The only bilingual digital guide under the hills will happily take you through its favorite small and secluded places, which often hide unadulterated charm and sometimes even real treasures. Such are the old Plovdiv street signs, which deserve to be studied and preserved for generations.
Plovdiv's history is multi-layered. Below us are Roman fortress walls, streets, buildings. There are medieval monuments around us, built a millennium later. We walk, shop or go to the notary, lawyer or doctor in 100-150 year old houses. Some more preserved, others not so much.
Part of history is irretrievably lost. Demolished houses or boulevards through archeology destroy memory forever. In the modern age, however, we can open an archival newspaper, an old map or other advertisement and see something quite familiar.
So, if today we open an old edition (and some are reissued), in which, hypothetically, a lawyer has an office at 17 Knyaz Alexander Battenberg Street, then in some cases we will know that this is the same place today. Because there is a chance that the sign indicating that this is the address is still there.
Unfortunately, as the most "lively" streets - such as the Main Knyaz Alexander Street, Stantsionna Street or Ivan Vazov and others are most often renewed in history, they have lost many of these material historical signs.
We can nevertheless find old signs in the most unexpected places - in small and short streets, such as Archimandrite Damascene.
Urban planning, especially during socialism, has put other streets in very unusual situations - with missing first numbers and starting with number 20, etc. Others have "eaten" numbers - Konstantin Stoilov Street, which starts from Dzhumaya Square and continues to Balabanov's house is interrupted in the middle - from number 35 we jump to number 47. Material memory for the name of the street is kept in a beautiful old house with a slightly blurred but still existing sign in the old spelling.
In fact, there are not many signs from before September 9 - probably a comprehensive survey of the city will find no more than 20 of them. But there are still some - from Vasil Aprilov, through St. St. Cyril and Methodius and Preslav, to Philip Makedonski.
The beautiful house on the corner of Lady Strangford and Antim I, famous for the neglected attitude of its owner - the Municipality of Plovdiv - and already falling apart, is important for another reason, thematic for the case. On Antim I Street, on its façade, is one of those slightly old signs from before 9 September. But not only that - on its other facade there was until recently an even older cast-iron Lady Strangford sign.
This type of signs are extremely rare and we almost don’t have an example of one in the city. In fact, three of them have disappeared in recent years. One of them was on the facade of a house on Sofroniy Vrachanski Street - today only through Google Street View can we remember the sign with the old, and in fact the same, name Episkop Sofroniy.
There was another on Metropolitan Panaret Street in the small house that opens onto the sidewalk near the East Gate. However, the sign disappeared during the last renovation of the house months ago. The third is Lady Strangford, which was later removed but kept by the mayor of the Central District.
All these signs - not only those in the old spelling, but also from the time of socialism, of which there are far more - are valuable and interesting. They also preserve a memory no smaller than the houses on which they are placed.