Plovdiv has always been known as the City of the seven hills and therefore compared to Rome. Currently, only six remain, as Markovo Tepe was demolished and a large shopping mall was built in its place. But how many were actually the hills in ancient times and do we know their exact number? That’s what we’ll try to uncover today.
There is evidence that in the middle of the seventeenth century, the Turkish traveler Evlia Chelebi passed through Plovdiv. He not only passed but also left a detailed description of the city, which, however, puzzles us today. According to him, there were not seven but nine hills in that time. It turns out that most of the researchers also mentioned nine hills in Plovdiv. To the famous seven peaks at that time, they added the demolished Kamenitza and Laut Tepe.
The fate of Kamenitsa hill (Petrenica) is famous - it was completely destroyed in 1882 and Kamenitza Brewery was built in its place. Laut Tepe is mentioned only by the researchers. The historian Kozmas Apostolides wrote that it rose 172 meters above sea level, in an Austrian map from 1903, 173 meters are noted, and in the Bulgarian map of the past century 177, 9 meters are marked (ie the hill was high almost 17 m). According to experts, the core of the hill was a rare type of andesite, which is only found in two places in Bulgaria - in Plovdiv and near Vitosha. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the hill was almost untouched. Its destruction began with the building of the artillery barracks. After 1915 the last remains of the rocks of the hill were paved on the roads of Krumovo and Asenovgrad, and in 1932 the Plovdiv airport was solemnly opened next to the hill.
In his description, Evlia Chelebi also mentions Valeli Tepe. At that time there was a neighborhood with the same name. This meant that the hill was in the outskirts of the then town. The Greek historian, Kozmas Apostolides, suggests that this is the "Northwest Branch of Nebethepe", from which only the memory remained in the twentieth century.
Specialists list nine hills, but in the map of the German engineer Hochstetter in 1869 Danov hill is counted not for one but for two hills. The southern peak is termed Toplatepe (from top, ie a cannon). And indeed, from this place, there were celebrations with gun salutes. The northern peak is referred to as the Sahattepe (ie, the Hill of the Clock).
And how much were the hills actually? It is easiest to say, according to the documents we have - ten, of which six remain to date. But do we know how many of them may have disappeared in ancient times?