According to abbreviationfinder, Sofia is one of the oldest cities and the capital of Bulgaria, the last unknown land in Europe and one of the most enigmatic countries in the East. Located at the foot of the Vitosha mountain and due to its strategic location between the Asia-Europe crossroads, Sofia was inhabited by different nations throughout the centuries: Thracians, Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, Proto-Bulgarians and Turks.
Consequently, Sofia incorporates a vast universe of archaeological, cultural and historical evidence, an immense legacy to which must be added Russian and Bulgarian influences. Therefore, Sofia is a capital where many contrasts are mixed, radical on the one hand and curious and disturbing on the other; It is a city that has been looted and devastated many times and that now struggles to get out of its historical past and rebuild a modernity that was denied by its bloody past.
The Republic of Bulgaria is a country in Southeastern Europe, a member of the European Union since January 1, 2007. It is bordered to the north by Romania, to the south by Greece and Turkey, and to the west by Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia. Its capital and most important city is Sofia. See population of Bulgaria.
The history of Sofia begins several centuries ago. Through time, various cultures have inhabited it and have added their traces to its rich and diverse history. Different Neolithic settlements have been discovered in its area and even in the very center of the city, some Chacolitic finds. The Serdian tribes settled in this area in the 7th century BC and gave the city its first name: Serdica. The Byzantines called it Triaditsa and for the Slavs it was: Sredets. The modern and current name of the city was “copied” in the 14th century from the Basilica of Santa Sofia. In greek the word Sophia means wisdom. We can still find many remains of the history of Sofia: The castle gates and the Serdica towers, as well as public buildings and their streets.
Much of the ancient city of Serdica is located under important modern buildings, such as the old City Council (Bulefteris) that we find below the Sheraton Hotel, while in the backyard of the same Hotel we can find an old church of the 6th century, also under the National History Museum are some ancient basilicas. The Roman thermal baths are below the current Sofia Mineral Baths and below the Rila Hotel we find a Roman residence (domus) with some very elaborate mosaics. In the 3rd century, the Romans built walls around Serdica, their Inner Dacian capital which was also an important stopping point on the Roman route that led from Naisus (today’s Nish in Yugoslavia) to Constantinople).
After the invasion of the Huns in 441, the city was rebuilt by the Byzantines and they named it Triaditsa. Conquered by the Slavs it became Sredets and was an important city during the First Bulgarian State. Reconquered in the year 1018 by the Byzantines, it was finally occupied by the Bulgarians in the 12th century, making Sredets the most important commercial city during the Second Bulgarian state. The Turks conquered the city in 1382, leading to a decline in the city from the end of feudalism until the 19th century. All this changed after the establishment of the Third Bulgarian State in 1879, when finally Sofia became the definitive Capital of Bulgaria.
From this moment, there was a rapid change in the style of the city, which reconverted its usual Oriental style to a completely European style that it has preserved to this day, that change is still breathed in the city and many of its parks and streets take us to the turn of the 19th century to the 20th century. Between 1,879 and 1939 the population of Sofia went from 20,000 to 300,000 residents. There are about 1,250,000 residents living in the city today. Since ancient times, the city has been famous for its hot and thermal waters that can still be enjoyed today. There are also themes in neighboring cities such as: Kniazevo, Gorna Bania, Bankia, Ovcha Kupel and Ivaniane.
It is located 150 km (90 miles) northwest of Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria, 390 km west of Burgas and 472 km (294 miles) west of Varna, the country’s largest port cities on the Bulgarian sea coast Black. The city is located less than 200 km (124 mi) from the borders with three countries: 55 km (34 mi) from Kalotina on the Serbian border, 113 km (70 mi) from Gyueshevo on the border with the Republic of Macedonia and 183 km (114 mi) from the Greek border at Kulata.
The industrial sector of the economy, represented by more than 800 large factories and production centers, includes metal products (75% of the country’s total production), textiles, leather and rubber articles, printing presses (50% of total production) and electronic items. Sofia is also the financial center of the country, it is the headquarters of the Bulgarian National Bank, the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, as well as the largest commercial banks in the country (such as Bulbank, DSK Bank and the United Bulgarian Bank). Construction, commerce and transportation are other important sectors of the local economy. Sofia has attracted attention as an outsourcing point for multinationals from Western Europe and America. Sofia is also the headquarters of important national and international companies operating in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe.
In the city of Sofia we will find a mixture of architectural styles: neo- baroque, neo-rococo, neo- renaissance, neoclassicism and socialist classicism. Among other buildings we can see, the National Ethnographic Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the Ivan Nazo Theater, the National Gallery of Foreign Art, the National Assembly of Bulgaria or the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences are some of the public buildings where you can observe this mix of styles.
Main visiting points
The Church of St. George, the Church of St. Sophia, this during the period of Turkish domination was first converted into a mosque, to later be abandoned, the Banya Bashi Mosque, the Cathedral of Alexander Nevski, is a work in honor of the Russians Fallen for the liberation of Bulgaria from the Turkish Empire in 1877 – 1878. It is the best representation of Orthodox construction in the world, recognized for its architecture, frescoes, dimensions.
It measures 72 meters long, 42 meters wide and 52 meters high, has an area of 3,170 m² and can accommodate 5,000 people. The Cathedral of Sveta-Nedelya is one of the cathedrals that the Bulgarian Orthodox Church has in the capital of Bulgaria, and which is located under the direct authority of the Diocese of Sofia, it was the object of an attack in 1925 and was practically destroyed.
On the outskirts of the city of Sofia is the Boyana Church. This two-story building is made up of three wings. The east wing was built in the late 10th or early 11th century. In the 13th century, during the Second Bulgarian Empire, the central wing was added. The church was completed with the west wing in the mid- 19th century, and finally we will visit the Sofia Synagogue, the largest in the Balkans.
- Round Church of George
- The Church of Sofia
- The National Palace of Culture
- The Church of Nedelia
- Sofia University
- The Vassil Levski Monument
- Ruski Pametnik (Monument to the Russians)
- The monument to Tsar Osvoboditel (Tsar Liberator)
- The National Assembly or Parliament
- The National Opera
- The Ivan Vazov National Theater
- Nacional History Museum