Стария Пловдив

People of Plovdiv master the use of the word “gusto” to perfection. They say “gusto” when something is nice, pleasant, tasty, and good for the soul. The word “gusto” is a wonderful borrowed from the Italian language, expressing all the enjoyment of the taste of life that people of other cities have failed to achieve. It also suggests a cosmopolitan spirit, albeit an older one.

“Gusto” suggests a cosmopolitan spirit

Today this spirit is preserved in the peaceful culinary coexistence of several colorful diasporas in Plovdiv. If you are interested in their culinary history, specifics, and mastery, follow our website for our one-day city gastronomic tours – we will take you on-site to hear, see and try that “gusto”.

Turkish coffee

Plovdiv is the city of “aylyak” and fun, locals say. “Aylyak” is among the most popular Plovdiv slang. Literally translated from Turkish, it means “laziness”, but people in Plovdiv use that word for a special state of mind and body. Just chill, relax and enjoy life. Or that oriental feeling of a slow, sweet life that has its own rhythm and its own language. In Plovdiv, even on the busiest working days, pubs and cafes are full, and on Dzhumayata Square, beautiful local women sway on their high heels.

The men in Plovdiv, shrouded in clouds of cigarette smoke and cologne with a scent of leather, musk, and incense, wave their hands briskly along the Main Street, captivated by that epic serenity that makes Plovdiv a theme whenever it comes to pleasant places and a well-spent time. The restaurants in the Old Town, the coffee in a cezve, brewed on the sand in the small oriental cafe under the mosque, the restaurant gardens, surrounded by figs and vines, nostalgically attract everyone. This is also part of the philosophy of the multiethnic city – to bring together a Turk, a Greek, an Italian, an Armenian, and a Russian at the Bulgarian table.


To bring together a Turk, a Greek, an Italian, an Armenian, and a Russian at the Bulgarian table

Plovdiv has its own history of coexistence of these communities. In the end of the 19th century, Eastern Rumelia was an autonomous territory in Bulgaria, part of the Ottoman Empire, created in 1878 by the Treaty of Berlin. De facto its existence ended in 1885 when it was united with the Principality of Bulgaria. Before the Berlin Treaty, 573,560 Bulgarians, 174,700 Turks, 42,654 Greeks, and 1,306 Armenians lived in Eastern Rumelia. Tolerance is at the roots of urban society, and well supported by a dose of idealism in governance.

The interim governor-general of Eastern Rumelia, Gen. Arkady Stolypin issued an order in 1879 that “officials are not allowed to distinguish between Rumelia citizens according to their nationality.” If someone shows bias, he is considered an enemy of the country. Plovdiv is like that – colorful, tasty, and diverse to this day. In a series of articles, we will tell you about the cuisine of different ethnic groups in Plovdiv. Read us and join our delicious daily city tours. It will be “gusto”!

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