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Sofia Sights and Landmarks Guide, Bulgaria

Sofia is a unique, and sometimes jarring blend of architectural styles and historic flourishes. Recently, the European Union's 'Beautiful Bulgaria project'. has lent a hand and funding to restore damaged and neglected historic buildings. The visitor cannot ignore the many grim post war Soviet buildings but by sticking to the central neighborhoods and the many lovely tree-lined boulevards, the European and Byzantine heritage of Sophia can be maximized. Nearly everyone goes to the Alexander Nevski Church, a Neo-Byzantine marvel that does not disappoint. It was built to memorialize 200,000 Russian soldiers who died fighting to help Bulgaria to become independent from Ottoman rule. It was finished in 1912 and houses a splendid array of icons, murals and oversized chandeliers. The lavish interior rivals the richest cathedrals in the world and is built of marble, alabaster, onyx, and gold. Beautifully crafted mosaics showcase the skills of Sofia's craftsmen and artists. Several churches are renowned for their frescos, among them are the Sveta Nedelya Cathedral and St Petka Samardjiiska. Sofia University was erected in 1879 and is another architectural gem worth visiting. The Levski Monument immortalizes Vassil Levski who orchestrated the movement to separate Bulgaria from the oppressive rule of the Ottoman Empire, and it stands on the spot where he was executed for his efforts.Many visitors to Sofia find a favorite in the St. Sofia Church, a basilica that was built between the 4th and 6th centuries. Immediately next door is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the grave of Sofia native poet, the writer Ivan Vazov. It is subtly marked by a large boulder that is engraved with the details of his life and career. The Palace of Culture is a more recent building and serves as the larges congress hall in the region. It offers fine views of the surrounding mountains. A typical but arresting example of the neo-Byzantine style is the Tsirkca Sveta Nedlya or Church of St. Nedelya. Situated at the convergence of two noisy streets and incongruously opposite to the Sheraton Hotel this church dates to 1856. and marks the location of Serdica, which was part of the Roman Empire. A bomb that went off during a funeral service in 1925 killed 125 people damaged the building but it has been restored, for the most part. St Nicolai Mirlikiiski Russian Church is a universal favorite and often declared to be Sofia's prettiest church. It was erected in 1912 and sports five gold-plated "onion" domes. The church is a sunny yellow with contrasting green Majollica tiles. Another attraction in Sofia is the Botanical Gardens, a grand blend of flora and old fashioned design, with quite boulevards and luxurious flower beds. The Charm of Sofia will be apparent to you whether you visit its sights or just stroll the lovely old town streets.
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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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