The Plovdiv Free Tour


Today, we are interviewing  Ivan Dzhamulov from Plovdiv Free Tour. Learn more about this great project, and other initiatives, such as the Plovdiv Graffiti tour, and the Kapana Art District tour!

1. How and when was the Plovdiv Free Tour born? Tell us about your first tour?

Plovdiv free tour meeting placeIn order to tell you more about the beginning of Free Plovdiv tour we need to get back to the year 2010 when the 365 Association was established. It all started with Free Sofia Tour and after our team in Sofia had gained enough experience they decided to expand and this is how Free Plovdiv Tour was officially born on the 13th of July 2012 when our first tour in Plovdiv took place. Of course, the idea about it appeared much earlier and bringing this project to life required a lot of preparation but we still consider the 13th of July as the date of birth of our beloved project.
Describing our first tour is quite easy and it can be done by using one word only- exciting. Exciting because we were launching a brand new tour in a new city, exciting because we knew that we and Plovdiv had the necessary potential but in the same time we knew that succeeding in this task would require tonns of hard work and full dedicaiton.
Free tour Plovdiv and Plovdiv Graffiti tour

2. Plovdiv was chosen to be one of the two European Capitals of culture for 2019, together with the Italian town of Matera. How did tourism change in 2019?

I believe that most of the members of our team share the opinion that 2019 is just a small part of a very long process that has just commenced and our city is just starting its development as a big tourist destination. We as and organisation (and I believe the same counts for the city) did not experience a huge growth in the number of visitors compared to 2018 but what we noticed is that in 2019 Plovdiv became more popular on a global level and also among the Bulgarians and we are about to get the benefits from that in the following years.

3. What makes the atmosphere in Plovdiv so different from this in the other big cities in Bulgaria?

Perfect weather conditions (of course, if the heath during the summer is not a problem for you), a lot of parks and green areas, a huge pedestrian zone in the city center, beautiful women and most importantly- everything in Plovdiv is moving at a slower pace. Come to Plovdiv, relax, don’t be in a hurry and you will still see that you can be efficient without stressing too much. 🙂

 European Capitals of culture

4. Which are the main landmarks, which could be seen during the tour?

The idea of our tour is to give our guest a good introduction to the history and culture of Plovdiv. This is why we have tried to include all of the main sights of Plovdiv in our walk which lasts around two hours (luckily they are at a walkable distance)- our meeting point is the Municipality Building (the Town hall) of Plovdiv, we visit the newest excavations around the Post office, the Odeon, the Ancient Roman Stadium, the Dzhumaya Mosque, the Kapana District and the rest of our tour takes place in the Old town with the Ethnographic museum and the Ancient Theatre as main highlights.

5. Can you tell us a story behind one of the off-the-beaten sites you visit during the sightseeing? 

I wouldn’t call it an off beaten site as it is located right next to the Ancient Roman Theatre and the Musical Academy but on our tour we stop next to the monument of a man who is not popular nowadays even among the locals- Aleksander Nikolov (the Sweetheart). A story of a an excellent musician with a good heart who was oppressed during the times when Bulgarian was a Communist Republic because of his beliefs.

6. Plovdiv’s creative district Kapana is among the favorite places of the younger travellers. Tell us more about your Kapana Arts and crafts tour.

The Arts and Crafts Tour was the second tour we started in Plovdiv. This project has had different phases and has undergone lots of changes. In the begging it was a tour that focused more on the history of the Kapana neighbourhood and the personal stories of the people who lived there. Now it is more of an interactive tour which focuses on the development of the local crafts and art and the people who practice them. But our goal remains the same- to attract more people to this beautiful neighbourhood and popularize it among the guests of Plovdiv and the locals.
Plovdiv's Art district

7. How do you explain to the tourists, what aylyak is? Are there tourists, who wish to adopt the Plovdiv lifestyle?

Aylyak- the art of doing nothing and enjoying it. Who wouldn’t like to adopt it after receiving such an explanation? 🙂

8. Which restaurants and souvenir shops do you recommend to your groups?

Throughout the years we have worked hard to establish a good relationship with the best places in Plovdiv which are suitable for our guests- places that we as locals would recommend. Listing all of them will not be possible but every visitor of Plovdiv can be sure that by joining our tour they will receive all of the necessary recommendations for a pleasant stay in  Plovdiv.

9.Do you organize any other tours? What are your future plans?

In the end of 2019 we started another tour- Plovdiv Graffiti Tour. It focuses on the street art in Plovdiv, its development and even includes information about the so called sgraffito art which was typical for the Communist times. Our plans for the future are related to enhancing our newest project (the Artst and Crafts Tour and the Graffiti Tour) and making our main project Free Plovdiv Tour even more popular and attractive. As soon as we have achieved this, we might consider starting some other projects too.Explore grafifiti in Plovdivi




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