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16 mai 2016
Oldest city in Europe, Plovdiv is today a fascinating place. Discover a city as historical as modern, located at the crossroads of the Orient.
Built way before Rome, radiant way before Athens, the city of Plovdiv is the oldest continuously inhabited city in Europe. Currently Bulgaria's second city in terms of population after the capital Sofia, the motto of his coat of arms has never sounded more accurate : "Ancient and eternal". Unfairly ignored, Plovdiv however sounds familiar to French ears. Located on the banks of the Maritsa River, this river was sung by Sylvie Vartan in 1968. But reducing this city to this melody, as sweet as it is, would be offensive for this birthplace of many civilizations.
Ideally located in the heart of the Balkans and on the ancient Via Diagonalis (road that would connect Rome with Constantinople), the village - cradle of the Thracians - whose origins are almost prehistoric, rapidly evolves in a fortified city known under the name of Odrissa (named after the powerful Thracian tribe Odrysae). Plovdiv had several names depending on the period and its occupants. Ponéropolis, Philipopolis, ... Trimontium alternately a Greek, Roman, Ottoman, Muslim, Orthodox and finally Soviet city, Plovdiv is an open history book.
From one street to another, architectural types vary from the Ottoman period to the Bulgarian Renaissance, through ancient Roman ruins or Stalinist buildings. The jewels of the seven hills city stand proudly in the city center: the ancient Roman stadium which hosted thousands of spectators and the Djumaya mosque (XVIth) one of the largest religious buildings in the country.
Still inhabited by an omnipresent past, Plovdiv is nonetheless a modern city focused on the future. From shopping arcades to busy cafes, Plovdiv boasts all the aspects of a trendy European city. Steeped in contemporary art scene, the Bulgarian city offers countless art galleries and street panels dedicated to street art.
The tourism zone historically based in Bucharest, Istanbul or Athens, is starting to expand to the cobblestones streets of the Bulgarian city. And as an ultimate example of the importance of Plovdiv in the World Heritage, the city has been selected to become in 2019 the European Capital of Culture.
Native from Plovdiv, as Hristo Stoitchkov, the Carré d'artistes artist of the week, Evelina Petkova is an unconditional lover of reality. Catching and recreating it forms the essence of her work. Using beings and the places surrounding them for inspiration, she transforms lovers, friends, and parents into timeless characters, peopling the mythology of the artist, its welcoming lands and large spaces. Between realism and symbolism, Evelina Petkova’s acrylic tableaus, created on Buckram with brush and knife, and stone sculptures take us to our most naked state, to nature filled with raw emotion, to our most stripped condition.