Sofia is Bulgaria’s capital town. Sofia is also the center of Bulgaria, which is considered home to its Ceremonial head of state, and Republic. Sofia is located in the western part of the nation, in The Sofia Plain and on the lower slopes of Mount Vitosha.
The city is located in a strategic crossroads. The path from Western Europe to Istanbul moves through Sofia to Skopje and Beograd, then through Plovdiv into Turkey. Sofia also connects The Middle East and The Near East, lying between the banks of The Danube and the shores of The White Sea on the other hand, and between The Adriatic and The Black Sea on the other.
Photo by deensel
In 1382, the town fell to the Ottomans. It had been free in 1878, and on April 3, 1879, it was declared the capital of Bulgaria. Sofia belongs to the list of the oldest towns of Europe. It has many beautiful features like boulevards, fashion boutiques and really active nightlife in this city of 1.3 million. Sofia preserves valuable monuments into its long history.
Photo by donald judge
Best Time To Go
A mountainous country, Bulgaria has a normally continental climate with some Mediterranean influences from the Aegean Sea. Spring is quite mild and summer is warm and dry with temperate storms whilst winters are rather harsh with regular snowfall around spring. The best time to visit Bulgaria is therefore between May and September so you can benefit from a lot of sunshine and hot temperatures. Skiing enthusiasts want to practice their skills on the slopes between December and April.
15 Top Experiences in Sofia
Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria is a beautiful has a great reputation of being among the most gorgeous cities in the world. It is full of restaurants and cafes and also the best way to explore the city is by foot. The tour in Sofia is becoming a spiritual trip within.
The strident contrasting features of this city induce the attentive tourist to stop, to ponder and to become aware of his own condition, to see what lies concealed below, to detect the life of the spirit below and beyond the surface glitter of outer riches. Sofia has almost 30 museums where you could view many Bulgarian national treasures and find out about the pros and cons of hierarchical history.
The town is packed with art and beauty, from the brick streets in its center into the partially 1,800-year-old city which lies under. It’s possible to enjoy a Bulgarian rose massage in an outdoor opera performance for significantly less price and there is a hiking of 7,500-foot, the highest among these peaks, Vitosha Mountain.
1. St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Wherever you go to Sofia, St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral will never be far from sight. Built in the late 1800s’ Byzantine Revival design, the Cathedral is a huge landmark in town, inhabiting meters of land and climbing 45 meters high. Its gold-plated dome with its cross that is solid-gold that is enormous is a permanent fixture at the Sofia skyline.
The prominence of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia isn’t an accident. It may be an edifice of the Orthodox Church, but also to the citizens of Bulgaria, the Cathedral is the fruit of craftsmanship or more than simply a place of worship. To them, this church symbolizes the time in history when Bulgaria attained her liberty and cast her away Ottoman yoke.
2. Boyana Church
It is among the Unesco World Cultural Heritage list. It is surrounded by tall pine trees found in the suburb of Boyana, Vitosha mountain. It was built in the 11th century. It has remarkable frescoes made and designed by renowned artists.
Scenes and images from Tsar Kaloyan and Tsar Konstantin Assen together with Dessislava Tsaritsa Irina are depicted on the walls. The artist was called Boyana Master.
3. Sveti Georgi Rotunda
Nestled behind the Sheraton Hotel is the oldest building of Sofia. Look at the surrounding structures; they are remains of Serdica, the early town on which grounds Sofia was assembled. You find here the segments of a Roman street.
Built in the 4th century AD by the Romans during the rule of the emperors Galerius and Constantine the Great this tiny red-brick church is Sofia’s oldest preserved building. The murals interior were painted between the 10th and 14th centuries. Visitors are welcome, although it’s a busy church.
Look at this brick construction. Isn’t it fantastic that it’s been standing here for 1700 years? It had been utilized for baptism and the Romans constructed it and it’s believed that the Serdica Ecumenical Council held significant meetings here.
4. Sofia History Museum
This museum dedicated to this ‘History of Sofia’ is housed in the former bathrooms building behind the mosque. It opened to the general public after years of planning and restoration.
Day, eight halls with over 1000 exhibits from 6000 BC to present; among the items on display, there’s a reconstructed Neolithic house, an old information rack materials, costumes and a golden carriage clock presented to Prince Ferdinand by Queen Victoria. There are also temporary exhibitions and a special area is for children to get their hands on the history of Sofia.
5. Archeological Museum
The oldest museum in Bulgaria, the museum of the archaeological institute has been in its current location the ‘Bujuk (Large) Mosque’ since 1899. The mosque itself dates back to the 15th century’s end. It recently underwent significant recovery, reopening in 2000 and is now undoubtedly among the most charming and interesting museums in Sofia.
The atmosphere in the white, airy 9-domed former mosque is ideal for displaying the country treasures. Its collection includes treasures, coins, and pre-historical monuments through Antiquity and the Middle Ages from the rocky soil. Well-displayed with captions in English and Bulgarian. The highlights include the Valchitran gold decoration from the 14th century BC and the original floor mosaic out of St. Sofia Church.
6. St. Sofia Church
St Sofia Church or called Sveta Sofia is among the earliest churches here. There are about 5 temples found here. It’s said that princess Sofia came here and her disease healed so she built a church to thank God. It was also the same church where she was buried.
Throughout the ages that the church was destroyed by the Huns and the West Goths, it was transformed into a mosque during the Ottoman occupation, utilized as an execution ground, an army storage area and later accommodated the city’s Fire Brigade. At least two earthquakes hit on it heavily. The interesting thing, however, is that the St. Sofia Church could never be completely destroyed – people attempted to do this, a person died, so they gave up.
7. Museum of Socialist Art
The museum’s collection features works of sculpture, painting, most from distinguished artists of the day, and propaganda. Themes include native communist leaders such as its own long-ruling dictator Todor Zhivkov and Bulgaria’s first communist leader Georgy Dimitrov, in addition to international figures like Vladimir Lenin.
The museum store has a small theater that shows television programs and propaganda films which depicts its rich history.
8. National Museum “Earth and Man”
Earth and Man Museum in Sofia houses countless models and thin sections in addition to unique gigantic crystals tens of thousands of specimens of fossils, stone, ores, and minerals. Extracurricular studies of geology and mineralogy for school children is available too such as a geology corner for grown-ups and kids – and this is only a portion of what the Earth and Man Museum in Sofia offers.
Jobs and educational programs run; the Geology Corner for Grown-Ups and Kids is one of the most popular. Supervised and accompanied volunteers and by adults, kids explore, experiment, produce, learn and become nearer to mother nature – a memorable experience in an urban environment.
9. Borisova Gradina Park and Yuzhen Park (South Park)
Sofia is a green city with many parks where its residents are concealed from the noise and chaos. Though it was initially on the outskirts of town, the biggest one of these is found in the middle part of Sofia. Yuzhen Park is another green spot of Sofia near the zone’s inhabitants. In parks of Sofia, several exciting activities like festivals, festivals, and movie screenings happen, especially in summer.
10. Vitosha Mountain
Vitosha Mountain is an attraction in the park in Balkan Peninsula. Its peaks are virtually seen in all places in the city and part of Sofia’s picture.
Vitosha Mountain is a location for cross-country skiing, ski, and other snow sports. Located next to Sofia, Vitosha mountain is the greatest mountain in Bulgaria.
In was later declared a park in 1934. It underwent several restorations but today it encompasses about 27,079 ha mountain region.
11. Sofia University Botanical Garden
Sofia’s small botanical garden involves a glasshouse filled with palms and cacti, a rose garden, and various trees and blossoms (labeled in Bulgarian and Latin). The entrance is through resembles a flower shop on bul Vasil Levski. University Botanic Gardens of the Sofia University “Saint Kliment Ohridski” represent three botanic gardens in three locations — the towns of Sofia and Varna and the town of Balchik. They have been established at different times and are different in appearance and specifics.
By visiting the Sofia University Botanical Garden, take a while to observe the venerable ginkgo tree that represents the plant from the Palaeozoic Era, many tropical plants, the impressive orchids as well as some species from Asia cacti and 2 meta-sequoias. The ginkgo tree is a tree in its own state of origin China when its leaves are colored in yellow, and in the fall at the Botanical Garden Sofia it is especially beautiful.
12. Pancharevo Lake
This lake is 12 kilometers away from the city. At present, the lake was opened to the public. You may take the access it through a metro line from there to Tsarigradsko stop.
The place is just perfect for relaxation. You can drive a boat or a water wheel, hold a picnic or walk around.
Pancharevo offers many recreational activities and sports. You can go fishing, sunbathing, rowing, water skiing, and surfing. Water wheels may be rented too.
13. National Palace of Culture
The National Palace of Culture abbreviated in Bulgarian as NDK, is the biggest multifunctional congress, convention, convention and exhibition center in Southeastern Europe. This enormous landmark was built in 1981 in celebration of the 1300th anniversary of the Bulgarian state. It is a shape and a mass of glass & concrete.
More than 10,000 tons of steel were used for the building of this NDK. That is 3,000 tons over the Eiffel Tower. The building’s role is really a concert hall. It also hosts trade fairs and exhibitions and also an arcade of cafes and shops.
14. Sofia Opera House
The European audio convention took root in Bulgaria in the control of the Ottoman Empire after the country’s liberation. When Bulgaria was a small country in politically and economically unstable circumstances at the crossroads of East and West, the opera theatre in Sofia has been finished.
For Bulgarian opera, the theatre became a center for the development of gifted artists with powerful international careers. Drawing inspiration from west Russian and European opera houses, the Sofia Opera and Ballet learned from Italian bel canto and timeless Russian opera as it developed its own style. Always aiming towards the ideal of superior achievement, the theater became the focal point of the Bulgarian music world.
15. Belogradchik Rocks along with the Magura Cave
Have you ever heard of the Belogradchik rocks? This is a phenomenon in Northwestern Bulgaria. Drive together to my birthplace, Belogradchik. This is a small town in Northwestern Bulgaria at the foot of the Balkan Mountains. Its title means “little white city”. Sightseeing of Belogradchik rocks.
Most of all, the town is famed for the Belogradchik rocks. These are red rock formations with various shapes. During the holiday trip, you will truly feel the power of the Belogradchik rocks. In 2008 they have a nomination to be listed one of the seven World Wonders of Nature. You may enjoy the beautiful nature of the Balkan mountains, see with 3 caves and reside close to nature for the subsequent three days.
Caves in Northwestern Bulgaria
The Magura cave is one of the three caves. The drawings in the cave reveal society events that had happened in the Magura cave: hunting scenes, spiritual ceremonies, and images of Gods. This is exceptional for the Balkans. In 1984 the site was included in UNESCO’s tentative list of World Heritage.