New archaeological studies have proven that in the 4th century BC, peope in Plovdiv were not only living on the Three Hills, but also on the lowlands around them. Excavations at the Eastern Gate of Philippopolis have revealed Hellenistic cultural layers that rewrite the history of the ancient city.
The Eastern Gate of Ancient Philippopolis has been subject to research for 40 years, but recent archaeological excavations in the western sector have surprised researchers.
Maya Martinova, archeologist: It has proved conclusively that the Hellenistic city evolved not only at the top of the Three Hills, but also down in the lowland, to the east of Nebet Tepe Hill, which is a great contribution.
The eastern gate is the most famous of the three entry-exit points of the Ancient Philippopolis, through which connection with Byzantion was made. It was built in the II century as a marble triumphal arch in honour of Emperor Adrian's visit to the city. Battle towers were later built on both sides to keep it from attacks. The gate has one central opening for vehicles and two smaller pedestrian passages. It is the start of one of the most beautiful antique streets in the city, with a width of more than 13 metres and colonnades and premises on both sides.
Maya Martinova, archaeologist: It is equipped with pedestrian walkways and on the street there are preserved tracks from the vehicles. This street was very busy.
The eastern gate is one of the most visited tourist sites in Plovdiv, located in the access to the Old Town. There is a conceptual design for conservation, restoration and exposure of the gate. Funding under European programmes will be used for its implementation.
It is intended that the place be enclosed, and the columns be raised in their authentic appearance as they were in the Antiquity. The municipality has already bought the neighbouring house where the tourist centre will be located.