Discovering Sofia, Bulgaria
Sofia has been conquered repeatedly throughout its history and has been part of the Roman, Macedonian, and Byzantine Empires, and in the Twentieth Century, became part of the Soviet Bloc. This turbulent history left Sofia with traces of all of the exotic cultures that have annexed it and it is a true melting pot of the peoples of different continents. Although Sophia was ruled by several different Empires, it always served a leading role in them and often served as the capital.
The History of Sofia dates to 500 BC when it was known as Serdica by the original Thracian settlers, and the city was later ruled by Philip of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great. The named changed in 29 AD, after the Roman conquered it, to Ulpia Serdica. The city grew until it was over-run and destroyed in 449 AD by the Huns. The rebuilt city was called Triaditsa, and it became an intergrel part of the First Bulgarian Empire in 809 AD, gaining the Slavic name of Sredets. Sredets had several brushes with the Byzantine Empire which annexed it at least twice, but after finally rejoining the Bulgarian Empire, it grew in importance and wealth, due to trade and skilled craftsmen.
The modern name of Sophia (Greek for Wisdom) was taken in 1376 and remained the city’s name until the 16th century. During this time, Sofia was annexed by the Ottoman Empire and it served as the capital until it was liberated by the Russian victors of the Russo-Turkish War. Sofia then became the capital in 1908 of the newly formed Kingdom of Bulgaria.The Bulgarian government sided with the fascists in WWII, although many Bulgarian sheltered or refused to deport Jews. Sofia experienced significant Allied bombing, resulting in the loss of a large number of the city’s historical buildings. These were replaced by Neo Stalinist style utilitarian looking factories and apartment housing constructed of grey cement slabs, since post war Bulgarian fell under Russian, and later, Soviet rule. In 1989, the Soviet Union government was in upheaval and its rule over many countries, including Bulgaria, ended; Bulgaria, especially Sophia, was now free to begin its journey toward Europe, democracy and modernization. Today, Sophia is a complex city, still overshadowed by grim post war architecture, but with many modern glass and steel buildings and many fine historic buildings that belie the Byzantine heritage. Politically, it now looks to the West and is trying to attract European trade and tourism, and has applied for consideration to join the European Union.
Things about Sofia you may be interested in
Read about Sofia in our travel-guide
Great clubs and the best parties in Sofia
Recommended Sofia Guide
Sophia has a vibrant night life with cafes, bars and clubs that remain open 24 hours daily. Many offer live music and there are several DJ orchestrated house music dance clubs. A visit to a traditional Bulgarian tavern, or Methani is a pleasant and unique experience. Sophia boasts a great number of restaurants with nearly every type of cuisine on offer. There are several destinations for family outings, such as Sophia Land, a very large amusement park, and the Sophia Zoological Garden, which is conveniently located next door. Sophia's central district offers a lovely area for strolling, with streets cobbled in yellow stones and the... Read more »
Recent reviews for Sofia
Great clubs and the best parties in Sofia - Aug 15, 2008, by vcppow
Sofia, Bulgaria is a city filled with people who enjoy a good party, so it is easy to find bars and cafes open around the clock and filled. Licensing laws do not exist here, so a drink is on hand at any time. The area surrounding the... Read more »
More reviews you might be interested in
Bamberg reviews - Germany
Bamberg ist eine große Stadt und ich weiß wo sie liegt in Bayern.Dort gibt es die berühmten Bamberger Hörnle und reichlich...
Alicante reviews - Spain
Alicante is a nice harbour city and one of Spains fast growing cities. It offer you some possibilities in every direction. For example the weekly...
Nice parks and bullfighting in Alicante
Argos reviews - Greece
If you're interested in ancient greek history, you should visit the ancient city of Argos. The city got it's name after the giant who had a...
A trip to the Ancient Argos
Pompei reviews - Italy
We went there with the university and spent altogether 8 days listening to reports and regarded some exceptional buildings and findings. The...
My visit at the ancient Pompei
Cebu City reviews - Philippines
A relative of my friend (her cousin) if my memory serves right, offered us to ride on a raft. He said it's fun and etc. We saw people riding on the...
Rafting on Kawasan Falls
Surat reviews - Thailand
We left Railay Beach trying to go to Koh Tao. It would take a lot longer than we expected but we made the most of it. We took a pick up truck to...
A quick stop and great food in Surat
Manhattan Beach reviews - California
Manahttan Beach let's you escape from the large urban jungle we call LA. It's a quiet place, with a beautiful beach which is not very crowded, just...
Great time at Manhattan Beach
Pismo Beach reviews - California
We started driving down towards the Paucific Number 1 way too late, but we still had enough time to see the beautiful coast line. It really is very...
Roadtrip on Pacific Number 1
Yosemite Lakes Park reviews - California
Zion national parkFacts * Mukuntuweap National Monument was established in 1909; * This resulted in 1918 in Zion National...
The fabulous Yosemite Park
Telluride reviews - Colorado
Telluride is one of those towns that knew how to build up from scratch, of course with the help of some of its brilliant residents. In the past it...
Hiking and biking in Telluride, CO