Saturday, November 23, 2013

Plovdiv miscellany

Here are a few assorted things I've seen here in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, during the past week.

A house in suboptimal state of repair:

Another Islamic mosque a little off the beaten path (compared to the one in the middle of the main pedestrian zone):

On Monday Jacob, Phin, and I went running with two of the LDS missionaries here, Elder Mock and Elder Killpack. It was their preparation day. Elder Killpack is from Idaho Falls like I am! We ran to Mladezhki Halm, the highest of Plovdiv's hills:

On the way down we saw this part of the road, which looks pretty clearly to be where one or several cars had plowed through the short wall and off the cliff, skidding and tearing up the cobblestone on the way out:

Today Erin and I walked up Bunardzhika, the hill with the Russian soldier statue Aliosha on it:

In one spot there were 3 different types and sizes of cobblestones. I like stone roads and paths. On foot, at least.

There are some water collection and/or treatment facilities there with stern warnings to keep out or risk a fine. One was staffed (or at least a car was parked there) and had a watchdog in a little doghouse. The dog seemed bored and just looked at me when I walked up to the fence.

Note the date 1935 marked in stone above the sink to the left:

The sun was shy but came out sometimes today:

Here someone was camping out behind an apparently abandoned building:

Which was near some kind of interesting doorway to the great unknown (to me) in the hill we came down:

We then visited the Orthodox church Св. Св. Петър и Павел (Saints Peter and Paul), which was beautiful, but not to be photographed inside:

Erin then showed me the Roman ruins called Odeon near the main post office, which I hadn't yet seen:

In a main pedestrian shopping zone on a wall is this delightful Communist art celebrating buddy cities Plovdiv and Leningrad from 1980, with quite a quasi-angelic feel to it:

Finally back near our home we noticed an old town Plovdiv map that alongside Bulgarian is also in German, very unusual for this area:

The sign below it says it was funded by the German state of Sachsen-Anhalt.

Time for bed!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Небет тепе (Nebet Tepe)

It turns out that our house is at the foot of one of Plovdiv's three main hills, Nebet Tepe. From our front door, we walk less then ten minutes up stone paths and stairs ...

... to this:

It's hard to find information on the ruins there, but from what I've read, it's a mix of Thracian, Roman, and Turkish fortifications, the most recent of which is from the 14th century. It's a big open area on top of the hill and the kids had a great time climbing all over the walls and down into the various broken-down towers and even one short tunnel/archway that leads to the outside of the hill and more paths. It's awesome to be able to walk out the door and see such antiquity, and I'm kind of glad it's not all carefully restored and fenced off and restricted. I'm going there right now!

Plovdiv video

Here's a short video about Plovdiv and the surrounding area. It's in Bulgarian but has English subtitles. Everything it shows in the city of Plovdiv is 5 to 10 minutes' walk from our house!

Plovdiv @ Via Diagonalis - MOVIE - EN from plovdiv2019 on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Saturday with Aliosha in Plovdiv

Yesterday we all went for a walk into town and had a good time.

Some more graffiti for uncle Howard Gribble:

The Plovdiv Spiritual Seminary of Saints Cyril & Methodius (Пловдивска духовна семинария св. св. Кирил и Методий):

We were drawn by the distant sound of excellent Bulgarian folk singing into a political rally of the ГЕРБ party. During speeches there were frequent calls for оставка, which our handy mobile phone dictionary said means “resignation” — they were calling for the whole Bulgarian government to resign and apparently want new elections.

Then Erin and the girls walked home while Jacob, Phin, Seth, and I walked up the hill called Бунарджика (Bunardzhika), which has some interesting ruins on the side on the way up. It looks like maybe a 20th-century reconstruction of an aquaduct:

And a church I don't know anything about:

And some flowering prickly pear:

Near the top is a monument to Russian Emperor Alexander II, commemorating his role in Bulgaria's liberation from Ottoman rule in 1878:

At the very top is a statue everyone (even the maps) call Алъоша (Aliosha), a Soviet / Red Army soldier being praised for liberating the Bulgarians at the end of World War II:

The views out over Plovdiv and the surrounding valley were excellent, since it had rained the night before:

The boys pretended they were in an advertisement for clothes or yachts or something:

On the way down the other side there is an abandoned concessionary or cafe:

On the way home we saw an Evangelical Protestant church, a rarity in these parts:

Plovdiv cemeteries

The other day I visited the 5 main cemeteries of Plovdiv which are all clustered together. They're in this neighborhood:

Coming from the east, the first one is the Catholic cemetery (Католически гробищта):

This building says: „Вечен мир дай им, Господи!“ Google Translate renders that as: “Give them eternal peace, O Lord!”

Here are some interesting gravestones. Note the second one in French with the depressing poem.

Next is the Armenian cemetery (Арменски гробищта in Bulgarian, and I'll skip trying to transcribe the Armenian version):

Next the Общинско предприятие “Траурна Дейност” which Google Translate funnily renders as Municipal enterprise “Funeral Activity”:

In one corner of that same cemetery is the Jewish cemetery (which they call the Hebrew cemetery):

Then in a completely closed-off corner is the Turkish cemetery which appears to have closed in 1982, but is visible through a gate and a segment of the concrete wall that has fallen over:

Lots of interesting gravestones to read!

I also had my first real Bulgarian conversation in the wild here (not in the context of grocery shopping or church) with a friendly middle-aged man who just started talking to me.