Sofia for history and culture lovers

Sofia is a city that grows but never ages. Founded over 7,000 years ago, Bulgaria’s modern capital testifies to the country’s eternal bond between past and present. Monuments to its rich Thracian, Roman, Bulgar and Ottoman history rub shoulders with modem-day edifices of cosmopolitan city life. Over 250 historic landmarks and architectural monuments blend in with the city’s modern skyline.

Despite the presence of numerous ruins from various epochs, which attest to its long and colorful history, many of Sofia’s historic grandeur has been lost. Some of its most impressive architecture post-dates Bulgaria’s Liberation of 1878. Wide tree-lined boulevards house numerous buildings from the beginning of the 20th century. Sofia’s 12 centuries old protective fortress walls, straddle the city centers where remnants of the original Serdica settlement (2nd Century) still lie.

Major landmarks include the St George Rotunda, part of a large archaeological complex with rare Roman architectural features; the Sveta Sofia Basilica which inspired the city’s coat of arms; the Alexandar Nevski Cathedral, whose magnificent icons and frescoes are world famous; and the Boyana Church on Sofia’s outskirts – a listed UNESCO building – a fine example of Medieval architecture with unique wall paintings.

Other tourist attractions include: the Church of Sveta Nedelya, the Banya Bashi Mosque (16th century) and nearby Turkish baths, the Hall covered market and clock tower Synagogue, the National History Museum, the Sveta Petka Samardzhiiska Church, the Russian Church, the Alexandar Batenberg Square, the flea market, antique shops and cafes around the Kristal Square, the tree-lined Alexsandar Nevski Square, named after its famous Cathedral, and the international art collection housed in the St. St. Cyril and Methodius Foundation.

UNESCO Boyana Church
The famos church is located at the foot of the Vitosha Mountain in the Sofia suburb of Boyana. Its unique feature are the medieval murals. Even today, more than seven centuries later, they still stun the visitor with their beauty, expressiveness and deep humanness.

Beside saints and martyrs the unknown artist has also painted the figures of the donors – Kaloyan and Desislava and the royal couple King Constantine and Queen Irina. These genuine masterpieces of 13th century painting, created 200 years before the European Renaissance mark a remarkable peak in Eastern Christian Art.