A conference at the Bulgarian Space Agency forced me to go to Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria.
I noticed that within the conference period I could have a day off to visit the city, which I planned with the help of my iPhone navigation app.
Sofia is located in the center of the Balkan Peninsula, in the western part of the country, at the foot of Mount Vitosha, one of the touristic icons of Sofia, and where is possible to practice alpinism and skiing.
The history of the city covers a period of about 2,400 years; its former name “Serdica” came from a Celtic tribe, the Serdi that founded the city in the 5th century B.C.; the city kept this name until the 14th century, when the notes of ancient merchants of Ragusa(the former Dubrovnik in Croatia) mention for the first time the Saint Sofia Church (Sofia in ancient Greek means “wisdom”), built in the 6th century. From that date the name of the city became Sofia.
During that day I visited the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, built in the 19th century in a Neo-Byzantine style, the Boyana Church, classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, a medieval church dated from the 11th century, the National Opera and Ballet building and the SS. Cyril and Methodius National Library, which actual building is one of the icons of Sofia, built in mid 20th century.
I made a short visit to some of the museums of the city
I also went to see the traces of the Roman people in the city, such as the Church of St. George, built in the 4th century, a red brick shaped circular ground plan (“rotunda”) and the Amphitheatre of Serdica, which construction took place between the 3rd and the 4th centuries A.D.
Finally I enjoyed some of the green spaces of Sofia, like the Borisova gradina, the oldest of the city, the City garden and the Doctors’ Garden, which name comes from the monument to the medics that died during the Russo-Turkish War, in the 19th century.