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Sofia & Bulgaria


Sofia has been the country’s capital since 1879. Its current population is 1.27 million though it is believed to expand to about 2 million people over weekdays. Nonetheless, it is Bulgaria’s largest city and the 12th largest within the European Union. Sofia’s development has followed the country’s historical ups and downs.

 

Ruins from the 7th century BC evidence Thracian tribe settlements built at the present-day city center. Most probably the location was favored by Thracians because of the abundance of mineral hot water (still running today) and the bountiful and protective mountains to the south (the Vitosha Mountain).

 

 

Today Sofia is the country’s heart concentrating Bulgaria’s governance, major universities, cultural institutions and businesses. National Historical Museum, Bulgarian Natural History Museum, Museum of Earth and Men, Ethnographic Museum, National Museum of Military History, National Polytechnical Museum and National Archaeological Museum all are worth visiting. In addition, there are Sofia City Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Arts, Bulgarian National Gallery of Arts, as well as numerous private art galleries.

 

 

Sofia city symbol is often perceived to be Alexander Nevski Cathedral with its golden domes and Neo-Byzantine architecture. It is both a temple to host holy celebrations and a historical monument tightly weaved into the nation’s spirit. Christianity became Bulgarian’s formal religion in 9th century AC with the Bulgarian church being the earliest Orthodox Church to use Slavic language in its masses. In its crypt the Cathedral houses a museum that is claimed to hold the largest collection of Orthodox icons in Europe.