Sofia is one of the oldest cities on the Balkans found by the Thracian tribe Serdi. In 29 A.D. Sofia became the capital of the Roman province of Inner Dacia. Through the ages, the city played role as an important trading center in the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires. Under Ottoman rule, Sofia was the center of Rumelia province. Sofia became the capital of restored Bulgaria in 1879, with a population of only about 12,000. Today many streets, buildings, parks, and even whole neighborhoods preserve the architectural style from the turn of the century. We will explore the compact city center, Boyana Church (UNESCO) and the National History Museum - one of the largest on the Balkans.
The day starts with a short transfer to the National History Museum, occupying the residency of the former communist ruler Todor Zhivkov, located at the outskirts of Sofia. We will have a guided tour of the rich museum collection, with special attention drawn to the key dates, facts and exhibits. Close by is the Boyana Church, which we will visit to unravel the global importance of its proto-Renaissance frescoes. The afternoon will be for gentle walking tour of the center, where you will learn about the National Library, Sofia University, The Parliament, The St. Alexander Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral, the National Theatre, St. Sofia Church, Sofia's oldest building - St George Rotunda, The houses of the Council of Ministers, presidency and the former communist party headquarters, the ruins of the ancient city of Serdika (dating from the 5th-6th C), the National Palace of Culture, the main shopping streets of Sofia etc.