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Lokomotiv Plovdiv

Ground: Stadion Lokomotiv

Visits: 1

Date: 23rd July 2017

Match: Lokomotiv Plovdiv - Levski Sofia  0-0  (Parva profesionalna liga)

Attendance: 1 650

For Sunday I had two options in the Parva liga. Either stay in Sofia and go to Slavia Sofia v Botev Plovdiv or go to Plovdiv for Lokomotiv Plovdiv v Levski Sofia. Last year Slavia Sofia had to play their home games at the national stadium. This year they are allowed to play some games, those during daylight, at their own Stadion Slavia. My choice was to be Lokomotiv Plovdiv v Levski Sofia though. Plovdiv is European Capital of Culture 2019 and knowing there would be some interesting sightseeing I decided for Plovdiv. From Sofia it takes just over two hours by bus to reach Plovdiv and shortly after 1pm I was at the (southern) bus station in Plovdiv. Temperatures would reach 35-36 °C today and the heat was felt as soon as I stepped out of the bus. Stadion Lokomotiv is a 8-minute bus ride from the bus station and having booked a hotel next to the ground I was pleased with the logistics this warm Sunday. Once I had checked-in I had lunch at the hotel before making the (very) short way to the ground. I bought a ticket for the main stand and was pleased to find an open gate. The groundsmen were resting/sleeping in the main stand and didn´t mind me walking around taking pictures. In this heat I can fully understand they needed a rest after working hard with the pitch, which looked in a great condition. I then headed towards the city centre for some sightseeing.

The history of Plovdiv spans more than eight millennia. The numerous nations that lived here have left their traces on the twelve-metre-thick cultural layers of the city. In 72 BC the city was seized by the Roman general Marcus Lucullus but was soon restored to Thracian control. In AD 46 the city was finally incorporated into the Roman Empire by emperor Claudius and it served as metropolis of the province of Thrace and gained city status in the last 1st century. In thos times, the Via Militaris, the most important military road in the Balkans passed through the city. The Roman times were a period of growth and cultural excellence. The ancient ruins tell a story of a vibrant, growing city with numerous public buildings, shrines, baths, theatres, a stadium and the only developed ancient water supply system in Bulgaria. Many of those are still preserved and can be seen by tourists. Today only a small part of the ancient city has been excavated. Doing a lot of walking in these temperatures took its toll on me and once back at my hotel I fully enjoyed the AC.

Having already taken pictures of the empty stands I only arrived back at Stadion Lokomotiv some 30-40 minutes before kick-off. It was still 32 °C but at this ground it was possible to but water inside the ground. Stadion Lokomotiv was opened in 1982 and initially had a capacity of 24 000. In 2004 part of the stands collapsed and nowadays capacity is 9 000. There are plans to rebuilt the ground to a modern football ground but I doubt that will happen anytime soon. As was the case yesterday this was a poor game with few chances. Both sets of fans created a good atmosphere though with non-stop vocal support. I don´t think pyros and smoke bombs are allowed in Bulgaria but in the second half the home end was literally on fire. The actual game ended 0-0 and as I was about to leave a massive fireworks display was set off behind the far stand. I was back at my hotel before 11pm and the next day I travelled from Plovdiv to Sofia, from Sofia to Belgrade, from Belgrade to Copenhagen before arriving back home around 10.30.

Sightseeing pictures from Plovdiv

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Plovdiv - European Capital of Culture 2019

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Street in the city centre

Fountain.JPGFountain

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Mosque

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Foro Romano

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Foro Romano

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Ancient theatre

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Ancient theathre

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Pano

Pictures from Lokomotiv Plovdiv v Levski Sofia

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Sporting complex Lokomotiv Plovdiv, entrance

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Lokomotiv Plovdiv

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Stadion Lokomotiv

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North Stand

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East Stand

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South Stand

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West Stand

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Players and officials entering

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Kick-off

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North Stand

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Lokomotiv Plovdiv fans

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Pyros

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View of play

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East Stand

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View of play

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Levski Sofia fans

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Fireworks

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Pano

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Pano