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Kyustendil, Osogovo, Dupnitsa, Nevestino
Bankya, Slivnitsa
Pernik, Erma Gorge, Zemen Monastery

The capital of Bulgaria Sofia has a population of 1 182 000. Located in the Sofia valley at 550 meters altitude. The Serbian border (Kalotino) is on 55 km, the Macedonian border (Gyushevo) is 113 km., the Greek border (Kulata) is 183 km., the Turkish border (Capitan Andreevo) is 315 km., the Romanian border (Ruse) is 320 km. Sofia is connected by the international roads and with air lines with every Europe capitals. The motto of the town is “Grows but doesn’t grows old!”.

The first relics of life here are from the neolith settlement. In VIII c.B.C. near the mineral springs sprung up Thracian town. After the Romans conquered the town was named Serdika (The town of the tribe serdi). It became a centre of the province Inside Thracian. It was survived after the invasion of Huns and Goths. From the middle of VI c. it was an important administrative centre of the Byzantine empire with the name Triadica.

From 809 it was in the bounds of the Bulgaria and it was named with the Slav’s name Sredec. It was conquered by the Turkish in 1382. The Christians churches were threw down and there were built Turkish buildings, mosques and baths. Sofia was liberate in 1878, it became a capital of Bulgaria in 1879.

Hotels in Sofia

The St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral-monument is one of the symbols of Sofia. Its foundations were set in 1882, construction was completed in 1912. The temple is the largest of the Balkan Peninsula. It was built in neo-Byzantine style, church has a round shape. The entrance is dark marble, thrones shine on Brazilian onyx, glass windows are studded with alabaster. There are three altar apse of St. Alexander Nevsky, St. Tsar Boris I and the St. Cyril and Methodius.

The temple was decorated by famous Bulgarian and Russian artists. Very valuable are the icons, frescoes and chandeliers. Pearl icon image of St. Mary and the babe is a miracle. Stone Calvary is placed in a nacreous box with the emblem of the Kingdom of Bulgaria. In the basement is the Crypt - subsidiary of old Bulgarian art at the National Art Gallery. Here are the order of about 300 icons, mural fragments, prints and church plate. The collection is a collection representative for Bulgaria, with exhibits from the IX century

National Assembly The ideas of a Constitution and Parliament was born in the Ecclesiastical-National Council in Constantinople (1871) and Oborishte Meeting of 14 April 1876, decided April uprising. Constituent Assembly in Veliko Tarnovo (1879) marked the beginning of parliamentary life in Bulgaria and the first Bulgarian Constitution - The Constitution of Tarnovo, the fundamental law of Bulgaria until 1947. Has adopted the principle of separation of powers.

So far 39 Ordinary and 7 Great National Assembly. Seventh Great National Assembly adopted the current Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria on 12 July 1991. The building, which meets the National Assembly has historical significance and cultural monument. Built in 1884-1886 in the neo-Renaissance style.

Church St. Sophia was built on the foundations of earlier churches from Roman times in the middle of the VI century. Here is a Roman theater, where they held gladiatorial battles and some temple, destroyed by the Goths and Huns. During the Second Bulgarian Kingdom is the bishop church and gave the town its name. Turks converted into a mosque, the frescoes were destroyed and were made minarets. In XIX century it was destroyed by an earthquake. After Liberation the temple was rebuilt as a Christian church. The restoration was completed in 1930.

St. Sophia is one of the most valuable monuments of Christian architecture in the Balkans. It is believed that the miraculous power of St. Sophia has defended the city over the centuries, kept him in enemies and disasters. Behind the church is the grave of the great Bulgarian writer Ivan Vazov - a moraines (round granite rocks) of Vitosha.

Monument of the Unknown Soldier is located near Church St. Sofia, built in 1981.

Rotunda of St. George was declared a cultural monument by UNESCO. It was built during the fortress of Serdica. Was destroyed by the Huns, has again raised, and the Turks turned it into a mosque. There are 3 layers of medieval frescoes in X c, depicting the 22 prophet. Dome is of the XIV century, depicts Christ surrounded by four angels. Located east of the excavation of a Roman settlement.

National Historical Museum was founded in 1973. The collection has more than 533 000 exhibits from prehistory to the present day. Ground floor store exhibits from ancient times to the Middle Ages and includes gold and silver treasures, ceramics and archaeological findings. The first floor is for religious art, the Bulgarian Revival and includes national costumes, carpets and furniture from that period.

National Archaeological Museum store Thracian, Greek and Roman artifacts. Located in the building of Buyuk Mosque (Grand Mosque) from the XV century.

National Palace of Culture is the largest multifunctional complex in Southeastern Europe. Situated in the center of the capital, has 68 conference and exhibition halls. Technical equipment is suitable for congresses, conferences, concerts, exhibitions, fairs, etc.

National Art Gallery - the idea of metropolitan art gallery is from before the First World War, but performed only in 30-ies. After World War II sought valuable paintings across the country, such works were collected over two thousand. Soon after this decree goes for the National Art Gallery. Sofia municipality also has an art gallery with over 3000 works of the most prominent representatives of Bulgarian art.

National Ethnographic Museum was established in 1892 is housed in the former Royal Palace - a cultural monument by the end of XIX centuries, in the center of Sofia. In his collections are stored over 50 000 exhibits from the XVII-XX century throughout the Bulgarian ethnic territory. Modeled on Western museums, in the first decades of the XX century is set to the wealthiest in the Balkans.

National Military Museum is the third national museum structure after splitting in 1906 the first Bulgarian National Museum. In 1968 he received the status of national institution and todays name. Here are stored and studied over a million exhibits - witness the Bulgarian and European military history. Built exhibition area is 5000 sq. m. and 40 acres outside exhibition area. There are halls for temporary exhibitions, briefing rooms, conference halls, etc.

National Museum "Earth and People" is located in a renovated building - a cultural monument, built in 1898. In the collection of 20 000 different minerals from around the world is from donations from companies and individuals.

National Museum of Natural History was founded in 1889 and is the richest natural science museum on the Balkan Peninsula. In three main sections: geology, zoology and botany have more than 400 species of mammals, over 1200 species of birds, hundreds of thousands of insects and other invertebrates.

Museum of Physical Culture and Sport shows the history of Bulgarian sports and excellence in the Bulgarian athletes. There are over 500 exhibits and photos, a copy of the first Bulgarian bicycles, personal belongings and racing teams of famous athletes, a collection of cups and medals.

National Church Historical and Archaeological Museum of the Holy Synod of Bulgarian Orthodox presents spiritual culture through a variety of manuscripts and incunabula, valuable icons and prints, plates, church antiquities and monuments of Christian art. The exposition of the museum includes models of famous churches, pictures of notable church monuments.

National Theater "Ivan Vazov" was built in 1907 in baroque style and is decorated with figures from Greek mythology. Above the central staircase fresco depicts Apollo and the Muses, and double columns on both sides of the building - the goddess Nicke in chariot. The building was destroyed by fire and restored in 1929. The curtain on the main stage is constructed in the town of Panagyurishte.

Slaveikov Square - here on 1515 the Turks killing St. George of Kratovo. Years later that day appeared blood through his martyrdom. After the Liberation Square is expanded and built with houses, one of which is the great Bulgarian writer and politician Petko Slaveikov. In 20-ies and 30-years of the XX century, the square is formed by today's buildings and shops on the ground. Traffic is limited and becomes a pedestrian area.

Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski The Beginning of the educational system of Bulgaria is of IX century. The idea for the university is formed during the Renaissance. At the end of 1888 establishes a university. Sofia University gradually became one of the prestigious research centers in the Balkans, European type of university. The university's main building is an architectural landmark built by means of two donors - the brothers Evlogi and Hristo Georgiev.

Russian church "St. Nikolas" was built in 1913 in the style of Moscow churches of the XVII century. Its composition is impressive, architectural appearance of the church is very dynamic. Around the big dome symmetrically are four gilded dome. From 1921 until 1950 the church is guided by the Archbishop Seraphim. His relics are in the crypt. If you wish to confess it, it will help you.

Sofia Synagogue was built in 1909 and is the third largest in Europe, after those in Budapest and Amsterdam. It was designed by Austrian architect Gryunander in a Spanish-Moorish style and resembles a synagogue, destroyed by the Nazis in Vienna.

Boyana Church is located at the foot of Vitosha, Boyana district and is - remarkable monument of Bulgarian mediaeval painting. The murals are from 1259, with high artistic qualities. Donors Sevastokrator Kaloyan and his wife Desislava are presented in full length, the portraits of King Constantine and his wife Irina have all the details of time when there is no portrait painting in Europe. Cloister was renovated in 1987, and it is protected by UNESCO.

Sofia zoo was established in 1888 in the park of the former royal palace. Enrichment of the collection was a constant concern. Today in the Sofia zoo keeping many representatives of exotic wildlife.

Pancharevo Lake is a great place for outings of 15 km. from Sofia on the road to Borovets and the Rila Mountains. By 5-kilometer length can be exercised water sports. There are hiking routes, parks with cafes and restaurants, several mineral springs, many holiday houses.

Vitosha is the most visited mountain in Bulgaria and is one of the symbols of Sofia. With the Cherni Vrah (Black Peak) (2290 m) is ranked fourth highest in the country. Unique natural phenomenon stone rivers from the moraines - round granite stones. In the higher parts of the winter continued to 7 months, and summer is only in July and August. The largest river, springing from Vitosha is Struma, there are no lakes. In 1934 to establish a National Park Vitosha. The main tourist centers are Aleko and Golden Bridges.
More Info from Vitosha

The monastery of Dragalevtzi at the foot of Vitosha in the picturesque beech forest. It was founded around 1345 and was called Royal Monastery, destroyed in the conquest of Sofia by the Turks (1382), restored in the XV c., and became the center of Sofia School of Literature. The monastery was a center of revolutionary activity in Sofia. It was declared a cultural monument.

Assumption church was built before the Turks. In 1932 it is attached to the other church - St. Mine. Both temples are decorated with remarkable frescoes. Dragalevski monastery was an important literary center with its own skriptoriy, some manuscripts are particularly high value.

The Middle Aged monastery of Kremikpvtzi St. George the Victorious is 4 km from the Sofia suburb Kremikovtzi. It was built during the Second Bulgarian kingdom, destroyed by the Turks in 1382, and again restored in 1493. Preserved is the monastery church with frescoes from 1493 rounds. St. George was riding a white horse and crashed a long spear in the dragon. Guardian of the temple is the Archangel Michael. Also interesting are the portraits of Constantine and Helena and donor's portrait. Valuable monument is Kremikovski Gospel by XV vek.

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