On May 23rd, citizens of Plovdiv officially celebrated the selection of their city as the European Center of Culture for 2019. Events included band performances, choral singing, traditional dances, speech from the mayor Ivan Totev and the release of 2019 balloons.
Our foreign students who study medicine in Plovdiv, Bulgaria also got to witness this once in a life time event. The European Center of Culture is a status given by the European Union yearly to a bidding city to promote the European culture. During this given year, the city will host many cultural events to promote not only the local culture, but also other European cultures.
Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria with a population of more than 350,000 people, has been preparing for this event since they applied for the bid. This can be evident by the numerous repair works going on around town in Plovdiv. The central park has been renovated with the modernization of the singing fountain and children’s playground.
Both young and old came out on May 23 to witness this event. The mayor urged citizens to be prepared to welcome tourists as they came to see the beautiful city of Plovdiv.
Plovdiv is one of the oldest continues living cities in all of Europe. Its history goes back more than 6,000 years and has changed names a couple of times. Other names of Plovdiv include Thrace, Philipopolis, Trimontium (three hills), Filibe, and Pulpudeva.
It is interesting for foreign students to witness such celebrations. While they prepared to spend six years in Bulgaria, it is of importance that they also get involved with their surroundings. They will still be present in Bulgaria by 2019 when Plovdiv will actually be the European Center for Culture. The presence of students from other cultures in Plovdiv is helping shape the landscape of diversity in a city that recently saw less of other races as residents. Citizens of Plovdiv already see Plovdiv as a multi-racial and multi-cultural melting pot.
There absolute need for more workers and volunteers in Plovdiv. Students who study medicine or dentistry in Plovdiv, and also other foreign students in Bulgaria have been called to volunteer free time and talents, to help with the various cultural programs that will be available around town.
Hopefully this status of European City of culture will bring harmony among the many cultures that live in this beloved city of Plovdiv.