Travel to Sofia completely without tourist traps! Here you will find a list of the top 10 sights of Sofia! What are the highlights and attractions you can't miss while on vacation in Sofia?
The Bulgarian capital Sofia is a veritable treasure trove of historical, cultural and culinary treasures. Above all, the density of places of worship of various religions in such a small area is unparalleled anywhere else in the world.
The so-called "Square of Tolerance", ancient Catholic and Orthodox churches, the magnificent Nevsky Cathedral and historically valuable monuments from the Bulgarian Revival period are among the most important sights of Sofia, along with art museums and the Palace of Culture.
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Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
The magnificent Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is not only Bulgaria's main Orthodox church, but also the second largest cathedral on the Balkan Peninsula. The impressive place of worship was dedicated to the namesake of Tsar Alexander II in gratitude for Russian support in the Bulgarian War of Liberation and is now considered a Sofia landmark.
St. Nicholas Church
The Russian Orthodox community also has a magnificent church in Sofia. With its typical Russian architecture, the Church of St. Nicholas is one of the most beautiful churches in the city. Inside, the church boasts ornate murals and a masterfully crafted ceramic iconostasis.
Anyone who looks at the church of Boyana in the south of the city from the outside would hardly guess what treasures are hidden behind the brick-red walls. The Bulgarian Orthodox church from the Middle Ages houses unique frescoes, in which the art of the Second Bulgarian Empire found one of its high points. The incredibly vivid depiction of the approximately 240 figures has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Rotunda Sveti Georgi
Furthermore, the list of the top 10 sights is headed by sacral buildings, 4th place is occupied by the oldest Roman church in Bulgaria. The Rotunda of Sveti Georgi dates back to the early 4th century, when Emperor Constantine was still the first Christian emperor to rule. Framed by modern Sofia buildings, it exudes the flair of antiquity amid other ruins of the ancient city of Serdika.
Banya Bashi Mosque
The Banya Bashi Mosque was built by the famous architect Sinan, who also contributed to the al-Haram Mosque in Mecca and built the magnificent Selimiye Mosque in Edirne. It is one of the oldest mosques in Europe and the most important mosque in Sofia. In adequate clothing (head, knees and shoulders covered) it may be entered even by non-Muslims.
National Art Gallery
The National Art Gallery is housed in the former Royal Palace of Sofia and is considered the most important art museum in Bulgaria. The impressive gallery presents modern and contemporary works by the country's greatest artists on 3 floors. The approximately 50,000 exhibits range from Bulgaria's liberation from the Turkish yoke to the end of the 20th century.
Church Sveta Petka
At first sight, the Catholic church Sveta Petka in the medieval center of the city is completely inconspicuous, and yet it is one of the most fascinating sights of Sofia. Namely, it was built quietly and secretly during the Turkish rule. That is why it looks like a residential house from the outside and its foundation walls are below Sofia's street level. Its only room is decorated all over with frescoes dating back to the 14th century.
The Sofia Synagogue completes the "Square ofTolerance" in the center of the city with the Banya Bashi Mosque, the Catholic Church of Sveta Petka and the Orthodox Cathedral of Sveta Nedelja. It is one of the most beautiful architectural monuments in Bulgaria and the fourth largest synagogue in Europe.
The Vitosha Boulevard is Sofia's most important shopping street and invites as a pedestrian zone with vintage flair for a relaxed stroll. Sofia vacationers will find souvenirs for every taste and cafes and restaurants invite you to enjoy a leisurely coffee in between or to dine extensively.
Another recommended address for shopping in Sofia is the Women's Market. Here, too, souvenirs await bargain hunters and there is probably no better place in Sofia to buy fresh fruit and vegetables. The immersion into the Bulgarian everyday life in its most original form is here free of charge to the shopping spree.