Bulgaria – Sofia

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SOFIA – the CAPITAL of  BULGARIA

You can see the location of Sofia on the map of our country.

Sofia is located in the west of Bulgaria at the foot of the beautiful Vitosha mountain. It is surrounded by three mountains – Vitosha, Liulin and Stara Planina. Iskar, the longest river in our country, flows through it.

Sofia in the past. Our capital is one of the most ancient cities in Europe, which dates back to Thracian times.

More than 2000 thousand years ago the Thracian tribe Serdi founded a settlement near springs of healing mineral water. The Romans called it Serdika.

Nowadays a lot of ruins of castle walls and temples could be seen in the centre of Sofia. One of the oldest historical monuments is the church St. George.

Ancient Serdika – St. George Rotunda

The ancient amphitheatre

Ruins of the fortress

The  north-east tower of Serdika

In 809, during the reign of Khan Krum, the city became part of the First Bulgarian Kingdom and got the name Sredets. In the 14th century it was named Sofia after the church St. Sofia.

After the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman rule in 1878 ( the country was approximately 500 years part of the Ottoman empire), the town was chosen to be the capital of the country. This fact turned it rapidly into the most important political, administrative, industrial and cultural centre.

SOFIA TODAY

As a capital it is still, of course, the most important centre of the country.

These are some of the landmarks of  Sofia – the Parliament, the University”St. Kliment Ohridski”, the National Library, the National Theatre”Ivan  Vazov”, the National Theatre for Opera and Ballet.

The city is famous for its magnificent cathedral St Alexander Nevski, which is the biggest Orthodoxal cathedral on the Balkans, as well as for smaller churches ,which have unique architecture and atmosphere .

The National Palace of Culture – a modern building which is the main venue for cultural events.

There are a lot of factories, where a variety of goods are produced.

A lot of shopping centres have opened in the recent years.

The modern railway stations, bus stations and airport provide fast and convenient transportation to each point of the country and Europe.

Some more places of interest:

Bulgarian Academy of Science

The National Museum of History

National Museum”The Earth and Man”

New residential areas, sports and cultural facilities are under construction. The city is also proud of its new underground.

The beautiful Vitosha mountain near Sofia – an excellent place for relaxation and outdoor activities.

Sofia has its Coat of Arms, created in 1900. It consists of a shield divided into four.The image of the church “St. Sofia”, which gave the name to the city takes up the upper right quarter. A picture from the ancient town of Serdica, taken from an antique coin, is located to the left. At lower right is a statue of Apollo Medicus, representing the mineral springs around the city, while the lower left quarter is reserved for Vitosha mountain.

In the middle is the image of a lion – the national symbol of Bulgaria.

At the bottom is the city motto – “EVER GROWING, NEVER AGING”.