24 hours to discover Bulgaria’s capital
Sofia is Bulgaria’s capital and the largest city of this beautiful country. It has a complicated past and much to tell. Yet, it is not a big city and you don’t need to spend so much time here. In fact, 24 hours in Sofia would be enough to see all the highlights. In this blog, you’ll find the best things to do in Sofia.
St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral, built in Neo-Byzantine style. It serves as the cathedral church of the Patriarch of Bulgaria and it is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world. This is the landmark of Sofia and is as impressive from the outside as from the inside. It’s absolutely a gorgeous cathedral that you must see. Entrance is free of charge, but unfortunately you’re not allowed to take pictures from the inside.
Streets are filled with everything from graffiti and art to downright vandalism.
Symbol of Sofia
The Statue of Sveta Sofia was erected in 2001 to replace a statue of Vladimir Ilich Lenin that was removed due the time of the democratic changes, and is a symbol of the city. This 24 meter high, bronze statue represents power (the crown), fame (the laurel wreath) and wisdom (the owl).
Palace of Justice
The construction of the Palace of Justice began in 1929 and finished in 1940 and is being erected using solely construction materials of Bulgarian origin. From an architectural point of view the court house represents one of the monuments of Bulgarian construction art.
Let it snow!
A light dusting of snowfall began the evening we arrived and although it would have been wonderful to see the whole city covered in snow (imagine how beautiful my photos would have been), I was happy the snowfall had stopped the next day. Man, I’ve never felt so cold in my entire life as I’ve during the first days in Bulgaria.
The Largo and National Archaeological Museum
The Largo is a colossal, architectural ensemble of three Stalinist buildings, erected in the 1950s. Nowadays it’s one one of the prime examples of Stalinist architecture in Southeastern Europe. Unfortunately I’ve somehow lost some of my photos, including quite a few from the largo and the National Archaeological Museum. Though the whole complex is so impressing that it’s definitely worth another visit. I think I want to go back anyway becaues it was just really too cold for me to take my time and really relax. Besides, there really are quite a few photogenic places that i would love to expolore more!
Ancient gravestones in the middle of the city
Like I said I’ve somehow lost quite some of my photos, but please enjoy these few of ancient gravestones in front of the National Archaeological Museum. The museum occupies the building of the largest and oldest former Ottoman mosque in the city, dating back to the end of the 15th century. Entrance is 10 lv.
The Russian Church
The Orthodox Saint Nikolas Russian Church, also known as the Church of St Nicholas the Miracle-Maker or simply the Russian Church. It was designed by Mikhail Preobrazhensky and built on the site of the Saray Mosque, which was destroyed in 1882, after the liberation of Bulgaria. The bells were donated by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. It’s absolutely an extraordinary church and plain gorgeous and has quite an interesting history (too much to write down here). Entrance is free of charge, but unfortunately you’re not allowed to take pictures from the inside.
Of course if you really want to explore and discover I would recommend you to stay longer. It’s quite nice to blend in with the citizens and have a real taste of this city. There are many restaurants, bars and cafès to enjoy. But it’s also quite nice to go shopping around the narrow streets. Or just sit one of the parks and be in nature while you enjoy a view of history mixed with modernity. Check out also the Must-See highlights for 24 hours in Sofia (Part II)