Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Drangiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Plans enough to dig out Philippopolis (Bulgaria)

Few people are aware that modern Plovdiv is one of the oldest cities in Europe as its origins go back some 6,000 years. It was conquered by King Philip II of Macedonia who changed the Thracian name of Eumolpia into Philippopolis, meaning “the city of Philip, in 340 BC.

Very few remains from those days have been revealed so far and what we see today is mostly Roman. In 46 AD Emperor Claudius made it “the largest and most beautiful of all cities” as Lucian tells us. The most important military road in the Balkans, the Via Militaris, passed right through Philippopolis, the major communication line between Belgrade and Byzantium. Roman times led to flourishing commerce and monumental constructions of which so far the theatre is the best known example.

In recent years many new excavations have been carried out and slowly the Roman city is rising from its ashes as archaeologists have been able to locate and partly expose many public buildings like the Stadium, Treasury, Baths facilities, Odeon and other structures around the central Forum. A defensive double city-wall has been found and an excellent water and sewage system has been established.

Lately, the archaeologists’ attention has focused on the area around the Forum which was built at the time of Emperor Augustus, probably in part on top of an older Hellenistic Agora although this is not yet entirely certain. This Forum however covers a surface of 11 hectares, arguably one of the largest Roman Forums of the country. On the eastern and southern side we find the known Theatre and the Stadium, while the western and northern sides were occupied by a series of shops connected to the Forum by a ten-meters-wide Stoa. Meanwhile the Propylaea, defining the entrance to the Forum have been located and need excavation.


Unfortunately, under the communist regime of the 1970’s a concrete post-office was built smack in the middle of today’s excavation site and this is not helping in reconstructing the city’s past. It is in this area that the Odeon has been dug out next to a theater that is smaller than the existing one. Plans are made to remove some modern buildings, including the post-office, in order to create an archaeological passage between the different monuments – but the matter is evidently subject to a lot of red tape.

For now, finds seem to be limited to smaller items like Roman and Medieval coins, tiles with theatrical masks, Roman bowls, cups, amphorae and other pottery, some glassware, and vessels used in religious ceremonies.

No wonder that Plovdiv is running to become the European Capital of Culture in 2019.

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