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Friday, 08 July 2016

Antiquities in Plovdiv, Bulgaria - Page 3

Written by Richard Taylor
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By late afternoon I was climbing the Hill of the Liberators.  There was no old town here but a military monument, the statue of Alyosha, looming atop the summit, dedicated to the “Nation’s Martyrs.”  Flowers were jammed into its crevices, the media was out, police and troops stood on dress parade with their families and a local official called out names over a microphone.  One by one, small groups would come forward and climb the steps and drop garlands at the statue’s base.  Given the time of year, I assumed this was a Second World War commemoration, or The Great Patriotic War as the Russians would have it (1941-45 which conveniently leaves out the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact) and since this Alyosha was evidently a Russian soldier, this seemed a likely scenario.


There are several lookout patios at the summit although the city views are not especially entrancing – modern Plovdiv is pleasant but not architecturally distinctive but the Hill of the Liberators does offer a fine prospect of the distant Rodopi mountains and the city’s seven hills.  One hill is a bit of a runt, sliced and blasted and repaved years ago to make way for a mall.  They’re odd looking hills in any case, more like pingos, if my hazy recall of ninth grade geography is accurate, popping up from the valley’s pancake flatness almost as an afterthought, seven huge mounds pulled together by a giant rake.



But then how could it be otherwise in this strange, weirdly wonderful mish-mash of a town that confounds while it fascinates; disparate elements that shouldn’t really work together but strangely enough…..they don’t.  And it doesn’t matter.  




Roll with the punches then.  Did Plovdiv knock me out?  Perhaps not.  But it charmed me overwhelmingly on points.




©Richard Taylor

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