Sofia City Guide travel tourist sightseeing attractions information

Sofia City Guide Business Tourist Travel Information

attractions Sofia sightseeing Sofia Sofia history Sofia weather Sofia weather Sofia crime

eu member state / currency the lev

Related Pages Coach services to and from Sofia / Rail services to andfrom Sofia   Local Pages  Sofia Airport Public Transport Services / Bulgaria Country Profile  Sofia Night Clubs

Sofia History Overview

Around 600BC present day Sofia was called Sardica after the Serdi (Thracian) living there. A hundred years later another tribe the Serdi settled there before it was renamed by the Romans as Ulpia Serdica in AD29 who developed the city in traditional Roman style. In 447 it was renamed Triaditsa after being rebuilt by the Byzantines having been destroyed by the Huns. In 809 it became part of the first Bulgarian Empire and given the Slavic name Sredets – an important military fortress.

In 1018 it was recaptured by the Byzantines before becoming part of the Bulgarian Empire again in 1128. It became a centre for craft and trade centre and was renamed Sofia in 1376. During the Middle Ages it became a centre for goldsmiths and other minerals which were sourced in the nearby Vitosha mountain. In 1382 it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and became popular with migrating Muslims It was conquered by the Russians in 1878 and a year later granted autonomous status as the Principality of Bulgaria. In 1908 it became the capital of the Kingdom of Bulgaria. In 1925 a terrorist attack on the St Nedelya Church by communist sympathisers killing 150 and injuring over people. During WW2 its Government became an ally of the Nazis and it was bombed in 1943 and 1944 by the Allies.

At the end of the war it was occupied by the Red Army who installed a pro-soviet government. Sofia was now the capital of the Peoples Republic of Bulgaria. Following the end of Ottoman rule architects from Austria and Hungary were commissioned to design Sofia’s new buildings. Today the buildings in central Sofia are a mixture of Vienna Secession, Neo-Baroque, Neo -Classicism, Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Rocco.

Sightseeing and Attractions in Sofia

Sofia is the Bulgarian capital and the 15th largest city in the European Union.  This city, where a night out once centred around a walk in the park and a coffee has changed dramatically over the last decade. As one of Eastern Europe’s oldest and unspoilt cities it offers visitors some rare architectural sights by day, and numerous bars at night which open and close at their own volition as there are no licensing laws, and 24 hour shops are no longer a rarity.

The Theatre has a large role to play in the culture of Sofia as has religion with beautiful churches and magical monastery’s. There is Sofia Zoo for the kids and animal lovers. There is a plethora of cultural and historical landmarks and many family friendly activities on offer in this  city

St George Rotunda Sofia In the courtyard of the Sheraton Hotel, Bol Dondukov   Sofia, The church is a red brick Rotunda which is considered to be the oldest building in Sofia. It was built by the Romans in the 4th century and is mainly notorious because of 12-14th century Frescoes inside the Domes. There are splendid Frescoes of 22 prophets which  are 2 metres tall and crown the Dome. The building was formerly used as a Mosque and the Frescoes were not discovered until early in the 20th century. The majority of visitors found the St George Rotunda to be a very charming and atmospheric. In recent times the building has been used to host art exhibitions. Services are held daily at 8 am, 5 pm  and 9 pm. website http://www.svgeorgi-rotonda.com/index.php?lang=en

Alexander Nevski Cathedral Sofia tel no: 359-2988-1704 – Alexnader Nevski is a  Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral in the Bulgarian capital.  It is viewed as a significant Bulgarian landmark and one of Sofia’s most popular attractions.  As is popular with Bulgaria, the building was designed in a Neo-Byzantine style  by Alexander Pomeratnszev, an ambitious Russian architect. It is one of Sofia’s most intriguing buildings with  with its copper and gold domes.  The cathedral’s construction began in 1882 and was completed in 1912.  It was built  as a memorial to the Russian Soldiers who liberated Bulgaria from the rule of the Ottoman Empire.  The church is named in honour of Saint Alexander Nevsky who  was a Russian saint and Prince. Inside the Cathedral is a Museum which houses Bulgarian Icons and the Church claims to have the largest collection of Orthodox Icon’s in the continent. Open Wednesday to Sunday 10 am till 5 pm. website n/a

Rakursi Art Gallery, Sofia ul Han Krum 4a  – Rakursi  is a gallery which houses contemporary art from Bulgaria and all over the world. It was founded by Rumyana Yoneva and  Russita Chusheva in 2004. It’s located in the heart of Sofia city centre. The gallery works closely with acclaimed artists as well as up and coming talents. The gallery includes works by Bulgarian Ivan Kirkov and Cuban artist  Carlos Castillo.  The gallery has a certified expert Appraiser who ensures the quality of their artwork is up to standard. They have regular exhibitions of photography,  sculptures as well as paintings. Opening hours are 10 am till 7 pm. admission is free. website http://www.rakursi.com/

Sofia Zoo, Sofia/ bul Simeonovsko  Shosse  – This remarkable 89 Acre Zoo was unveiled to the public in 1888. They have over 1,000 animals  representing nearly 250 species. They have an estimated 500,000 people visit the Zoo every year. The Zoo was originally located in the city centre but was moved to a much bigger site in 1982, about 3 miles south of the city centre. They house grazing animals such as White Rhinos, elephants and zebras as well as predatory big cats such as Lions, Tigers and Leopards. The zoo has a Veterinary clinic which has a separate entry and is accessible to the public without needing to get in to the Zoo itself.   Opening hours are 9 am till 5 pm and admission costs 1 lv. The Zoo is free for children under the age of 7. website  http://www.zoosofia.eu

National Historical Museum Sofia, Vitosha 1618 – This is Bulgaria’s largest museum and opened its doors to the public for the first time in 1973. Their first exposition didn’t take place until 1984 when the Museum commemorated 1330 years of Bulgarian history.   The Museum houses 650,000 Artefacts connected to history, archaeology. history and fine arts.  The museum has an extensive library as well as a souvenir shop. It is regarded as Bulgaria’s most fascinating and informative History museum. One of the Museum’s most notable items   is the wreath of an Odrysian aristocrat from the 4th century. Opening hours are 9.30 am till 5.30 am. The  Admission is free. website http://www.historymuseum.org/

Rila Monastery Sofia Rila Samokov  – The Rila Monastery is an ideal excursion out of Sofia. Located just outside the Bulgarian capital its a magnificent building steeped in history and culture.  This Eastern Orthodox Monastery was founded in the 10th century by disciples of the hermit Monk St John Of Rila. Oppressed Bulgarian used the Monastery as a powerful, spiritual centre during the time of the Ottoman Rule in the middle ages.  The monastery looks like a fortress from the outside and once you get inside  there is a beautiful cobbled courtyard and a  church in the centre. The Rila mountains provide a stunning backdrop to this sought after attraction. It’s free for visitors to meander around the monastery and  even for those who are not religious, you can still appreciate the splendour of this legendary monastery.  This is an official  UNESCO world Heritage site. [could not find other monastery info] website http://www.rilamonastery.pmg-blg.com/Copyright_en.htm

Ivan Vazov National Theatre 5 V. Levski Street Sofia – The Ivan Vazov is the oldest and most influential theatre in Bulgaria.  It is centrally located and regarded as one of Sofia’s most significant landmarks. The Theatre was founded dover 100 years ago in 1904 by the Salza i Smyah company. At first it was just called the National Theatre but was later renamed as the Ivan Vazov Theatre after the exceptional Bulgarian  writer. The Theatre has hosted many  plays by notable Theatre directors including  Sofia born Shakespeare director Lilia Abadjieva. It’s a splendid building with a large and well equipped main stage. Ticket prices and  show times vary depending on performances , check their official website for further details. website http://old.nationaltheatre.bg/bg/

Mount Vitosha and Outdoor Pursuits Centre =  Mount Vitosha Sofia a Breathtaking view is on offer at the top of Mount Vitosha. There are many recreational activities taking place here from skiing in the winter to mountain hiking in the summer. It’s a popular spot for peaceful walks and mountain biking as well.  The summit is an astonishing 2290 Metres high so clearly not ideal for those with a fear of heights. A fairly short and inexpensive taxi ride will take you from the city centre to Mount Vitosha, 12 km south of Sofia City Centre.  This is a highly recommended destination for tourists and Sofia natives who enjoy indulging in peaceful, sightseeing activities and effusive individuals who are keen on Daredevil like pursuits. website n/a/

 Restaurants In Sofia

There is an ever increasing number of restaurants to choose from and many offer live music with the meal. The most notable of these appear to be the Chevermeto 106 Maria Lousi Boulevard and Vodenitzata which is in Dragalevtzi in an old mill. Eating out in Sofia is comparable price wise to eating out in Prague or Krakow.

Sofia Cafes

The 800,000 people who live in Sofia have dozens of cafes to choose from. In and around the Vitosha Boulevard these cafes dominate the main roads and the restaurants are mainly found in the side streets.This is a good city to chill out in and smokers are unlikely to find cheaper tobacco anywhere in Europe.

Sofia Live Music Bars & Clubs

Since the fall of Communism these have become very popular with the local population irrespective of age. One club in particular Bourbon St at 114 Vassiu Levski Boulevard has a particularly good reputation for featuring live bands. Its offerings include Blues, Jazz and Rock & Roll. Those in the know say this one is well worth checking out.Sofia Night Clubs

Sofia – Irish Pubs As Well!

J. Murphy & Company at 6 Karnigradska St, is a friendly bar. The range of beers is not as extensive as you might expect but the food served is good. Sports enthusiasts who like watching the big screen in a very western atmosphere will find The Fox & Hounds at 34 Awal Kancheu Tr homely!

Crime & Personal Safety & Security in Sofia / Bulgaria

Occasional gang wars may occur in Sofia and other cities but these rarely involve tourists. In Sofia pick pocketing often involving groups of very young children is an increasing problem in city centres and walkways under the road. Some would be beggars are actually pick-pockets. Black Sea holiday resorts are also prone to pick pockets and thefts from hotel rooms. Throughout Bulgaria car theft is common especially in respect of four wheel drives and upmarket models.

Sofia Bulgaria Tourist Board Information
http://www.sofiatourism.eu/sofia.htm?ReadForm (unconfirmed)
Sofia – Bulgaria Weather Details:

Sofia – Bulgaria Weather Forecast

monthly average and extreme temperatures in Sofia Bulgaria:

sun hours per day

Temperatures
Ave Daily
Records
Minimum
Maximum
Lowest
Highest
January
2
-4
2
-21
16
February
3
-3
4
-19
17
March
4
1
10
-15
24
April
6
5
16
-5
28
May
7
10
21
0
29
June
9
14
24
4
32
July
10
16
27
7
37
August
10
15
26
8
34
September
7
11
22
-2
34
October
5
8
17
-2
30
November
3
3
9
-7
24
December
1
-2
4
-16
17
extreme cold
hot
Hungary Village + editorial comment

 

 

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