Sofia is ancient. It is cosmopolitan. It is the people coming and going, the empires, the political regimes… All of them gave their part in building the city it is today. A city with European atmosphere and Mediterranean spirit. Private tours in Bulgaria, one of the two oldest European capitals as well, Sofia is part of Bulgaria private tour. Also, guided Sofia tours.
Sofia has always been there, fortunately. To meet new generations, new challenges.
To start with, there used to be two settlements at the place of today’s Sofia 5000 years ago. Later, the ancient town of Serdika appeared. Philip II conquered it. Then, Alexander the Great governed the city. The next ruler, Constantine the Great, was in love with Serdika. They say that he once claimed ‘Serdika is my Rome!’
The oldest functioning church and one of the oldest in the world, St George Rotunda, is in Sofia. The Rotunda was a temple in Constantine’s Palace. And it was built of red bricks at the beginning of 4th century.
Together with Saint George Rotunda, the Basilica of St Sofia is one of the oldest still operating Christian temples not only on the territory of Bulgaria, but in Europe as well. Today St Sofia Church attracts with its beauty and long history. Of great interest is the rare for the Bulgarian lands architectural plan. It shows a three-nave cross-domed basilica and its underground museum of the temple. It also shows the ancient necropolis of Serdica.
Bulgaria private tours Recent History
If there is a symbol that stands out the most in Sofia’s recent history, it is undoubtedly Memorial Temple ‘St. Alexander Nevsky’. It can accommodate up to 5000 people. Architecturally and culturally, the temple is a real pearl in the crown of the capital of Sofia. ‘St. Alexander Nevsky’ is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in the world. It was built in the early 20th century. The cathedral is there in memory of the 200,000 Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian and Bulgarian soldiers, who died in the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878. Its construction started in 1882 and the building was finished in 1912. The name also holds a deep symbolism. Prince Alexander Nevski was not only the patron of the Russian Emperor Alexander II. He was also a great warrior and diplomat. His big merit was to unite Russia.
The heavenly sound of bells echoes in city streets. That same sound unites people; fills their hearts with faith and admiration for the beauty of men’s creativity to the brim. Then, this is sound of bells that brings the message of a capital and of people who are proud with their history as well as with the symbol of the liberation.
As a monument, the temple doesn’t offer other services besides for the daily, Sunday and Festival worshiping.
Sofia Private Tours Bulgaria
When entering the temple, one can see the writing ‘Home of God. Home for praying’.
The magic place in Sofia where dreams come true is the Church of St. Nicholas the Miracle-Maker. It is a small bijou known also as the Russian Church. It is a Russian Orthodox Church and it’s like taken from a fairy-tale. It’s one of the most remarkable buildings in Sofia. The purpose for the church at the very beginning was to serve as a private chapel of the Russian embassy in Bulgaria. Later priests of the Russian Orthodox Church started running it. Soon it became the place where the expat community met. Eventually, in 1953, the chapel became the church of Moscow patriarchate, which manages it to that day. Since 1921 the archbishop of the church had been Serafim Sobolev.
People called him Grandfather Serafim. He was buried in the church and his grave is in the crypt. While still living, he said that when he died people had to visit his grave. He promised that he would reply to people’s wishes only if they wrote them in letters. So people go to the Grandfather, pray and cry. They ask help from him and he always shows the right way to them. His spirit assists with the wishes to come true. But one needs to believe, to strongly believe in miracles because there are miracles and they happen.
Sredets another Sofia
Bulgaria private tours introduces another name of Bulgaria’s capital before Sofia, Sredets.
In 809 AD Serdika became Bulgarian city for the first time. That happens during the reign of khan Krum and the name changed to Sredets.
Boyana Church – the home of Bulgaria’s most famous frescoes. This is a church unique for Europe. It is about 900 years old and it has undergone many transformations and extensions during its existence. The Boyana Church was built in three stages. The first – late 10th and early 11th. The second – in the mid-13th. And then, the last one – in the mid-19th centuries.
Bulgaria private tours – Unique Sofia
Bulgaria private tours – Sofia is unique because it’s situated at the foot of a mountain, Vitosha Mountain. Its highest peak is Cherni Vrah.
In the very heart of Sofia is the so called Square of Tolerance. Really close to each other you can see temples from four of the world’s major religions – Banya Bashi Mosque, the Synagogue, the Catholic Cathedral and the Orthodox St Nedelya Church.
Sofia is at the same time a city of Thracians, Romans. A city of the Sultans, the Tzars and of the modern world. Everyone leaves their mark here.
Go ahead and give the spiritual capital of the Old World, Sofia, a chance to reveal its history and beauty!
Give Bulgaria private tours a chance to take you on a journey through Serdika, Sredets and Sofia’s history!
One more favourite place of Constantine the Great’s is Istanbul. It is waiting for you as well, with daily tour Istanbul.