Most city tours start from the walls of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (Alexander Nevsky Lavra and the Church of St. Sophia). The building of the National Assembly with an equestrian statue of the Russian Emperor Alexander II is interesting on the People’s Assembly Square. Along the Tsar Liberator Boulevard, you can walk past the Russian Church of St. Nicholas, as well as the Museum of Natural Sciences, to Batenberg Square, considered the center of the city.
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The best shops in Sofia are open along Vitosha Boulevard and in the gallery in front of the National Palace of Culture.
Travelers will be interested in the only functioning mosque in Sofia, built at the end of the 16th century by the Turkish architect Koca Mimar Sinan. Among other architectural monuments designed by him, one can name the Selim II Mosque in Turkish Edirne. Today, the mosque we are describing is the Banya-Bashi mosque, in the back of the building of which there is a small, not so long ago discovered site of an ancient bathhouse that once adjoined the mosque, and a fountain with hot drinking water. You can get inside the mosque when the believers do not pray.
Another attraction in Sofia, which has the word “bath” in its name – the Mineral (or Turkish) bath – was built in the early 20s. last century. This building is a true architectural and historical pearl of the Bulgarian capital, its graceful facade and ceramic decoration refer us to the ornaments of the medieval churches of the city. During the difficult for the whole of Eastern Europe 90s. of the last century, the building, unfortunately, fell into decay and has been restored for almost 20 years. In the future, the city authorities plan to place the Civic Museum here.
In the center of the small Banski Square, between the Mineral Bath and the Banya-Bashi Mosque, there is a modern fountain. And behind the bath there is a beautiful complex of fountains spouting drinking water.
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Other attractions: the Buyuk-Jami mosque, the National Archaeological Museum, the Church of St. Peter of Samothrace, the church of St. Sedmochisnitsa rebuilt from the Black Mosque.
Also of interest are the Museum of the History of Sofia, the City Art Gallery in the central park, the buildings of the Sofia University. Clement of Ohrid and the Sofia Mineral Baths, built on the site of Roman baths.
The National Museum of History was founded in 1981 in connection with the magnificent celebration of the 1300th anniversary of the Bulgarian statehood. The legendary Thracian gold is exhibited in such a way that visitors have the opportunity to evaluate each of the exhibits individually. Other objects – bas-reliefs, ceramics and silver – show the achievements of the medieval era. The museum also displays many artifacts from the Bulgarian Revival period, including folklore costumes, household items and jewelry.
3 things to do in Sofia
- Collect healing mineral water.
- For the first time in your life, try on ski equipment.
- Learn how to make homemade cosmetics based on rose oil.
Although the Black Sea coast is located 380 km from Sofia, local residents and guests of the city have where to cool off on a hot summer day. In the capital itself and its environs there are many rivers, lakes and reservoirs, which are equipped with places for swimming and water sports.
Mineral beaches are especially popular among vacationers, where you can swim not only in a natural reservoir, but also in a thermal pool with warm water saturated with healing substances. You don’t have to travel far to combine business with pleasure. The most famous beach is located within the city, 12 km from the center. “Korali” is located on the banks of the reservoir in the Pancharevo quarter. Buses No. 1, 3 and 4 (1.60 BGN) and taxis (15-20 BGN) go there, the trip will take 10-20 minutes. Entrance to the beach is paid, the price depends on the day of the week and the age of the guest – from 3 to 8 BGN on weekdays and from 5 to 10 BGN on weekends.
You will have to pay for a sun lounger separately – 3 BGN. But on Saturday and Sunday there are so many people that there are not enough sunbeds, so you should take a rug with you.
The infrastructure in Korali is well developed. There are showers, changing rooms and toilets (including those in a heated room), cafes and restaurants, as well as two swimming pools – for children and for adults. You can sunbathe in a cozy clearing, and hide from the sun in the shade of a large tree.
The Bulgarian capital is located in the Sofia basin and is surrounded by mountains on all sides. The most famous of them is Vitosha, on the slopes of which there is a national park.
But foreign tourists are attracted to these parts not only by beautiful views and fresh air. Here is the most popular ski resort in Bulgaria. Now it is experiencing an unprecedented rise – athletes from the USA, Australia and other countries are striving to get here. On the slopes of Vitosha stretched 4500 m of mountain trails and 11 km of flat skiing. More than 10 routes of varying difficulty – from green to black, so that neither beginners nor professionals will be bored.
The ski season on Vitosha starts in mid-December and ends in April. At this time, the cost of the ski pass increases – 32 BGN for the whole day (20 BGN in the low season). You can climb the mountain on the ski lifts in the Dragalevtsi and Simeonovo quarters. To the first one, you need to take buses No. 66 and 93 from the Hotel Moreni stop, where trolleybus No. 8 arrives from the center. To the second – by bus No. 67 (departs from the Seminariata stop, near the European Union metro station). By taxi, the journey will take 15-30 minutes and will cost about 30 BGN.