"Sofia Guide - One of the Oldest Cities in Europe" Top 5 Page for this destination Sofia by desert_princess

Sofia Travel Guide: 1,548 reviews and 3,855 photos

Sofia - "Grows bigger but doesn't grow older"

Sofia is one of the oldest cities in Europe - The oldest found settlements on its territory are dating from the first part of the neolithic - IV BC.
In VIII - VII century BC , there was a Thracian village located around the mineral springs in the center by Banya Bashi mosque. It was part of the Odrin kingdom in V BC and its inhabitants were called serds.
After 29 BC ,the settlement was conquered by Rome and after 46 AC it is included in the Roman province Thracia and becomes a strategic center in the region. It was given the name "Serdika" - town of the serds, by the Romans.Under the rule of emperor Ulpii Trajan ,in the beginning of the I century , the town gained importance and was named after him - Ulpiia Serdika. The fortified town with round and later triangle towers of Serdika was built in the end of the II century.It was situated in the area between the streets of Legue , Alabin, Pozitano, Washington ,Halite, Ekzarh Josif and Serdika. By the planning of the town was applied the roman regulatory system, where the streets were wide from 3,8 to 6 m and were orientated north - south and east - west,paved with stones and having water and canalization networks underneath.
Serdika was situated on the main international road from Middle Europe to Byzantion ( lately called Konstantinopol ) and on the road from the Danube to the Egaean Sea. In the III century it became the main town of province Inner Dakiya, and established its own monetary production. It reaches its peak in developpment under the rule of Konstantin I the Great ( 306 - 337 ) when it was a rich and prospering town, rival to many famous antique cities. From the end of IV century it was included in the borders of the Eastern Roman Empire. Damaged by the invasion of the Khuns ( 441 - 447 ) the town recovers fast and has been expanded under emperor Justinian ( 527 - 565 ) and Tiberii Konstantin ( 578 - 582 )
in 809 ,the town was conquered by Khan Krum ( 803 - 814 ) and included into the Bulgarian State , being given the Slavic name "Sredets",mentioned by Byzantine authors as "Triaditza" - the Greek equivalent of "Sredets".
Under the first Bulgarian kingdom the city is a Strong fortified town ,a strategic and administrative center and is included in the borders of the Western Bulgarian state by Samouil. In 986 the town was many times under siege by the army of emperor Vasilii I - the murderer of Bulgarians and conquered by Byzantine in 1018. King Assen I recaptured the town in 1078. In the XII - XIV century ,the town became a center of crafts - gold and iron goods, weapons , table ware etc. In the last part of XIV century,Sredetz was named Sofia - after the "St Sofia" church. With this name , the town was first mentioned under king Ivan Shishman ( 1371 - 1393 ) in a certificate given to the Dragalevtsi Monastery. In 1382 ,after severe battle ,the town was conquered by the Turks and becomes the center of Rumelian Beilerber province. With the time it changes its appearance and starts to resemble more and more to a turk town with mixed population. In 1797 the town was conquered and robbed by the army of Osman Pazwantoglu and in 1831 - 1832 by Kurdzalians.After the war of Krim ( 1853-1856) the town starts to loose its importance as the capital of Beilerber province. The Bulgarian population took active part in the church national revolution. In 1870 the Bulgarian fighter for Freedom Vassil Levski founded here a revolution committee. After the failure of the April Revolution in 1876, the Bulgarian population of Sofia was being cruelly terrorized by the Turks. During the Russian-Turkish liberation war ( 1877 - 1878 ) the town was converted in a Turkish military camp. The town was delivered from the Russian army on the 4 th January 1878 . By that time there were around 3000 houses and 15 000 inhabitants there. Because of its strategic location , the town was chosen on the 3rd april 1879 to be the capital of Kingdom Bulgaria. The population of the town increased very fast after the construction of the railroad , connecting Vienna with Tzarigrad (Istanbul) in 1888.

Let me tell ya about my hometown

From as far as I know , Sofia does not have a Tourist information office - something common in EU countries. So the info I have gathered and translated here is usually rare to find.

I can say I am more or less done with the things to see while in Sofia , I just need to add the places 4 entertainment and the restaurants and accommodation tips and my page will be finished.....

I don't even like Sofia that much as I prefer smaller cities or little towns that bear the spirit of the past in every stone , but facts are facts, and the city has plenty to offer as sightseeing , entertainment and history.

Drivers are crazy ,they don't respect any rules so you gotta be very careful while driving or walking in the streets. Don't expect that they will stop as soon as you put your foot from the sidewalk to the street.

Enter here as I take you on a VIRTUAL SOFIA TOUR

The best about Sofia are the surrounding mountains - check out Vitosha mountain and Plana mountain ( More mountains to come in my pages hopefully )
13 june 2005 - OMG! I just saw that I am a Top 5 tipmaker in 2 locations - Sofia and Nessebar. Claps claps hands :))) Thanx 2 everybody..I have put about the whole month of may to build my pages concentrating on the Sofia one, and still even not the half of my photos is uploaded....Now I feel rewarded 4 my efforts:))) Smiles :)))Bows gracefully before you, the VT public :))

Sofia Center

Sofia was planned to be the "little sister of Vienna" before communism came and threw its cold imposant buildings in the pure heart of the city.Now it's a mixture of architecture from all styles and eras...

Sofia coordinates - latitude: 42° 42' N longitude: 23° 20' E
There are several orientation points that we use for Directions and areas in the CENTER
in the center the main orientation points are:
- popa - statue of Patriarch Evtimii ,located at the crossing of Bul Vassil Lewski and Patriarch Evtimii
- NDK - National palace of culture
- Vitosha Street
- Apteka - Located at the crossing of Vitosha Street and Patriarch Evtimii street .Used to be a Pharmacy and a popular meeting point , now it's a
rent a video/DVD place
- Halite and the "Banya Bashi" Moschee
- Tzum - The biggest shopping mole/ and Sheraton Hotel / Sveta Nedelya Square
- Orlov Most / Eagles Bridge
- Luvov Most / Lion's Bridge
- The National Stadium "Vassil Levski"
- the monument of "Vassil Levski"
-Pette Kiosheta / The five corners ( actually there atr 2 - the big ones and the small ones . Make sure u have the right one. The big ones are the most known )
-Ruski Pametnik / The Russian Monument

Once outside the center , there are
- Mladost I,II, and III,
-Droujba - close to the airport
-Liulin - named after Liulin mountain
- Obelia 1,2
- Belite brezi
- Hladilnika
-Orlandovtzi...etc etc
Page built in mai and june 2005
P.S. - All of you that dig into my Sofia guide - keep in mind that I have put 2 months of my life / more or less/ to come up with it - all of this for fame and glory . So If you take the time to RATE the tips you find useful - it won't hurt you that much ,and it will be a small reward for my efforts - and all us that invested time on this site.

Useful Links :
Sofia an european city? Current street condition in the capital
Mad drivers in Sofia - traffic accidents recorded by the observation cams
Sofia Interactive map
Sofia city guide
Visit the official web site of Sofia Municipality
Btv News - Online site of BTV television chain

The Weekly program of Sofia - events ,movies ,exhibitions

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  • Last visit to Sofia: Apr 2007
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (149)

Comments (76)

  • Feb 1, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    Thank you for your information on Sofia. it was interesting to read the history of the city and gave me great ideas of what to visit. The more I visit this country the more interesting I find it.

  • Tom_In_Madison's Profile Photo
    Oct 21, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    Good job, been there a few times and learned a lot from your page.

  • Dec 30, 2010 at 7:56 AM

    and also an art fest is organised since 2006 inside and out of teh Water tower and using it as a symbol of alternative art spaces around Sofia www.watertowerartfest.com

  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo
    May 7, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    Love your travel pages. You've obviously worked hard. Will be scanning them for info.

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Aug 21, 2009 at 2:27 PM

    You have done a wonderful job of showing this fine city. A friend of mine lived here 2 years with Peace Corp and loved the people and culture. Keep up the splendid information

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Jul 5, 2009 at 1:08 AM

    Very helpful transportation tips here. We will visit Sofia in September, so I am currently checking out some tips. I will be back for more.

  • ghosthunter's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2009 at 5:37 PM

    Thanks for your warnings about homeless dogs. I will be in Sofia for the first time in June & can't wait. I am afraid i will be feeding all the stray dogs. I just love them.

  • Propermark's Profile Photo
    Oct 22, 2008 at 8:21 AM

    Hi! Great Tips! I need to comeback and read more of them. I'm a bit scared by the driving attitude in Sofia.. :-)

  • ger4444's Profile Photo
    Feb 20, 2008 at 3:10 AM

    great and very informative page abour the capital!

  • Jan 18, 2008 at 6:27 PM

    I was part of a small band of American writers in Sophia 94-96. The murals were Trumps from Crowleys' Tarot, done exactly; Practicing occultists gathered here. Ivo Dulgia, at the end, told me , "in Bulgaria, miracles are good for 3 days. I had 3 years."


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