Plovdiv is the European capital of culture 2019 and Thessaloniki was chosen for this title back in 1997. What else is similar between them?

Photo cover: By Greekman - Собствена творба, Public Domain, Link

At the beginning of the year, the digital guide under the hills found the similarities between Plovdiv and Rome, and today we continue our comparisons with another European city - Thessaloniki. An interesting fact is that the two cities have been sister cities for 35 years, and after deepening our search for similarities, we weren’t surprised at all why we feel so cozy in our southern neighbor and why so many Greeks prefer Plovdiv for their own weekend destination.

Plovdiv and Thessaloniki are respectively the second largest cities in Bulgaria and Greece. Although not capitals, over the years both cities have become important centers of historical and cultural importance for both economies.

Photo credit: By w:Подпоручикъ - my archive, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

It is an interesting fact that, as we, the people of Plovdiv, refuse to call Thessaloniki with its Greek name Θεσσαλονίκη (Thessaloniki), the Greeks call the city under the hills Philippopolis and not Plovdiv. And when we buried a little deeper in the origin of the names, we found another connection between the two cities. It is believed that Thessaloniki was named after Thessalonica, the daughter of Philip II, and one of the legends about Philippopolis states that Philip himself named it after himself because he did not suffer from unnecessary modesty.

In both cities, there are remnants of antique theaters, and here we can rightly be proud that the one in the European Capital of Culture is much more impressive.

Photo credit: By Fingalo - Собствена творба, CC BY-SA 2.0 de, Link

In Plovdiv, as well as in Thessaloniki, as cities founded thousands of years ago and resisted many attacks, remains of fortress walls can be found.

Photo credit: By I, Ωριγένης, CC BY 2.5, Link

The Church of St Dimitar is one of the biggest attractions in Thessaloniki, but in Plovdiv, we have a holy place of the same name.

Thessaloniki is a UNESCO-listed city of the world's cultural heritage, and very soon this honor is due to Plovdiv, which was presented with the basilicas.

Photo credit: By Ian Kehoe - Uploaded to en as en:Image:Thessaloniki Ladadika.jpg on July 31 2006., Public Domain, Link

Looking at footage from Thessaloniki and Plovdiv, we can’t fail to notice the similarities between two of their two neighborhoods, Ladadika and Kapana. After restoration, both are part of the entertainment areas of the city and in the past have been important shopping areas.

They are located on the periphery of wine regions - although in Greece as a whole wine industry is not as well developed as the Bulgarian one and wine is certainly not the most preferred drink, Thessaloniki mayor YannisBoutaris is an emblematic figure in the wine world of Greece.

Tobacco industry - both in Plovdiv and Thessaloniki, there are preserved buildings of old tobacco warehouses, the trend being to integrate them in the modern appearance of the urban environment.

After a meeting between the two mayors this year, it became clear that Thessaloniki would actively participate in the promotion of Plovdiv as the European Capital of Culture in 2019, even more so that Thessaloniki itself wore this title in 1997.