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Seven Hills

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Dzhendem Tepe (Youth Hill)

Dzhendem Tepe is the highest (altitude (ground level) 307 m) of the present hills (tepes) of the city. Its relative height compared to the average altitude of the city of Plovdiv (164 m) is 143 m. The hill is located in the southwest part of the city.

The Youth Hill is the first of the Plovdiv hills declared a protected territory. As early as 1970 the southern part of the hill with an area of ​​3 ha had adopted the status of a national landmark. Its aim is the preservation of the natural habitat of rare plant species, not typical for our flora, including Bulgarian and Balkan relict endemic tutsan, Astragalus physocalux, Genista rumelica.

In ancient times it was called the Hill of the Dryad Nymphs. There is evidence that a huge statue of Apollo in bronze stood on the top of the hill until Late Antiquity. In the early Christian era there was located a large three-nave basilica (object of study in the recent past by Plovdiv archaeologist Ivan Dzhambov), which was built on the site of the pagan statue demolished by the Christians. During the Ottoman period it was named Dzhin Tepe (the Hill of the Spirits), which gradually changed to Dzhendem Tepe. It was also called Chigdem Tepe (the Hill of Crocuses).

Bunarzhik (The Liberators Hill)

It is located to west of the central part of the city. With its height of 108 m it ranks second among the seven hills. Its name comes from the Ottoman word Bunar (a well), because of the numerous water sources. In Roman times it was known as the Hill of Hercules, as there is a large statue of the mythical hero. The hill is a favorite place for relaxation and picnics of Plovdiv citizens and it is declared a natural landmark. The first forestation was carried out alongside the construction of the Monument to the Soviet Army in 1881. In 1901 the first open-air restaurant, known for its ‘frog legs’ specialty, was built. After World War II the other monument known as Alyosha was erected, along with the Summer theater.

Sahat Tepe  (Danov Hill)

Danov Hill (Sahat Tepe) is located in the center of Plovdiv, west of the Main Street. In the first modern city plan, drawn by Joseph Schnitter, the hill was named the Hour Hill. Over time, there were numerous changes, the most serious of which was in 1812 (according to the Arabic inscription above the entrance). It is believed that in Roman times on the top of the hill there was a temple of Venus. Near the tower there is also a radio relay television station, built on January 18, 1956 (on July 1, 1960 it started airing radio broadcasts). Its altitude is 210 m.

The other three hills form the so-called Three Hills. There is situated the Ancient Plovdiv Architectural and Historical Reserve (the Old Town).

Nebet Tepe

The archeological complex of Nebet Tepe is recognized as a cultural monument of national importance. Remains of the first prehistoric settlement on the Three Hills, which in 12th century BC grew to become the Thracian city of Evmolpia – one of the first cities in Southeast Europe were found in it.The oldest part of the fortress was constructed without any kind of solder, with large syenite blocks in the so-called Cyclopean type of masonry. During the Hellenistic era the ancient Thracian Evmolpia expanded throughout the Three Hills and at its footstool, and the old habitation with the fortress Nebet Tepe became a citadel of the city acropolis, covering the highest parts of the three hills. From this period are the remains of the western fortress wall with the imposing quadrangular tower and entrance on its inner wall. Thick fortress walls surrounding the palace and the additional buildings are preserved there.

During a clearing of Nebet Tepe was discovered a unique postern from Roman times – a secret tunnel in the rock massif from of the northern wall from the time of Justinian the Great (6th century). According certain suppositions, Apostle Paul passed through it. There is a preserved staircase in the tunnel, which led to the right bank of the river. Historians believe that the Maritsa River ran through it in the past. The river’s bed had been so great that it occupied today’s Shesti Septemvri Blvd.

Storage reservoirs used in enemy sieges are also preserved. The rectangular water reservoir preserved until present times attracts people’s interest with its size and capacity of 300,000 liters.

Dzhambaz Tepe is a hill in Plovdiv, a component of the Three Hills. It is called like that because of the steep cliffs of the southeast, where acrobats and rope tricksters used to give their performances in the antiquity. At the foot of the hill is situated Ponedelnik /Monday/ market and in its southwestern slope is the emblematic Roman amphitheater, built in the beginning of the 2nd century AD during the time of Emperor Trajan (98-117), which hold up to 7,000 spectators.

Taksim Tepe is also part of the Three Hills.

Its name comes from the word taksim (Arabic for “distribution”), which refers to the place as a distribution center of the ancient city. The waters of the former Roman aqueduct were collected here and then they were released in different directions across the Three Hills. In the first half of Ottoman rule it was called Saray Tepe, because of the many remnants of former large buildings, palaces and homes. During the years of the Bulgarian Renaissance it was also known as Kesyakovo Tepe, named after patriot Todor Kesyakov, whose house was at the top of the hill.Hristo Danov’s house is built on the hill. In 1975 it housed the “Book Publishing in Bulgaria in the late 19th and early 20th Century” exhibition of the Regional History Museum of Plovdiv.

Markovo Tepe (Hill of Marko) was the seventh hill of Plovdiv. The hill was destroyed in the course of a period from the late 19th to mid-20th century and most of the pavement for the streets in Plovdiv was made of its syenite rocks. In 2005, a building contractor offered the construction of a 60-storey twin towers but the project was rejected. Now, in the place of Markovo Tepe, a large public and commercial building is being built. 

The old Plovdiv bohemians used to joke that the hill was called Markov because of the syenite extracted for pavement use, which was exported as expensive building material to Germany, and each pave stone was worth one Deutsche Mark.

Plovdiv symbolically regained its Seventh Hill with a project that immortalizes writers, who created their works in Plovdiv, with pave stones from the destroyed Markovo Tepe. There are several legends about the name of Markovo Tepe. According to one of them, back in ancient times Krali Marko (King Marko) was riding his horse Sharkoliya near Plovdiv when he heard cries and sobs somewhere in the distance. He climbed on top of a high hill, looked around and saw three chains of slaves. King Marko got angry, drew his sword and spurred his horse. The horse jumped on a lower hill and because of the strong shock its hooves made ​​four holes in the rock, and its belly – one bigger hole between them. These holes were visible on the hill before its destruction. It is not known whether they were of natural origin or traces of Thracian sanctuary.

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