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Sofia History, Bulgaria

Sofia History – The Ancient City of Serdica

Sofia is the largest, most modern city in Bulgaria and the country’s capital. Sofia’s present look is the result of thousands of years of history; it bears the traces of numerous civilizations and countless battles. Sofia’s history begins sometime in the 5th century BC, when the territory of the present capital was inhabited by a Thracian tribe called Serdi. When the Romans took control of this part of Europe, the little settlement known as Serdica was fortified and served as the capital of a Roman province (Dacia Mediterraneea) - same thing happened to old cities of Scupi (Skopie) and Odessos (Varna).

One interesting thing about Serdica during the late Roman occupation is the fact that Christianity was more easily accepted here, leading to Serdica hosting an Ecumenical Council in 343 AD. When the Western Roman Empire lost its power, Serdica became a part of the Byzantium, and reached its peak under the reign of Justinian I. In the 6th century, the cathedral St. Sofia was erected.

Sofia History – Sofia during the Ottoman Occupation

During the 9th century, the Slavic attacks on Serdica intensified: the city became the capital of the first Bulgarian state in 809. Sofia was transformed into a war theatre, having the Bulgarian tribes on one side, and the more and more weakened Byzantine Empire on the other. However, Sofia history was meant to take another turn: in 1382, Sofia (the new name had been officially adopted only one decade before) was conquered by the Ottomans. The arrival of Ottoman colonists radically changed the face of the city: numerous mosques and Turkish bath houses were built all around Sofia, and the Turkish population significantly increased.

During the early Modernity, Sophia was an important trading centre in the Balkans, with a multi-ethnic population consisting in Turks, Bulgarians and Jews. The Ottoman rule ended in 1878, as a consequence of the Russo-Turkish War, and brought Bulgaria its long expected independence.

Sofia History – Sofia in the 20th Century

During the 20th century, Sofia’s dramatic history continued: after the end of World War I, when Bulgaria became a democratic state, the Bulgarian Communist Party was trying to force the instauration of a communist government – 170 people lost their lives in the St. Nedelya Church Attack. Their wish became true at the end of the Second World War, when Sofia became the capital of a communist country. Heavily bombed after the war, Sofia had to face fast industrialization, which considerably altered the city’s architecture and favored an unprecedented demographic growth. On the 1st of January 2007, Bulgarians gathered on the streets of Sofia to celebrate the country’s admission in the European Union, a decisive step for the future of the Bulgarian people.


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  • vcppowGreat clubs and the best parties in Sofia
    review by vcppow posted more then 30 days ago
    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 Vitosha Boulevard is a the best destination for nightlife and...
  • vcppowDiscovering Sofia
    review by vcppow posted more then 30 days ago
    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...
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