Archaeology & Ancient History

Sofia’s history stretches back several millennia, and there are ample places to see this march of time from the neolithic tribes through to the Greeks, Romans and Byzantines.

Ancient Serdica Complex Stunning open-air display of Sofia’s Roman roots, when the city was called ‘Serdica’.

Sveta Sofia Church The capital’s namesake church is a beauty, but the ancient underground necropolis is jaw-dropping.

Sveti Georgi Rotunda This tiny church, surrounded by modern buildings, is Sofia’s oldest surviving building.

Archaeological Museum An embarrassment of Thracian, Roman and medieval artefacts.

National Museum of History More Thracian and Roman treasures, housed in the foothills of Mt Vitosha.

Sveta Petka Samardzhiiska Church A piece of medieval Sofia perched amid the Serdica ruins.

Historic Places of Worship

Sofia’s places of worship have traditionally served as repositories for both wealth and adoration. The city’s spirit lives on in churches from the grand Aleksander Nevski to tiny Boyana.

Boyana Church A 13th-century house of worship and a Unesco World Heritage site.

Aleksander Nevski Cathedral The gleaming gold domes symbolise not just the city of Sofia, but the country of Bulgaria as well.

Banya Bashi Mosque Sofia’s Ottoman heritage survives in the form of a 16th-century mosque that still welcomes worshippers.

Sofia Synagogue The scale of the city’s surviving synagogue testifies to the size and wealth of the Jewish community before WWII.

Sveta Nedelya Cathedral A magnificent domed church capping the view towards the centre from central bul Vitosha Sveti.

Sveti Nikolai Russian Church Beautiful Russian church with a glittering mosaic exterior and golden domes.

Parks & Gardens

For a bustling capital, Sofia is also surprisingly green. Huge canopies of trees provide welcome summer shade, and stretches of parkland extend in all directions.

Yuzhen Park A vast piece of a green with a decidedly wild, untended feel.

Sofia University Botanical Garden Jewel box of a garden tucked away in a quiet corner behind the Aleksander Nevski Cathedral.

Sofia City Garden Decorative statues, ponds and fountains dot this bustling central park just next to the National Theatre.

Oborishte Park Fountains, beds of budding flowers, and popcorn vendors make this popular strolling territory for young families.

Doctors’ Garden Secluded central park boasting an outdoor lapidarium with numerous Roman artefacts.

Borisova Gradina The city’s biggest and grandest piece of green lies southeast of the centre and is filled with countless statues and flowerbeds.

Communist Art & Architecture

The relics and buildings of the communist era, dating from the decades following WWII, lend both an element of stateliness and more than a whiff of retro kitsch.

National Palace of Culture The city’s cultural life revolves around this massive 1980s concert hall.

Museum of Socialist Art Tongue-in-cheek museum stuffed with campy red stars, busts of Lenin and exhortations to the working class to unite!

Monument to the Soviet Army Hideous or strangely moving? This gigantic monument from the early 1950s exemplifies socialist realism at its most forceful.

President's Building Part of a group of buildings built in the 1950s to house the organs of the Party and state.

Party House Domineering Stalinist building, built in 1953, which once housed the all-powerful Bulgarian Communist Party.

Raketa Rakia Bar Down your rakia (Bulgarian brandy) with a dose of communist kitsch at this popular retro bar and restaurant.