Let's look at the differences between the capital and the second largest city in Bulgaria through a fantasy analog

This article begins with a comparison that all fantasy fans, and especially fans of the Lord of the Rings series, will surely unravel. Everyone else can consider it a foreword.

Imagine for a moment that the Trajan's Gate tunnel is like the Black Gate, and beyond it in the north, the darkness and shadows... You recognize Mordor, right? And on the other side is the Shire, where everything is bright and green. We urge you not to accept everything literally because we just want to bring you into the world of fantasy... for a while.

The first fact, however, is an undisputed truth, namely that time in Plovdiv is almost always a season better! In other words, the moment you go through the tunnel, the sun starts to shine, a warm breeze blows and the temperature is a few degrees higher.

If we compare the two cities in distances, we can declare that Plovdiv is much more compact and easy to walk. Even the congestion, however large and unpleasant to us, doesn’t have much to do with Sofia. To put it briefly, trips from one hour to the office in the morning and evening are rare!

Plovdiv offers variety without being crowded. Here even in the central areas, it is relatively calm. Yes, there is a parking space problem, but not on a scale like the one in the capital.

The city under the hills is cozier. It is a common occurrence after working hours that cafes and restaurants are filled with people. They are walking around, drinking an aperitif before dinner, and relaxing after a long day. Not only the Main Street and Kapana are full of life, but even if we get into the neighborhoods, it will be hard to find a place to sit or even a bench in the park, especially in good weather.

Plovdiv is defined as a "city to live", while Sofia - as a place where you can do business and work. The city under the hills doesn’t lack dynamics and opportunities but there is no such tension and hurry that is often felt in the capitals.

Trakia district still has no number, but on the other hand, we have at least 6 Oasis complexes. We don’t have Boyana and Dragalevtsi, but Markovo (often referred to as Plovdiv’s Beverly Hills) and Belashtitsa - are worthy competitors. Vitosha is not close to us, but there are the hills where the views of the town are equally mind-boggling.

After the Unification, Plovdiv declined to be the capital in favor of Sofia and perhaps that is the reason that even today it is able to combine the advantages of the big and small city.

People of Plovdiv are not offended when the Sofia citizens characterize them as a province and rarely pay attention to their foolish remarks about the maynas. On the other hand, we can’t deny that about 200 000 Plovdivianslive in the capital. In Sofia salaries are at least 30% higher, there is a bigger choice of schools and all kind of activities, and a better club life.

We leave it to you to judge whether the Lord of the Rings comparison is appropriate because we from the team of the Plovdiv guide think that both cities have their advantages. We are glad when the citizens of Sofia arrive to relax in the city under the hills and decide to get lost in its secrets and on the other hand, we are delighted to visit the rich program of events and presentations that find their place daily in the Sofia calendar.