A Day at the Spa – History, Rest and Relaxation

Posted on Apr 23, 2016 in Bulgaria

Today was the only day on our trip with no wrestling scheduled so we planned a day at one of the most famous cultural sites in Bulgaria for a history lesson and a chance to test the curative powers of the mineral springs in Hisarya.

We drove about 45 minutes north from Plovdiv to the base of the mountains to get to the city which was founded thousands of years ago due to the hot mineral springs found there. Our first stop was the archaeological museum that showed the history of Hisarya from its pre-historic period, its time as a Thracian city, a Roman city and into medievil times through various artifacts uncovered on the site, models and diagrams.

Exploring the Roman bath complex in Hisarya.

Exploring the Roman bath complex in Hisarya.

The most extensive archaeological remains come from the period when Hisarya was a large and popular Roman resort town know for it’s hot springs and curative mineral waters. The Romans constructed extensive piping systems and bath buildings to bring the warm mineral water and cold water into the city. Our guide explained the technology the Romans used and gave us a tour of remains of an ancient bath complex.

We stopped at the public spring and sampled the mineral water for ourselves. Then we explored a Roman tomb 5 meters underground and received a lesson about the tomb construction and how it was used by its owners. We finished our tour by visiting the South Gate of the ancient city, also known as the Two Camels, where we could see the original Roman city walls, gate complex and remains of the barracks structures that housed the city’s garrison of soldiers.

Some of the boys getting a unique pedicure.

Some of the boys getting a unique pedicure.

After our history lesson, we got a chance to test the waters of Hisarya for ourselves. We visited the Hotel Augusta and spent time swimming in the pool and Jacuzzi filled with spring water. Some people scheduled massages and others received a unique pedicure treatment where small fish ate the dead skin and callouses off their feet.

When we were done relaxing at the spa, we drove back to Plovdiv where we spent time shopping for gifts, drinking coffee, and enjoying a Bulgarian cultural festival. Everyone had a chance to eat delicious gyros from a local shop for lunch. Downtown was packed with people so it was a fun environment to explore the real Plovdiv for a couple hours.

Coach Jon and Tyler enjoying our lunch in downtown Plovdiv.

Coach Jon and Tyler enjoying our lunch in downtown Plovdiv.

We wrapped up the day with dinner back at the Hotel Bardo and an early night so we are ready for an early Greco practice tomorrow and trip to local sights including a historic monastery.