The Collection

Plovdiv Archaeological Museum boasts one of the richest collections of 100,000 artefacts related to the history of Plovdiv and its region as an heir to one of the biggest and most famous ancient towns in the Balkan Peninsula.

During the Eneolithic Age and the Bronze Age (V - I millennium B. C.) several settlements existed on the territory of today’s Plovdiv, situated around the seven rocky hills and the Maritza river, which provided suitable natural conditions of living. In the second half of the Ist millenium B. C., upon the Three Hills (today’s Nebet, Dzhambaz and Taxim hills) a considerable in size Thracian settlement was established. In the IV c. B. C. it grew up into a town with solid fortified walls, paved streets and sewerage system. The further expansion of that Thracian settlement into a real town was typical for settlement development all over Thrace and resulted in the building up of a fortified royal center (the so-called „tursis”), located on Nebet hill.

The centuries-old existence and development of the town in ancient times went along with a number of changes in its name during different historic periods. The name Poneropolis, dating from the middle of IV c. B. C., was first mentioned by the ancient Greek historian Theopompus in relation to the campaigns of Philip II of Macedonia (359 - 336). The same name was also used in the written sources of Plinius and Plutarch.

The name of the town, most frequently mentioned in the annals, however, is Philippopolis. It appeared in writing for the first time in connection with the campaign of Philip V (220 - 179) in Thrace, as described by Polybius. The name Philippopolis stuck and stayed longer than any other name, being all too frequently mentioned in the historical chronicles of some Roman and early Byzantine historians like Tacitus, Lucian, Ptolemaeus, Plutarch, Dexippus and Jordanes. In written sources the name also appeared as Pulpudeva and Evmolpia.

In the III c. B. C. a „tursis” was built on the top of Nebet hill to house the main altar of the town made of clay. Each corner of the altar used to have a coin inlaid, bearing the image of the main God of the town, Heracles, as well as the sacred animal - the Taurus. It also had the name of the town as Odrysae (WDRISWN ).

During the Roman period (I – IV c. A. C.), Philippopolis became the biggest town (metropolis) in the province of Thrace. The majority of the town’s public buildings have been excavated and thoroughly examined: the theatre, the stadium built for approximately 30,000 people, the forum, several early Christian basilicas, a synagogue, a number of public baths.