Thursday, February 21, 2008



Sofia, at 550 meters above sea level, is surrounded by Mountains. The Balkan Range, the Lozen Mountain, Mount Vitosha and the Lyulin Mountain encircle the city, and thus the weather may be truly hot in summer. However, in 2006 (late June, early July), the temperature was bearable and a walk in the city was an interesting programme!

"THE LION'S BRIDGE over the Vladaiska River (north of the city centre in the direction of the Central Railway Station) has statues of four lions"

"FOUNTAIN - At the Maria Luiza Boulevard, near the Mosque, there is a public fountain that provides water for many residents. At least I saw many of them filling bottles..."

"MARKET - On the other side of the road we may find the central market that spreads over 3,200 square metres, and took two years to complete. The Market employs over 1,000 people, and offers foodstuff stalls and clothing, accessories and jewellery shops"

"MARIA LUIZA is one of the most important boulevards of Sofia"

"SAINT SOFIA - At the crossroad of «Maria Luisa» with two other main Boulevards, the statue of Saint Sofia, symbol and patron of the city, may be seen"

"SVETA PETKA SAMARDIJIISKA - The Church of St Petka of the Saddlers is a small medieval one-nave Orthodox church, partially dug into the ground in the TZUM subway"

"TRAFFIC POLICEMAN, with cell phone..."

"ST. NEDELYA SQUARE - An interesting place near the Sheraton, the Presidential palace and the St. Nedelya Church"

"CHANGING OF THE GUARD in front of the President's Office. Unfortunately I couldn't get any non-blurred picture of the guards walking their funny way"

"ROMAN ROAD - Sofia was originally a Thracian settlement called Serdica. Around 29 AD, Sofia was conquered by the Romans and renamed Ulpia Serdica. Behind the Presidential Palace and the Sheraton, near the Rotunda Church, there are remains of a Roman road"

"BANG & OLUFSEN - Interested in the best design audio and video products? You may buy them in Sofia..."

"BRIDE - Like everywhere else!"

"OPEN-AIR BOOK MARKET - At Slaveikov Square a large book market is arranged. There you may sit next to the statues of two Bulgarian writers - father and son Petko and Pencho Slaveikov - and enjoy your reading"

""SCULPTURE AND FOUNTAIN in the park near to the National Culture Palace"

"NEVSKI CATHEDRAL, FOUNTAIN AND PARK seen from the top of the Panorama Restaurant at the National Palace of Culture"

"VODENIZATA is a restaurant at the foot of the Vitosha Mountain, where you may have dinner while a Folklore performance takes place. One of the highlights of the show is the walk barefoot on the burnt/burning ashes of a huge tree trunk. But that night, the highlight was that Portugal sent England out of the World Cup 3-1 on penalties, after their quarter-final ended 0-0. The Portuguese goal-keeper, with three penalty saves, was the hero of the game"


S-V-H said...

I like your photo stories very much, Gil.
Great pictures and interesting comments.You bring, a for me unknown country closer to me. Looking to your posts, feels like I am traveling too.

kuanyin333 said... really get around. I always love visiting here--it's like taking a trip around the world! Sorry it's taken me awhile to get back here, but I have many perfectly good alibis! :-)

Nikon said...

That has to be one of the most architecturally eclectic cities I've ever seen!

Anonymous said...

You did it again! Now I would like to see also this city :)
Blue mountains, beautiful architecture,that is, what your photos told, thanks!

Peter said...

When you visit places, you do it thorughly! Do you document yourself before, during or afterwards? Anyhow, for us readers, it's really complete! Sincere thanks!

According to the football result, this trip must have taen place in 2006! We are more and more approaching the up-to-date! Soon we will se your trips from last year!

Tinsie said...

I loved all the pictures and descriptions - well done! My favourite is the Petko and Pencho Slaveikov bench. If I ever make it to Sofia, I'll look out for it :-)

99 said...

Interesting place and mix of cultures and history.
Those burning ashes must hurt! :-0

lyliane six said...

Il y a du vin en Hongrie,(il n'est sûrement pas aussi bon que le vino verde) mais pas sur votre table, vous n'avez pas fêté le Foot?
C'est vraiment une curiosité cette église enterrée, dont on ne voit que le toit!
Les bâtiments sont très austères,c'est l'uniforme des gardes que j'aime.

JO said...

Great pics and comments... Interesting the water supply - Great idea... seems liek it would be a nice place to come by and visit with folks while you stocked up. ;)

Anonymous said...

loved this photo series of this city...lovely viewing th entire city through your lens...have a nice time!

Lilli & Nevada said...

I just love how you take me on your voyage, so many beautiful places to see. Not sure about that last photo mind over matter i suppose but ouch on this end

Azer Mantessa said...

very nice with more people seen in the streets. that football results reminds me of two scousers (gerard and carrager) did not score for england and my kids were staring at me like it was liverpool's fault that england lost


Indrani said...

nice pics...
can't help asking, the last pic, was the man walking on burning ashes or burnt ashes?

Chris said...

Oh, I just love the Slaveikov statue on the bench. I would head right there. I have found similar statues in Dublin and La Coruna. . . such nice ideas. How long are you in Sofia?

RuneE said...

I beginning to feel at home in Bulgaria!

Lori said...

What an interesting trip. That looked like good food you were having at the dinner. And I love those uniforms they were wearing in front of the President's office. Thanks for showing us. Enjoy your weekend!

Noushy Syah said...

OHHH reminded me of that sad sad sad world cup hx when Portugal kicked out us..sob sob sob...I was like ohh plzzz!!

...Great place mix with culture and hx.Definitely worth a visit.

Hope you have a lovely w/end and more posting for us.

Take care.

alicesg said...

Lovely photos of a lovely city. How many shoes have you worn off while you are globetrotting? hahaha... I remember I worn off one pair of shoes when I climb the Great Wall of China, did a lot of walking in China. Thanks for sharing your photos. Have nice weekend.

Joy said...

Wow! Sofia really looks like a very interesting place. It has touches of both western and eastern Europe.

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Daniel Chérouvrier said...

Les staues de bronze ne sont pas toujours de marbre !

Chuckeroon said...

He, Trotter...wonderful! Can you get me a snap of the inside of the Sofia railway station (for old time's sake) and one of the taxi rank outside. Your Sofia set really means a lot to me. Know Bulgaria so well. Glad to see it looking much perkier today.

Tks for kind remarks on R u T...I'm enjoying capturing the Brentford set as much as the watchers and lurkers seem to enjoying following it..

Jo's-D-Eyes said...

hmmm yeh Gil, I visited some time your blog and found out that it wasn't renewed so now you are still at Sofia I love the "steel statues" on the bench. A ot of detailled photo's form your travels, I love them all!!

Have a great weekend ( I was busy with my sick dog) Thanks for visiting my blog last week. :) JoAnn

lv2scpbk said...

It's amazing in the bigger cities what street scenes you can get. I like the bench with the statues and the girl reading alot. You captured some great shots.

Jules said...

Good to catch up although it takes ages to try and download all your photos and as usual most haven't come in. Managed to open comments page though which is good.
Glad you liked Kokoda and Bulgaria is also very interesting.

Isadora said...

Great photos and informative captions - as usual. You have peaked my interest in our neighbor and will head down that way later this year.

The church that is still at its original level - thus 'sunken' into the ground is probably the most fascinating for me. Do you ever wonder what lies beneath what we now have paved as streets? Civilizations have built on top of one another so there is a lot of buried history - particularly in Europe.

Anonymous said...

I feel like I'm in Sofia with you, after looking at these wonderful photos. Thank you. Congrats to Portugal on winning their game. ;-)


Stella Bella said...

Interesting! ;) Before we decided to go to Budapest in May this year, we've thought about Sofia! :) But we picked Budapest in the end.

Thanks for sharing your lovely photos! They are great!

We went to Lisbon in 2006.
Check out our photos
Enjoy! :)
It was our best holiday! We loved everything there. It was fantastic!

Kunterbunt said...

Not all places are beautiful - as in every big city - but all in all it seems to be an interesting town.

Dick said...

Nice pictures completed with a good story. There are a lot of wires in the streets, but maybe it's usual for most cities. We have only underground wiring. Thanks for visiting I appreciate it very much.

NormanTheDoxie said...

I envy you, and can only imagine traveling the globe at this point in my life. For now I'll have to experience the excitement through your beautiful images.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot. I’m actually delighted to know that my blog hobby gives pleasure to blog friends dropping by!

Great to see you back here. Of course, living in a beautiful (and my favourite) Hawaiian island, you have a lot of alibis… Anyhow, you would always be excused… ;))

Haven’t thought of it, but you are probably right!

I’m glad that you liked. One day, when I retire, I’ll probably join the DP and start posting on Lisbon; maybe I manage to see you all coming here… ;))

Many years ago, I would prepare everything in advance in such a way that the visit sometimes looked almost like a «recognition» experience… Now, with this lack of time, it’s rather on the flight getting there, and on the spot; sometimes later for the posts…
Actually, as you may see below the title of the post, the date is (early) July 2006. Just nineteen months behind!

The Slaveikov bench is quite famous; almost every tourist gets a picture there… ;)

Well, they do it everyday; must be used to… ;))
Obrigado pelo comentário!

C’était en Bulgarie. Mais c’est vrai; je crois que le vin (pas Vinho Verde) n’était pas encore sur la table… L’église semi-enterrée est très intéressante; j’en avais vu une aussi à Athènes…

Actually, the water comes from the thermal spa just below the mosque… Amazing!

Thanks! Glad that you liked it!

Lilli & Nevada,
Thanks. Mind over matter, it could be. But it must burn a bit… ;))

Azer Mantessa,
Tell them England lost because Portugal was better; at the penalty kicks… ;))

Indrani Ghose,
I think they were burnt on the top, but somehow still burning below. Aarrghh…

We also have one of Fernando Pessoa, here at Chiado in Lisbon…
I was in Bulgaria for a week, but that was June/July 2006!

Thanks! That’s a very nice compliment!

I don’t remember the food, so it probably was neither fantastic, nor catastrophic… ;)
The guards’ stepping was amazing, but I only got blurred pictures…

Noushy Syah,
It happened at the World Cup 2006, but it had already happened at the Euro 2004. At least for 2008, we don’t have any liability… ;))

Alice SG,
I still keep a Timberland pair of shoes that made miles and miles around the world, in particular in New York… But once I left my «flying» Adidas in Tahiti… ;))

It’s surely a nice place to visit; Bulgaria, not only Sofia…

Well noted!

Got there by plane, didn’t go to the railway station. But it’s much perkier probably! ;)
I’ll be checking your Brentford…

Thanks! Glad to see you commenting here. As I have a nineteen month delay in posting, my Sofia trip was in June/July 2006! Hope everything is getting better with your pet!

Thanks. The Slaveikov bench is a hit!

Thanks. Sorry for the download charge. I reduced the posts shown on page to five, but still that’s a lot of pictures. Happy that you managed to comment ;(

Thanks. It’s not that far for you to get there… You’re right about what lies beneath; imagine digging the Underground system in Athens or Rome… ;))

Thanks. That was very kind!

Stella Bella,
You won’t regret having chosen Budapest…
I’ve seen some of your pictures in Lisbon. You look gorgeous! I’ll check the rest of those 280 photos later… So, when are you coming back here? ;))

A nice place to visit, sure!

I would say, there are still… a lot of wires. They will probably be moving them underground as things develop… ;)

You live in the heart of the Universe! Don’t be envious… ;))

Ming the Merciless said...

I'm always amazed at how intricate the details are inside old churches.

And I love markets. Every time I visit a foreign country, the first few places I visit are the supermarkets and the outdoor markets. It's always fun to see the locals shop.

Lakshmi said...

what a variety...thats what street life is all about :)


Anonymous said...

The old churches in Sofia are stunning, and the work that has been done to recover them is quite impressive!

Not with so many beautiful colours as in Rajasthan, but lively anyhow...

Ron said...

Great photos once again. It's great seeing the world thru your lens.

We almost went here a few years ago for an adoption. I am very interested in Bulgaria as I was never in Eastern Europe.

Anonymous said...

It may be different today, but some years ago you had better be careful with the adoptions in Eastern Europe...