdiv’s residents in the past.
Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00AM to 5:00PM
The Archaeological Museum
The Archaeological Museum is located in the center of Plovdiv and is one of the oldest museums in Bulgaria. It was established in 1882 and contains a rich collection of artifacts from the region’s Thracian, Greek, and Roman past. Visitors can see ancient ceramics, coins, jewelry, and even mosaics and frescoes from the Roman period. One of the highlights of the museum is the unique golden wreath of the Thracian king Seuthes III, which is considered to be one of the most valuable artifacts from ancient Thrace.
Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30AM to 5:00PM
The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is located in the central park of Plovdiv and is dedicated to the natural world. The museum showcases a wide variety of specimens, including rocks, minerals, fossils, and taxidermy specimens of local wildlife. Visitors can also learn about the local ecosystem, including the flora and fauna of the region, as well as the geological history of the area.
Monday to Friday from 8:30AM to 5:00PM | Saturday & Sunday from 9AM to 5:00PM
The Historical Museum of Plovdiv
The Historical Museum of Plovdiv is located in the city center and is dedicated to the history of Plovdiv and its surrounding region. The museum features exhibits on the city’s rich cultural heritage, including its ancient Thracian past, its Roman and Ottoman periods, and its modern history. Visitors can see artifacts, documents, and photographs that help to tell the story of Plovdiv’s history.
Monday to Friday from 8:00AM to 5:00PM
The Theatre Museum by Plovdiv Drama Theatre
This is the newest museum in the ancient city of Plovdiv. Opened on the 16th of February 2023, this museum takes upon the brave quest to track the steps of the Plovdiv Drama Theater dating back 140 years! With its modern design and interactive sections, this museum is a must!
Working Hours: As it is still brand new, the museum is not yet open to all visitors. We’ll announce the working hours, once an update is available.
Bishop’s Basilica of Philippopolis
The Bishop’s Basilica, also known as the Episcopal Basilica, is a significant archaeological site located in the heart of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The basilica is one of the most impressive and well-preserved early Christian complexes in the Balkans, and it serves as a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of the region.
The Bishop’s Basilica was built in the fourth century AD and served as the cathedral of the early Christian Bishopric of Philippopolis, the ancient name of Plovdiv. The complex covered an area of approximately 1,800 square meters and consisted of three main parts: the basilica itself, an atrium, and a baptistery. The basilica was built in the shape of a cross and had a nave, two aisles, and an apse. It was adorned with exquisite mosaics and frescoes, which are still visible today.
The mosaics of the Bishop’s Basilica are particularly noteworthy. They cover an area of approximately 800 square meters and feature intricate designs and vivid colors. The mosaics depict a variety of religious scenes, including depictions of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and various saints. The most famous of these mosaics is the one known as the “Christ Pantocrator,” which depicts Christ as the ruler of the universe.
The Bishop’s Basilica was in use for several centuries, but it eventually fell into disrepair and was abandoned in the seventh century AD. The basilica was forgotten for many years until its rediscovery in the early 20th century. Excavations began in 1972, and since then, archaeologists have unearthed a significant portion of the complex.
Today, the Bishop’s Basilica is open to the public, and visitors can explore the remains of the basilica, atrium, and baptistery. The site also features an exhibition hall, which displays some of the most impressive artifacts uncovered during the excavations. These include fragments of the mosaics, as well as ancient pottery, coins, and other items.
The Bishop’s Basilica is a must-visit site for anyone interested in the history of early Christianity or the ancient history of Bulgaria. The site offers a fascinating glimpse into the religious and cultural life of ancient Philippopolis, and its well-preserved mosaics and frescoes are some of the most impressive in the region. If you’re planning a trip to Plovdiv, be sure to add the Bishop’s Basilica to your itinerary.
Monday to Sunday from 9:00AM to 5:30PM
Small Basilica Plovdiv
The Small Basilica, also known as the Early Christian Basilica, is an important archaeological site located in the ancient city of Philippopolis, now modern-day Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The basilica dates back to the fifth or sixth century AD and was discovered in the 1980s during excavations in the city center.
The Small Basilica is smaller in size than the Bishop’s Basilica, but it is still an impressive example of early Christian architecture. The basilica consists of a nave, two aisles, and an apse. It was built on top of an earlier Roman building, which was likely a public structure such as a bathhouse or a forum.
The Small Basilica is notable for its well-preserved floor mosaics, which cover an area of approximately 150 square meters. The mosaics feature intricate designs and vivid colors, depicting a variety of religious scenes and motifs. The central medallion of the nave depicts the Four Evangelists, while the apse features a depiction of Christ in Majesty.
Like the Bishop’s Basilica, the Small Basilica was in use for several centuries before falling into disrepair and being abandoned. It was rediscovered during excavations in the 1980s and has since been restored and opened to the public.
Today, visitors can explore the remains of the Small Basilica and view its impressive floor mosaics. The site also features an exhibition hall, which displays some of the most interesting artifacts uncovered during the excavations. These include fragments of the mosaics, as well as ancient pottery, coins, and other items.
The Small Basilica is a must-visit site for anyone interested in the history of early Christianity or the ancient history of Bulgaria. Its well-preserved floor mosaics are some of the most impressive in the region, and they offer a fascinating glimpse into the religious and cultural life of ancient Philippopolis. If you’re planning a trip to Plovdiv, be sure to add the Small Basilica to your itinerary.
Monday to Sunday from 9:00AM to 12:30PM
In conclusion, Plovdiv is a city that is proud of its heritage, and its museums are a testament to this fact. From the Regional Ethnographic Museum to the Archaeological Museum to the Natural History Museum, Plovdiv has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or nature, Plovdiv’s museums are sure to delight and educate visitors of all ages.
With this in mind, join us in on our small journey across town and feel free to share any museums or places you feel that need to be on this list.