Sofia - the capital of Bulgaria

A Recent Article about Sofia from the New York Times (April 2006)

Quick Links:

Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is the largest city with a population of 1.3 million and a dominant position in the country's economic, political, and cultural life.

Founded seven thousand years ago, Sofia is the second oldest city in Europe. It has been given several names in the course of history and the remnants of the old cities can still be seen today. It was built on a strategic location on the main road from West Europe to Constantinople, in a fruitful field surrounded from all sides by mountains and rich with mineral spas which have been famous since the Antiquity for the healing properties of their waters. In the middle of the first millennium BC the town was a capital of a Tracian tribe called "Serdi" and had the name "Serdica".

The Basilica "St. Sophia" (532-537 AD)

Sveta Sofia The basilica (the red brick building) bas built by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian (527-565). Later it gave the name of the city (1329).

On the picture you can also see the Cathedral "Alexander Nevsky" with the golden cupolas, and part of the University on the right of the Cathedral and the National Art Gallery on the left.

The Cathedral "Alexander Nevsky"

The Cathedral "Alexander Nevsky" can be seen in the background of nearly all pictures from the centre of Sofia; with its golden cupolas it dominates the horizon of Sofia. However, it is about 1500 years younger than "St. Sophia". It was completed between 1904 - 1914 as a monument of the gratitude of the Bulgarian people to the Russians who deliberated the country from 500 years long Turkish yoke in 1878. In Sofia, as everywhere in the country, there are a lot of monuments of the fallen Russian soldiers and Russian churches which were built in the beginning of the 20-th century as a sign of deep national gratitude.

The Russian Church and the Monument of the Russian Car Alexander II

The Russian Church and Alexander Nevsky Tsar Osvoboditel Place The Russian Church (on the left picture) is one of these monuments. On the night picture is shown the monument of the Russian Emperor Alexander II, the deliberator of Bulgaria. You can also see the Building of the Bulgarian National Parliament on the left, and the building of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences on the right of the monument.

The Sofia University "Climent Ochridsky"

The University

The St. Climent Ohridski University of Sofia is the oldest university in Bulgaria, having been granted its charter in 1909, and is the largest and most advanced educational and research centre in the country. Students can select among fifty programs in the Humanities and Sciences, Social Sciences, and Business Administration. More than 20,000 students were enrolled in the sixteen faculties of the university during the 1992/1993 academic year.

The main building of the University, which is architecturally one of the most remarkable buildings in Sofia, was designed by the French architect Breanson.

The University Library plays an important part in the history of the St. Climent Ohridski University of Sofia. The Library stock of books exceeds 1.5 mln. volumes.

Among the other higher educational institutions of Sofia are: The Technical University of Sofia, The University of National and World Economics, The Higher Institute of Architecture and Civil Engineering, The Medical Academy, The Academy of Fine Arts, The Higher School of Drama and many more. Courtesy to the Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission

The National Palace of Culture and Vitosha Mountain

The National Palace of Culture Vitosha
The National Palace of Culture was built in the late 70's on a place with a remarkable view to the mountain Vitosha and is by no means uglier than any other building of the 70's-style anywhere else. Vitosha, with its highest peak Cherni Vryh (2290 m) can be seen from every point of the town as a mighty arm embracing the city. The mountain is only 8 km away from the centre of Sofia, and offers excellent conditions for skiing in the winter. Two parks come down from Vitosha spreading like green fingers in the city. Sofia is rich of parks and green. One can always take a 5 minutes bypass in his busy day to find peace, listen to the birds, or sit for a while on a bench in a sunny alley where mothers bring their babies for a walk or elderly people comment the "world politics"...

The Monastery of Dragalevtsy and the Boyana Church

The Monastery in Dragalevci Desislava, fresco from Boyana Church
About 7 km away form the centre of Sofia, in the foots of Vitosha are a chain of villages. Dragalevtsy is worth seeing for its monastery from 1488 (on the left picture). Boyana is famous for its church. Its frescos (on the right picture) date back from 1259 and show humanity and liveliness unknown in the art of that time.

Back to Julita's homepage
<bgsound src="../Music/birds.wav">