Giant garden

Borissowa gradina, София

The oldest and largest park of София is the Borissowa gradina, named after tsar Boris III from the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry. It was created in 1884 in the Southeast outside of the city; due to the vast growth of София it is now part of the city center. When you walk through it you can see the different faces of this place: in the North it is a landscape park, further south it is more like a forest.

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National Museum of Military History, София

I really hate war, I’ve never joined an army and I’m not attracted by any kind of military stuff. But the National Museum of Military History in София is so special (and awkward to me) that I had to visit it. The museum belongs to the Ministry of Defence of Bulgaria and dates back already to the year 1916. It tells the military history of the country in multiple buildings, but most people will go there for the vast exhibition of military equipment.

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National gallery

National Gallery, София

If you’re interested in Bulgarian art and Soviet-style artworks, then the Kvadrat 500 belonging to the National Gallery is your best choice. It is the biggest art museum of София and was opened in 2015. Next to Bulgarian works there is also a lot of European art and you can additionally see works from different other continents. The collection contains 42,000 pieces and only a small fraction can be shown in the 28 halls of the museum next to the Alexander Newski Cathedral.

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Dark cathedral

Alexander-Newski-Cathedral, София

One of the most important sights at София is the Alexander Newski Cathedral. It is huge, the dome is around 45 meters high and it was designed in Neo-Byzantine style. The impressive house of prayer was built from the year 1882 on and is today the central church of the Bulgarian-Orthodox community and one of the fifty biggest Christian churches. It gives space to 5,000 worshippers and is named after Alexander Newsky, a saint of the Russian-Orthodox church.

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Romans and Greeks

Bulgarian Archeological Museum, София

Bulgaria has a long history. София was once known as Serdica, the capital of the Roman province of Thrace. The Macedonians conquered the city as well as the Huns and the Osmans. To explain this past and the archeological findings of the country, the Bulgarian Archeological Museum was opened in 1905. If you’re surprised by the structures of the building: yes, it was an Ottoman mosque built from 1451 on.

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Hidden church

Sveti Georgi Rotonda, София

You might search quite a while until you find the rotunda dedicated to St. George the dragon slayer at the center of София, Bulgaria. The church, which is the oldest building of the city, is fully surrounded by modern buildings which contain a hotel, the ministry of science and the seat of the Bulgarian president. It dates back to Roman times and was built in the 4th century; the frescos inside date back to between the 10th and the 14th century CE.

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Holy Sophia

Holy Sophia, София

When you’re leaving the metro system of София at the main transportation hub Serdica, you’ll see a large statue of a woman with a golden face high above the square. It’s the Holy Sophia with a laurel wreath in one hand and an owl as the symbol of wisdom on the other arm. This statue was placed there just in the year 2000; before that, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (better known as Lenin) was standing there and looking at the headquarter of the Communist party.

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