Located at the heart of the Balkan peninsula, on the crossroad between the Western and Eastern world, Sofia is a city of many faces: it is busy and modern and at the same time peaceful and serene; it can be both lively and intense and thoughtful and mysterious. Similarly to its tumultuous historical past, Sofia is an ever-changing and ever-transforming city, that combines in an unique way multiple world perspectives.
Remnants of Sofia's not so distant communist years such as the Monument of the Soviet Union (Паметник на Съветската армия) quietly cohabits with the symbol of its Tsarist time - the old Royal Palace of king Alexander of Battenberg. The Palace itself has been initially built as a court and administration building during Ottoman rule. Not far from it, the stronghold of Orthodox faith - the "Alexander Nevsky" Cathedral peacefully coexists with the mosque "Banya Bashi" (Баня Баши) and Sofia's Synagogue. At the very center of the city, symbolically, all roads meet at Sofia's temple of knowledge - University "St. Kliment Ohridski" (Св. Климент Охридски).
The city of Sofia itself dates back to as long as 2,400 years ago. Its ancient name "Serdica" (Сердика) derives from the local Celtic tribe of the Serdi which established the town in the 5th century BC. It remained a relatively small settlement until 1879, when it was declared the capital of Bulgaria. Currently it is Bulgaria's biggest city and the 15-th largest city in the European Union. Its population is 1.4 million citizens (including suburbs). Thanks to the mountain of Vitosha (Витоша)(2,292 m), situated only 30 minutes away from the city center, Sofia also prides itself in being one of the few European capitals possessing a well-developed ski-resort during winter time.
Through its unique combination of Eastern introspection and Western determination Sofia asserts itself as an international city of tolerance and hospitality. It rightfully deserves its name, derived from the ancient Greek word for "wisdom" - "sophos" (σοφός).
This is a short list of highlighted sightseeings in Sofia.
- Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
- National Theater "Ivan Vazov"
- Vitosha Boulevard
- The King's Palace (which is now the National Art Gallery and National Museum of Ethnography)
- Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski"
- National Assembly of Bulgaria (The Parliament)
- National Palace of Culture (NDK)
- Boris Garden (also known as The Park of Freedom)
- Boyana Church
- Museum of Socialist Art