Sofia, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Bulgaria, lies at the foot of mountain Vitosha. With a history that stretches over seven millennia, ruin-rich Sofia is one of Europe’s oldest cities. Wide, cobblestone boulevards, charming boutiques and truly electrifying nightlife star in this city of 1.3 million. In honor of its hot springs, in the 8th century BCE the Thracian tribes settled here and named the city with its first name – Serdika. This gave the start to the unique city that is Sofia. Now modern and youthful, the capital balances between its remarquable history and the cosmopolitan spirit and the cultural melting-point that is the metropolis.Sofia is also home to Bulgaria’s most prestigious and largest educational institutions – universities, colleges, and middle schools that offer internationally recognized disciplines as Medicine, Architecture, The Humanities, Engineering, Music and Choreography, and Fine Arts.The city welcomes a multitude of international congresses and conventions throughout the year since it offers many halls and centers offering possibilities for every need.
NATIONAL PALACE OF CULTURE – NDK
The National Palace of Culture – Congress Centre Sofia (NDK) is the largest multifunctional complex in Southeastern Europe.
The Palace was officially opened in 1981 to mark 1300 years since the founding of the Bulgarian state. It was designed to host a wide range of events such as international conventions, official meetings, conferences, symposia, discussion panels, exhibitions, festivals, concerts. The Palace is located in downtown Sofia and is surrounded by a park area.
Nowadays NDK has become one of the spots that tourist in Sofia should visit during their stay.
IVAN VAZOV NATIONAL THEATER
The oldest and most authoritative theatre in the country and one of the important landmarks, it is located in the centre of the city, with its red symbolic facade facing the City garden.
It was founded in 1904 by the artists from the Сълза и Смях (Tear and Laugh) company and since then, it underwent a series of fires throughout the twentieth century and bombing during World War II. More than the center of cultural life in Sofia it has become an emblem of the city (it is depicted on the 50 leva banknote).
ALEXANDER NEVSKY CATHEDRAL
The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral placed at the heart of the city. 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, as well as one of Sofia’s symbols. The cathedral was created in honour to the Russian soldiers who died during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, as a result of which Bulgaria was liberated from Ottoman rule. The cathedral can hold more than 10000 people within its walls during national and religious celebration.
SOFIA UNIVERSITY ST. KLIMENT OHRIDSKI
The University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridski” is the oldest higher education institution in Bulgaria. The University has been since its foundation the most prestigious campus in Bulgaria. Founded on 1 October 1888, the edifice of the university was constructed between 1924 and 1934 with the financial support of the brothers Evlogi Georgiev and Hristo Georgiev (whose sculptures are now featured on its façade). The University offers to its students different courses from Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Medicine to Journalism, Philosophy, History or Theology.
SAINT SOFIA STATUE
The Saint Sofia statue was erected in 2000, it stands in the spot once occupied by a statue of Lenin. The statue was erected in honor of the city as it represents the valors and history of the capital. 24 feet in height, the copper and bronze statue, stands on a 48 feet high pedestal. Adorned with the symbols of power (crown), fame (wreath) and wisdom (owl), the crown is also a reference to the Goddess of Fate – Tyche, inspired by the old emblem of Sofia dating back to 1900.
Standing in the center of Independency square, this emblematic monument of Sofia’s architecture faces Saint Sofia statue and is surrounded by the President’s official offices as well as the Council of Ministers of Bulgaria. The building was designed as the Party House, former headquarters of the defunct Bulgarian Communist Party. The monument is now used as administrative offices by the National Assembly of Bulgaria.
NATIONAL GALLERY OF FOREIGN ART
The National Gallery for Foreign Art of Bulgaria is a gallery located on St. Alexander Nevsky Square in Sofia. It serves as the country’s national institution for non-Bulgarian art. The building of the gallery was first built for the purposes of the former Royal Printing Office.
The edifice was built between 1882 and 1884 during the rule of King Alexander Battenberg and was reconstructed after it suffered significant damage during the bombing of Sofia in World War II. The gallery hosts a panel of permanent collections that gather pieces from indian, japanese, african and european fine arts.