Eastern Gate

 

 The relief of the health-bearing deities was found around the Eastern Gate, their temple was probably nearby. Plovdiv Archaeological Museum The relief of the health-bearing deities was found around the Eastern Gate, their temple was probably nearby. Plovdiv Archaeological Museum

The traffic was busy here. People living outside the city walls mingled with villagers heading for the market and with travelers coming from the bridge over the Maritsa which connected the city with Via Diagonalis. The temple of the health-bearing deities continued attracting worshippers. When Christianity took over, the stream of believers switched to the shrine of the 37 Philippopolis martyrs outside the city walls, on the road between the Eastern Gate and the bridge.

Most of the people walked, but many drove carts and chariots. Vehicles were abundant that their wheels carved grooves in the pavement. The traces are still visible today on the excavated area around the Eastern Gate, a telling memorial for the busiest street of Roman Plovdiv.

The Eastern Gate complex was discovered and excavated in the 1970s. During the centuries that passed between its abandonment and its discovery, many parts of it were used by later inhabitants of the great city. The inscription of Marcus Aurelius, for example, was found built into one of the mosques which appeared here under the Ottomans.