Words of Hermes, The Runaway Slaves, Lucian, 165-166 AD
The stadium of Philippopolis
And, by Jupiter! one of the greatest and
noblest [cities] in the whole country!
Its splendour is even conspicuous
at a distance. And the great river
that flows close under its walls
At the heart of today's city of Plovdiv lie centuries of historical layers. In order to reveal the true cultural value of the Stadium it is necessary to become closely familiar with the history of Philippopolis.
Plovdiv is one of the oldest cities not only in Bulgaria but in Europe. It had many names - Eumolpia, Puldin, Trimontium, Philippopolis. From the beginning of the first settlements in the VI Millenium BC the territory has been inhabited without interruption. Thus the city received the name of "The Eternal city of Bulgaria".
The Stadium of Philippopolis was built in the beginning of 2nd century AD during the reign Emperor Hadrian. It is situated in the Northern part of the fortified city surrounded by defence walls, in the natural terrain between Taksim Tepe and Sahat Tepe.
The facility, approximately 240 meters long and 50 meters wide, could seat up to 30 000 spectators.
It was pronounced a national cultural value in 1995.
The Ancient Stadium of Philippopolis is located under the main pedestrian street of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Its northern part is found at Dzhumaya Square. There you can dive underground at the original level of the Ancient town.
The space open for visitors includes a part of the track, the semi-circular part of the spectator seats (sfendona) and a panoramic wall with hypothetical reconstruction of the missing space of the Ancient stadium (video).
Some of the discovered elements of the Stadium are identified along the main street of Plovdiv.