SOFIA, BULGARIA - JUNE 2006
In June 2006 I visited Bulgaria for the first time. On my way, I made a stopover in London and had dinner at the Wagamama, Covent Garden, a nice restaurant in a lovely area. By the way, do you know which is the only street in London where you drive on the right hand side of the road?
"SAVOY - A great (and expensive) hotel"
Sofia is one of the oldest capital cities in Europe, its history dating back to the seventh century BC, when Thracians established a settlement there, and the monuments of its Thracian, Roman, Bulgarian and Ottoman history can be seen side by side with modern contemporary buildings.
"GRAND HOTEL, SOFIA is also a nice hotel. The pictures however (including the blurred) do not make justice to its fine quality"
"VIEW from room 512"
"NATIONAL THEATRE - Ivan Vazov's National Theatre is the oldest theatre in the country. The Neoclassical building was finished in 1906 and opened on January 3rd, 1907. Unfortunately, the water was not springing from the beautiful fountain..."
"THE CITY GARDEN, existing since 1872, is Sofia's oldest and most central public garden. Originally arranged in the last years of the Ottoman rule, the garden was named the Alexander II Garden in honour of Russian tsar Alexander II, who initiated the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, which led to the Liberation of Bulgaria. The orientation of the garden has been changed, and nowadays is no longer oriented towards the former royal palace, but towards the Ivan Vazov National Theatre. The garden is a favoured place for chess players, amateur musicians, and young lovers"
"THE FORMER ROYAL PALACE at Battenberg Square, a typical example of Second Empire architecture, now hosts the National Art Gallery. The Gallery houses the country's largest collection of medieval paintings, including more than four thousand icons"
"BANK - a beautifully restored building near the former royal palace and the city garden"
"THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OF ST. NICHOLAS is usually known as the Russian Church. Finished in 1912 and inaugurated on November 11, 1914, it was built to fulfil the needs of the Russian community in Sofia"
"ST. SOFIA - The Hagia Sophia Church is the second oldest church in Sofia, built on the site of several earlier churches dating back to the times of the Roman town of Serdica. The present basilica is believed to be the fifth to be constructed on the site and was built during the reign of Emperor Justinian I (527-565). It is now one of the most important pieces of Early Christian architecture in South-eastern Europe"
"WINDY DAY - One of my rare pictures in Sofia"
"THE ST. ALEXANDER NEVSKI CATHEDRAL, built in Neo-Byzantine style and occupying an area of 3170 square metres, serves as the cathedral church of the Patriarch of Bulgaria and is one of the largest Orthodox cathedrals in the world (it can take 5,000 people inside). According to Wikipedia, «the cathedral's gold-plated dome is 45 m high, with the bell tower reaching 50.52 m. The temple has 12 bells with total weight of 23 tons, the heaviest weighing 12 tons and the lightest 10 kg. The interior is decorated with Italian marble in various colours, Brazilian onyx, alabaster, and other luxurious materials. The central dome has the Lord's Prayer inscribed around it with thin gold letters. The construction of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral started in 1882 (having been planned since 19th February, 1879), when the foundation stone was laid, but it was in fact built between 1904 and 1912 in honour to the Russian soldiers who died during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, as a result of which Bulgaria was liberated from Ottoman rule»."