Sofia – @drakehhill
‘A city where nature has played as a young child and has scattered all its toys around.’
Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria and also the biggest city in the country with about 1.7 million citizens. Today, Sofia is a dynamic Eastern European capital, distinguished by its unique combination of European and communist-style architecture as well as many beautiful orthodox churches. Surrounded by sprawling parkland, Sofia, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Bulgaria, lies at the foot of popular ski mountain, Vitosha. With a history that stretches over seven millennia, ruin-rich Sofia is one of Europe’s oldest cities. The National Historical Museum is one of Eastern Europe’s most extensive. Wide, cobblestone boulevards, charming boutiques, and truly electrifying nightlife star in this city.
Bulgaria’s capital has a lot of stories to tell, and each historic attraction will give you a new perspective on Sofia’s complicated past. Take the churches here that have spent several centuries of their existence as mosques, the overbearing soviet architecture, or the Roman history that is still being uncovered and blends with the modern city. Many of the buildings you’ll see are from the Bulgarian Revival in the late 19th– century, when the country reclaimed its independence from the ottomans.
Sofia was found 2,500 years ago. Over the centuries, it has been given several names – Serdica, Sredetz and the remains of the old cities can still be viewed today. Because of its strategic location in the middle of Balkans for a while, it had been selected for a new capital of the Roman Empire. Near Sofia, is the Boyana church, one of the most valuable memorials of Bulgarian and European culture. The decline of Sofia during the Turkish Ottoman Empire was followed by the rejuvenation after the Russian liberation in 1878, when Sofia was chosen as the capital of Bulgaria, followed by a brisk and straight-forward period of construction.
Bulgaria’s pleasingly laid-back capital is often overlooked by visitors heading to the coast or the ski resorts, but they’re missing something special. Sofia is no grand metropolis, but it’s a modern, youthful city, with a scattering of onion-domed churches, Ottoman mosques and stubborn Red Army monuments that lend an eclectic, exotic feel. Away from the buildings and boulevards, vast parks and manicured gardens offer a welcome respite, and the ski slopes and hiking trails of mighty Mt Vitosha are just a short bus ride from the center. Home to many of Bulgaria’s finest museums, galleries, restaurants, and clubs, Sofia may persuade you to stick around and explore further.
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