Sofia in Bulgaria is one of the oldest European capitals with magnificent sights. Here you can see the historical and cultural monuments of ancient Roman and Byzantine times, the later Ottoman mosques of the Middle Ages and the New Age.
Top 10 Sights of Sofia
Many Orthodox churches in Sofia, and in Bulgaria as a whole, were erected at the behest of the Russian emperors. In this city is truly a beautiful, rich, developing by leaps and bounds sightseeing tourism. Let us tell you about the most famous sights of Sofia in Bulgaria.
Alexander Nevsky Temple
It is the cathedral of the local Orthodox Patriarchate and the main Christian monument of the Bulgarian capital. It was built in the late 19th – early 20th century by Russian architects in memory of our soldiers who died in Bulgaria.
The height of this cathedral is more than 50 meters, it has a dozen gilded domes, the interior is decorated with frescoes, mosaics, stained-glass windows, which were made at the turn of the century by the best Russian and Bulgarian artists.
The temple was erected on the occasion of Russia’s victory over the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria’s independence. There is also a famous museum with a collection of ancient Bulgarian icons.
The Rotunda of St. John the Baptist. St. George
It is the oldest Christian church of Sofia, it was erected in the 4th century during the time of early Christianity and the formation of Byzantium. After the conquest of Bulgaria by the Turks, the church was turned into a mosque. In the 1970s, it became a church again.
During the restoration of this temple were discovered layers of frescoes, the oldest layer refers to the 6th century. Today it is a functioning church with daily church services and a museum. This monument is extremely popular with tourists.
This historical monument bears the name of Serdica, the name of Sofia in ancient times. The amphitheater was built in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. and is located in the historic part of the city. Next to it stands an equally ancient Roman theater.
The ancient architectural complex was discovered during the construction of the hotel in the early 21st century. According to archaeologists, the theater and the amphitheater were built under the emperor Geta, there were theatrical performances, gladiatorial fights, public meetings.
By the 7th century, due to the advent of Christianity, these structures had fallen into disrepair. were considered to be pagan symbols. Today a five-star hotel is built next to the amphitheater, the largest ancient Roman relic in Eastern Europe.
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. Sophia
The history of this church is closely linked to the history of the entire capital. This is one of the oldest churches of Sofia, it was erected in the 6th century during the time of Emperor Justinian. It used to be the site of the necropolis of Serdica and older temples.
Thanks to the church’s naming of St. John the Baptist. The whole city around it also became known as Sofia. There was a mosque in the church during the Ottoman period. Later there was an extensive restoration. Today it is a functioning Orthodox church.
This is another monument testifying to the fact that the territory of Bulgaria was once part of the Roman Empire. There are several hot springs with different mineral water, thanks to them, the Romans and later the Turks and Bulgarians built baths.
Modern mineral baths were opened in Sofia in the early 20th century, in the 80s they were temporarily closed due to unprofitability. Today it is planned to reconstruct the baths as part of the development of tourism business in Bulgaria.
This bridge is one of Sofia’s must-see attractions in the city. It was built by Czech architects Prošeks in the 80s of the 19th century. There are two bronze sculptures of lions on either side of the bridge.
Lviv Bridge already had electric lighting at the end of the 19th century. It was quite expensive for the city budget, but was considered a sign of the capital’s chic. And the Prošek brothers later built the Orlov Bridge in Sofia as well.
This cultural landmark of Sofia is located in the suburbs of the capital. Boyana Church in the late ’70s of the 20th century was included in the famous UNESCO list. It is famous for its frescoes created in the middle of the 13th century.
The oldest part of the temple was built in the 11th century, the Kaloyanov church – in the 13th century, another church building – in the 19th century. The church is protected by the state, is in excellent condition and attracts many tourists.
It is one of the largest European synagogues and was built at the beginning of the last century in the Neo-Moorish style, embellished with European Art Nouveau that was fashionable at the time. Today this temple is one of only two functioning synagogues in Bulgaria.
The inner halls of the synagogue are richly decorated with mosaics, marble, and exquisite wood carvings. There is a museum at the temple, which tells about the history of the Jewish people, the Holocaust, the role of Bulgaria in the rescue of the Jews, etc.
Museum of Socialist Art
Here are examples of socialist realism created by Bulgarian artists during the Soviet period of their country. It is worth seeing for older Russians, and many Bulgarians are homesick for the Soviet past.
The museum has a large art gallery with paintings of painters of the Soviet era, the park, where there are works of monumental art, including. sculptures of Lenin, and a video room for watching artistic and documentary films of those times.
A statue of St. John the Baptist. Sophia
This monument was erected in Sofia at the very beginning of the 21st century, it stands on the site of the former Lenin monument and symbolizes modern Bulgaria. St. Sophia, the protector of the capital, is the calling card of the renewed Sofia.
The statue has gilding on its face, neck, and hands. According to Bulgarians, the prototype of St. Sophia is the goddess of wisdom Athena of ancient Greece. In the hands of Sophia is a laurel wreath, signifying the peacefulness of Bulgaria, on the shoulder – an owl, symbolizing wisdom.