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    Tourist Attractions in Sofia

    The most interesting and beautiful tourist attractions in Sofia. Photos and a brief description.

    Sofia
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    About Sofia

    Sofia can compete with Greek Athens for the right to be considered the most ancient capital of Europe. There are many evidences of its rich history on the territory of the city: the ruins of a Roman amphitheater, churches of the Byzantine Empire period and mosques erected during the Ottoman rule.

    The capital of Bulgaria also boasts numerous monuments of Modern times. Among them are the magnificent Alexander Nevsky Temple, the elegant Sofia Synagogue, the Russian Church of St. Nicholas and other equally remarkable structures.

    Today, tourists’ interest in Sofia is steadily growing. A few days spent in this dynamic and interesting city will definitely remain in the piggy bank of impressions of every enthusiastic traveler.

    Top Tourist Attractions in Sofia

    Alexander Nevsky Memorial Church

    The Cathedral of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, located on the square of the same name. The grandiose building of the cathedral, which stands out vividly against the backdrop of the urban landscape, was erected at the beginning of the XX century by the project of the Russian architect A. Pomerantsev. The reason was the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire following the Russian-Turkish war. The temple is built in the neo-Byzantine style.

    Alexander Nevsky Memorial Church
    Rotunda of St. George

    Rotunda of St. George

    The oldest church in Sofia. It was built in the IV century under the Emperor Constantine. Initially, the church was used as a baptistery. After the conquest of Bulgaria by the Ottoman Turks in the XVI century, the building was turned into a mosque. During the restoration work, several layers of frescoes were found on the inner walls of the church, the earliest of which date back to the X century. Nowadays, the church houses a museum, as well as regular services.

    Serdika Amphitheater

    The Roman amphitheater of the III-IV centuries, which at one time was considered the largest arena of the Eastern Roman Empire. Its area is slightly smaller than the famous Colosseum. The ruins were discovered accidentally during the construction of the hotel in 2004. But, despite the indisputable value of the discovery, the hotel was still erected, and the research of the amphitheater stopped due to lack of funds. Today the ruins are available for visiting.

    Serdika Amphitheater
    Hagia Sophia

    Hagia Sophia

    The Basilica dedicated to St. Sofia, appeared in the VI century. It has survived fires, earthquakes, wars and has reached our days in an almost destroyed state. Restoration work was carried out at the beginning of the XX century, at the same time scientists discovered ancient burials on its walls. The modern appearance of the cathedral is the result of careful restoration. The Grave of the Unknown Soldier is located on the territory of the temple.

    Boyana Church

    8 km from Sofia in the small village of Boyana there is a church of the X-XI centuries. The building was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1979. In the XIII and XIX centuries, two additional buildings were added to the church. The building is made of brick and stone. Valuable frescoes of the XI-XVI centuries and paintings of the XIX century have been preserved inside. The temple has reached our days in almost perfect condition, having managed to avoid destruction during the wars.

    Boyana Church
    Russian Church of St. Nicholas

    Russian Church of St. Nicholas

    Russian Russian Orthodox Church was built for the needs of the Russian community, the number of which in Sofia increased significantly after the end of the Russo-Turkish War in 1878. The temple was built at the beginning of the XX century on the site of the destroyed market mosque. The church domes were presented to the parish by the Russian Emperor Nicholas II. The building was built in an eclectic pseudo-Russian style designed by M. Preobrazhensky.

    Cathedral of the Holy Week

    Holy Week is the second name of the martyr Cyriacia of Nicomedia. It is believed that the very first church in her honor was built in the X century. It was a building on a stone foundation with wooden walls. The church received the status of a cathedral in the XVIII century after the remains of King Stephen II were transported here. The modern church was built on the site of a dilapidated one in 1863.

    Cathedral of the Holy Week
    Sofia Synagogue

    Sofia Synagogue

    The Jewish Temple is one of the most picturesque architectural structures in Sofia. It was erected for the community of Sephardic Jews by the architect F. Grunanger at the beginning of the XX century. The architectural style of the building is a mixture of Moorish traditions and Viennese Art Nouveau. It will not be possible to enter the synagogue just like that, but there is an opportunity to visit a small museum dedicated to the history of Bulgarian Jews.

    Archaeological Institute and Museum

    A research institution founded in 1948. The Archaeological Museum has been in existence since 1892 and is the oldest in Bulgaria. It has the richest collection of ancient artifacts in the Balkans. The exposition is located in the building of the former mosque of the XV century Buyuk-jamiya. The research Institute belongs to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, it employs several dozen scientists.

    Archaeological Institute and Museum
    Historical Museum of Bulgaria

    Historical Museum of Bulgaria

    The museum was founded in 1973. In 2000, the collection moved to a modern building. The exposition contains more than 650 thousand objects and artifacts from different eras. It is divided into historical, ethnographic and archaeological parts. Visitors can view collections of jewelry, weapons, coins, furniture, religious utensils and household items. The medieval Boyana Church is also part of the Historical Museum.

    Natural History Museum

    The Sofia Museum of Natural History has the largest exposition of stuffed animals, insects, birds, as well as samples of minerals in the Balkans. The collection was founded in 1889 with the assistance of Prince Ferdinand. The scientific activity of the museum staff is aimed at studying and preserving the flora and fauna of Bulgaria. Much is being done within the framework of environmental improvement and environmental protection programs.

    Natural History Museum
    Museum of Socialist Art

    Museum of Socialist Art

    The exhibition consists of works of art created in the period from 1944 to 1989, when the era of socialism began in Bulgaria. The museum complex includes an art gallery, a park with monumental sculptures in the style of socialist realism and a video room where viewers can watch documentaries. The museum was founded in 2011 by decree of the ruling coalition of Bulgaria – the Union of Democratic Forces.

    Museum of Military History

    The museum is located on the territory of the Military Academy and belongs to the Ministry of Defense of Bulgaria. Part of its exposition, consisting of military equipment, is located in the open air, the other is located indoors. Quite a large part of the collection consists of Soviet vehicles, there are also several Czech, German and French tanks. The museum has a thematic library and a computer center.

    Museum of Military History
    Art Gallery of Bulgaria

    Art Gallery of Bulgaria

    The exhibition hall appeared in 1948. To date, his collection includes several thousand items. The exposition consists of three parts: Christian art of the XVIII-XIX centuries, national Bulgarian art and art of the Middle Ages. The museum has several branches. One of them is located on the territory of the Alexander Nevsky Memorial Church. The main department is located in the former royal palace.

    Gallery of Foreign Art

    The gallery opened in 1985 in the building of the former printing house, which was erected at the end of the XIX century according to the project of the Viennese master F. Schwanberg. The museum's extensive collection occupies 19 exhibition halls and has more than 10 thousand items. There are paintings by Picasso, Renoir, Rembrandt, Goya and Dali, which used to adorn the walls of the National Art Gallery, and then were donated.

    Gallery of Foreign Art
    National Palace of Culture

    National Palace of Culture

    The building was built in 1981 on the initiative of the daughter of the General Secretary of the CPB Lyudmila Zhivkova. The complex consists of 8 floors and several dozen halls. It is intended for exhibitions, congresses, concerts and other cultural events. The interior of the building is lavishly decorated with mosaics, as well as paintings and sculptures. There is a picturesque park with fountains and canals around the palace.

    Ivan Vazov Theater

    The main theater of Bulgaria was built in 1906. The building was badly damaged during the Second World War, but after the restoration of 1945 it began to please the residents of the capital with its festive appearance again. The repertoire of the stage consists of works by famous world authors. There are a lot of plays by Bulgarian writers in the schedule. The theater was named in honor of the outstanding poet, the true "patriarch" of national literature I. Vazova.

    Ivan Vazov Theater
    Bulgarian National Opera and Ballet Theatre

    Bulgarian National Opera and Ballet Theatre

    The first opera troupe appeared in Sofia in 1980, but due to lack of funding, it did not last long. The revival of the stage took place in 1908 after several successful premieres. In 1922, the theater was awarded the status of a national theater. The first ballet performance took place on its stage in 1928. The repertoire of the theater consists of classical works by European and Russian composers.

    Sofia University

    The university is named after one of the founders of Slavic writing, St. Kliment Ohridsky. This educational institution is considered the most prestigious in the country. It is located in a 1934 building erected in the Renaissance style. A. Brunson worked on the initial project, later architect J. Milanov made his own edits to the plan, adding elements of expressive Baroque and eclecticism to it.

    Sofia University
    Bulgarian Parliament Building

    Bulgarian Parliament Building

    The main legislative body of Bulgaria meets in a picturesque building built in 1886, which is listed as an architectural monument. It was built in the neo-Renaissance style according to the project of K. Jovanovich. In 1890 and 1928, additional rooms and a central entrance with columns were added to the structure. The palace is located in the very center of Sofia on the People's Assembly Square.

    Statue of St. Sophia

    The monument decorated the capital of Bulgaria in 2000. The sculpture was installed on the site of the demolished monument to V. I. Lenin. Saint Sophia by sculptor Georgy Chapkynov symbolizes wisdom and God's grace. It's like she's stretching her arms over the city. In her features, you can guess the appearance of the ancient Greek goddess Athena. The statue reaches a height of 8 meters. The five-ton sculpture stands on a 12-meter pedestal.

    Statue of St. Sophia
    Monument to the Tsar-Liberator

    Monument to the Tsar-Liberator

    In the very center of Sofia there is an impressive monument to the Russian Emperor Alexander II. Bulgarians highly appreciate the contribution of the Russian tsar to the liberation of their country from Ottoman rule. The monument was erected at the beginning of the XX century. The monument was opened in the presence of Tsar Ferdinand I and Grand Duke Vladimir, the son of Alexander II. The figure of the emperor sitting on a horse is made of bronze and mounted on a granite pedestal.

    Borisova Gradina Park

    A picturesque city park in the center of Sofia, which residents call "Boris's Garden". It was created at the end of the XIX century on the initiative of a Swiss gardener. By 1924, the park's territory had almost doubled, fountains, rose gardens, a pond and a Japanese garden appeared. In the middle of the XX century, an observatory was built here. Today, this green oasis is visited with pleasure by tourists and residents of the capital.

    Borisova Gradina Park
    Boyansky Waterfall

    Boyansky Waterfall

    The Boyansky Waterfall is located on the slopes of the Vitosha mountain range. In clear weather, it can even be seen from the center of Sofia. Jets of water descend from a height of 15 meters and break on the rocks with thousands of splashes. The stream becomes especially full-flowing after the snow melts, when the water level in the river feeding the threshold reaches its maximum level. The waterfall can be reached by several walking trails.

    Vitosha Mountain range

    A mountain range in the vicinity of Sofia, stretching 19 km in length. On its territory there is a national park of the same name. The highest peak of Vitosha is Cherni Vryh Mountain (more than 2200 meters). The first climbers made the ascent to the peaks of Vitosha at the end of the XIX century. Today there is a popular ski resort with a total length of trails of about 30 km.

    Vitosha Mountain range