One of the places in Plovdiv that was settled quite early is the area between the two hills - Bunardzhika and Sahat. Today, we most often refer to it as the "Grape Market", but it used to be called Gul/Gyol Bahcha. In fact, the dispute over the pronunciation of its previous name is quite old. Locals rather advocate for roses (gül), since in the past Bunardzhika was surrounded by rose gardens, among which the neighborhood arose. Their opponents claim that the houses were built on a former swamp, hence the name "gyol" (puddle).
Once, all the streets there were paved with cobblestones, with the exception of the paved Preslav Street. The Fire Station and the Grape Market formed the central axis of the place, and the old Turkish name of the market that was held there was Emish Pazar (Turkish: Yemiş pazar - "Fruit Market"). The Plovdiv Fire Brigade moved to the old Turkish chiflik on Preslav Street at the end of the 19th century. Right there in the administrative building is the museum corner of the firefighters. On the first floor, you will be able to view the special photo exhibition with archival footage of iconic fires and firefighting competitions, prepared for the 130th anniversary by all the press photographers under the hills. The archival collection on the second floor of the regional directorate building stores helmets, uniform emblems, awards, thematic publications and a hook which the firefighters used centuries ago. An old firefighter's bell hangs on the wall of the inner passage from the courtyard. It’s unknown from which year it is.
During socialism, the square was renamed after the founder of the women's socialist movement in Bulgaria - Vela Blagoeva. However, in local consciousness, the place remains the Grape Market to this day. And grapes were sold there when Ruski Blvd. was the ring road of Plovdiv.
In the 50s and 60s of the last century, the central bus station of the city was also located in the neighborhood. The shop premises opposite the square housed the waiting room, the ticket office and the traffic controllers. After that, this activity was moved to Yug bus station and the square was named Preslav.
Later, one of the cult establishments under the hills was built in the vacated premises. The "Quiet Corner" pub, where the intellectual elite of Plovdiv gathered, quickly became so famous that it served as a landmark for directions. It always featured quality drinks served with great appetizers, but most memorable were undoubtedly the visitors.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the first exchange offices in Plovdiv were opened on the square, which is the reason why the place is often mentioned in criminal chronicles.
Today, it is one of the most central locations under the hills, in close proximity to Main Street and the hills, but at the same time quite quiet and peaceful to live.