PLOVDIV (ancient Philippopolis), city in the S. central part of Bulgaria. During the Byzantine rule, the Jews lived in a special quarter. Under the Turks, their quarter was known as Orta Mezar. During the 16th century, there were some Sephardi Jews in the town; they engaged in commerce. During the 18th century, the rabbi was Judah Sid (d. 1815), the author of Ot Emet (Salonika, 1799) and Ner Mitzvah (ibid., 1810–11). He was succeeded by R. Abraham ibn Aroiio (1750–1819), the author of the responsa Mayim ha-Ḥayyim (ibid., 1846–64). Plovdiv was the seat of the regional assembly of Eastern Rumelia, an entity established in 1878 by the Congress of Berlin; some Jews played a role in the assembly's proceedings. In 1912, there were 3,000 Jews in Plovdiv and in 1938, 6,000. In 1895 a Yishuv Ereẓ Yisrael society was founded. At that time Joseph Marco (Marcou) *Baruch published there, in French, Carmel, which was the foremost Jewish-national newspaper of Bulgaria. From 1901 Ha-Shofar, the bulletin of the Zionist Organization, was published in Plovdiv, and from 1924 the Zionist headquarters was situated there. The Jews of Plovdiv were engaged in commerce and crafts. Later they opened some factories. During World War II, in 1943, an expulsion decree ordering all the Plovdiv Jews to leave Bulgaria was issued, but it was not carried out. In 1967 there were 1,000 Jews, dropping to 500 in 2004, affiliated to the local branch of the nationwide Shalom organization.
Ubicini, in: Revue de Géographie, 3 (1880), 6; J. Nitzani, in: Reshumot, 5 (1953), 25–50.