Sofia: sights to see in the capital of Bulgaria

aleksandar nevski cathedral
aleksandar nevski cathedral

Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, is located in the western part of the country, in a wide valley at an altitude of 550 meters above sea level at the foot of the northern slope of the massif Vitosha, also accessible from the city center via the lifts located in districts of Simeonovo and Dragalevci.

Travel Guide Sofia

Sofia is one of the oldest capital cities in Europe, its origins date back to centuries. VII BC, when it was founded by the Thracians by the name of Serdica. The city is proud of notable religious Ottoman and Orthodox, in its historic center easily explored on foot, you will find the majority of sites of historical and artistic interest, while in the suburb of Boyana is the church of the same name with its precious frescoes, considered one the most complete and perfectly preserved monuments of medieval art in Eastern Europe. Note that Sofia has developed especially since the end of the century. XIX, so its appearance is mainly modern and there are buildings constructed on the Soviet model.

Things to do in Sofia

Aleksandar Nevski Cathedral
This magnificent cathedral was built between 1882 and 1912 in neo-Byzantine. The church, belonging to the Bulgarian Orthodox Patriarchate, is dedicated to Aleksandar Nevski, courageous and holy Prince of Russia in the thirteenth century. which is consecrated the central altar. The other two altars inside the cathedral are titled one in San Boris, the prince who brought Christianity in Bulgaria, and the other to the Saints Cyril and Methodius, inventors of the Cyrillic alphabet. The icon museum, located in the crypt, has more than 300 icons and murals that show the development of icon painting from the late ninth century until the late nineteenth century.

Boyana Church
At about 8 km southwest of Sofia, is one of the most precious treasures of Bulgaria. And ‘the small medieval church of Bojana, who after being closed to the public for 38 years, has been restored and reopened in 2000. And’ known for its frescoes of the XIII century, depicting scenes from the Bible and the lives of saints. And ‘listed as World Heritage by UNESCO.

Banya Bashi Mosque
Once there were 70 mosques in Sofia, but today this is the only functioning. The name means many baths, in fact out there are the remains of the ‘hammam, turkish bath original. It ‘was designed in 1576 by ​​the greatest of all the architects Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, who also built the Mosque of Sultan Selim in Edirne and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. The most beautiful part of the mosque is the domed ceiling, which has been restored to its original design after the fall of communism.

Baths of Sofia
The plant is located in front of the mosque and was built between 1911 and 1913. Nearby are the natural springs of hot mineral water, a place where the locals go to fill their water bottles, especially in winter.

St. Sofia Church
The city got its name from this church dating back to the sixth century, built on the site of previous buildings. Under Ottoman rule was converted into a mosque, were destroyed the original frescoes of the twelfth century and was added to the minaret. It was later damaged by earthquakes and after the liberation, in 1878 it was restored and reinstated as a church. The renovations began after 1900 and reported the Basilica to the ancient forms.

Rotunda of St. George
This building was built in the fourth century as a Roman temple. A careful restoration has revealed three layers of exquisite medieval frescoes that decorate the dome, hidden by plaster over the five hundred years of Ottoman rule. St. George Rotunda is surrounded by excavations have unearthed the ruins of Serdica Roman era.

Central Synagogue of Sofia
It’s the largest Sephardic synagogue in Europe. Designed by Austrian Grünanger, the Spanish-Moorish-style building was built on the model of a synagogue in Vienna that was destroyed by the Nazis.

Jewish Museum of History
The small museum located behind the Central Synagogue of Sofia, houses a permanent exhibition on the history of the Bulgarian Jews during the horrors of World War II and the extermination of six million Jews in Europe by the Nazis.

National Gallery of Art
The building that now houses the gallery was the residence of the Tsars. Inside you will find the largest collection of works by Bulgarian artists and numerous medieval paintings.

National Archaeological Museum
The Museum is worth a visit just for the building that houses it, a large stone building dating from the fifteenth century, which was a mosque in the Ottoman era. Most of the pieces of the museum are of Thracian, Greek and Roman, there is also a mosaic rescued from the floor of the church of St. Sophia.