Sofia

by luckyperro

Saturday I took the Free Sofia Tour, which was a great way to get my bearings and learn more about the city, immediately followed by a private tour Nicole arranged of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, which was great because we got to go up into the bell tower, which is otherwise not allowed.

Saint SofiaSaint Sofia

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The center of Sofia is paved in distinctive yellow bricks; my guide said the stone is stupidly expensive and they are very slippery.

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I liked this combination of old ad and graffiti.

ruins mosqueThey are still excavating and preserving Roman ruins all over town. What’s interesting about this corner is that the building on the right is the mosque, and a stone’s throw away from it is an important Orthodox church, Sofia’s only Catholic church, and the largest Sephardic synagogue in Europe.
big bath houseAn old, closed mineral springs bath house (but you can still get drinking water at the fountain)

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The interior of the synagogue. synagogue synagoge   comm building

A number of Communist-era government buildings are still imposing government buildings. Below, the Presidential guards.   presidency guards

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Alexander Nevsky Cathedral architecture and details.churchdomes  IMG_2359

Climbing up, we got to see the beautiful interior from above.dome viewbelltowerview

View from the bell tower.  These bells have been rung by the same woman for years.  She’s 84.

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Monday I also did lots of sightseeing and shopping (souvenirs will be covered in another post). I visited Boyana Church, a short taxi ride out of the city, which was amazing.  I couldn’t take pictures, so the shot below is from the New York Times.

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Since Monday was a beautiful day, I enjoyed walking around and seeing things like this street art (love the Orthodox priest bird with the beard).

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Roasted pumpkin–sometimes servednwith yogurt or cream and honey and nuts–is a traditional dessert.

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And I finally found the tea house I was looking for the first day–which was totally worth it.  Best beet salad of my life!