About Sofia


Sofia is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Bulgaria. Ringed by the Vitosha Mountain (a national park and fascinating destination for eco tourism) to the south, Sofia stands on an open plane at 550 m above sea level. Since ancient times the city has been famous for the abundance of cold and thermal mineral water springs in and around it. The water is still available today and is highly praised for its numerous qualities.


'Sofia' means 'Holy Wisdom' and is derived from the name of the antique cruciform basilica of Saint Sophia (5th century AD) which is still preserved, representing one of the main tourist attractions of the modern city. The first settlement on the site was established around twenty-two hundred centuries ago by the Thracian tribe of Serds. It is their ethnic name that was taken by the Romans for Serdica in the first half of 1st century AD, when they took the town into their possession and built a large rectangular fortress, the remains of which can still be seen.


The antique city of Serdica flourished under Emperor Aurelian who turned it to the centre of the Roman province of Dacia Interna, and especially - under the reign of Emperor Constantine the Great in the early 4th century AD, the founder of the Eastern Roman Empire known as Byzantium. Serdica was Constantine's preferred place of residence over Constantinople, and he used to say that, 'Serdica is my Rome!' Today the unique remains of his Rotunda court church of St. George are among the major landmarks of Sofia.


The establishment of the modern capital in the end of 19th century has coincided with laying of the foundations of Sofia University of St. Clement of Ochrid, the largest academic institution in Bulgaria, and among the most important in the Balkans. Its building shaped in sumptuous neo-Baroque style is an impressive site-seeing in itself. In the recent years Sofia is featured by a dynamic development of its modern business facilities and cosmopolitan spirit, while at the same time is offering enchanting opportunities for leisure and amusements, with its quality clubs and restaurants, variety of art galleries and museums, the Opera and 'Bulgaria' concert hall, curious archaeological and architectural sites.