The City

 

The theatre of Roman Plovdiv. By the end of the 6th Century the ancient city in the plain was largely abandonedThe theatre of Roman Plovdiv. By the end of the 6th Century the ancient city in the plain was largely abandoned

 

The Barbarians eventually appeared at the gates of Philippopolis, in 251. The destruction they brought created a thick layer of ashes, still recognizable by archaeologists. The city, however, was soon to rise again. Extensive restorations were everywhere - on the streets, the public and private buildings, the fortification wall. The eastern part of the city in the plain became the neighborhood of the wealthy. They lived there in their spacious peristyle mansions. The hoi polloi were concentrated south of the foru

The tumult and the transformations of ancient society and economy in the 3rd Century influenced Philippopolis. The city's face changed. Notwithstanding the efforts, the city never regained its pre-251 grandeur. Construction was shabbier, and parts of older buildings - columns, marble stones and even altars - were reused in newer ones. Even the Hadrian's triumph arch was reused. It was included into the new fortification wall, this effectively becoming the city's Eastern Gate.

The city's face changed further in the 4th Century, after Christianity became the official religion. In line with the times, pagan shrines were turned into churches. As in the end of the 4th-beginning of the 5th centuries the flock grew, more churches were built. Places of mass entertainment, the theatre and the stadium, were abandoned and so were the public baths. In the middle of the 5th Century, the running water in the city stopped as the aqueducts were destroyed.

In the 5-7th centuries, as the Barbarian invasions continued, citizens gradually abandoned the city in the plane. It was too hard to defend. They again sought the security of the three hills, where the story of Roman Philippopolis had began.