Old Town and the Ancient Theater of Philippopolis

Old Town Plovdiv 

We walked up to Old Town to see if we could get lost in the small alleys and streets. Dodging tour groups, we actually found some pretty amazing sites. We found the medieval gate Hisar Kapia built in the 11th century AD, one of the three entrances to the acropolis of ancient Philippopolis.  

We ventured up one of the hills, Nebet Tepe dating back to 4,000 BC where we walked through the remains of a fortress first settled by the Thracians. It was surreal to sit on top of the ruins of a fortress while looking out at what Plovdiv's future had become. Being one of the oldest constantly occupied cities in Europe, the past and present lay before your eyes.

Ancient Theater of Philippopolis

We missed Apocalyptica by four days. In 1996, they covered Metallica's music with astonishing accuracy, without vocals using only cellos.

That led me to look at other performances in town. The next poster was the Wiener Symphoniker. 

I glanced, made a joke and kept walking. After my search for summer concerts in September turned up blank, I looked up Wiener Symphoniker. Turned out the Wiener (Vienna) Symphoniker (Symphony) was performing in Plovdiv for the first time, ever. 

Not thinking too much about the venue, I started to look up ticket prices. $40 USD per seat, ouch.  I found out the venue was at the Ancient Theater of Philippopolis, one of Plovdiv's previous names.

So the Vienna Symphonic Orchistra was performing in Plovdiv, Bulgaria at an ancient Roman theater, we are definitely going!

I found the tickets through Eventim, a European Ticketmaster. 

As we walked down the steep travertine steps, I remembered reading how a landslide in the 1960's revealed the stadium and restoration quickly began. The sun was setting behind the clouded mountains in the distance. The air was cool, yet sizzled with anticipation. The idea of sitting in an outdoor ancient theater listening to arguably one of the best orchestras in the world sounds incredible. 

However, that feeling quickly fades as your ass numbs from the hard seats and you realize the entire orchestra is connected to speakers. The beautiful music somehow lost its depth, its life. The performance though was spectacular, as was the full moon rising in the distance. 

A rock concert would have, we'll rocked here, but I think we'll stick to concert halls with cushioned chairs and natural acoustics from now on. 


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