Bulgaria’s Sofia: From Roman Ruins & Soviet Architecture to Turkish Baths & Food

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Bulgaria is a country that is both ancient and modern.  You will find Roman ruins and Soviet style buildings and architecture everywhere.  This post is going to describe the dynamic city of Sofia, Bulgaria.  Sofia is the capital city of Bulgaria.  Located in the western portion of Bulgaria, it is the most populated city in the country.  You will find ruins and monuments all over Bulgaria.  The photo to the right is of the Turkish Baths.  This isn’t the only Turkish bath in Sofia, but this is the largest Turkish bath and it is behind the largest mosque in Sofia.  Bulgaria was occupied for over 500 years by the Ottoman empire and there is a large presence of Turkish culture in the food and ancient architecture in Bulgaria.  As you continue down the center of Sofia you will find many sights and sounds that are familiar and also very distant.

I have been living in a small town in Eastern Bulgaria for the last year and Sofia can be overwhelming at times for this reason.  As an American I can take comfort in knowing that I will have a little piece of America when I am in Sofia.  This is why I must visit the McDonalds or theStarbucks when I am here.  There are a total of 5 McDonalds in Bulgaria, and 3 of them are in Sofia.  Travel on buses and trams can be confusing for many, and even more confusing if you can’t read the Bulgarian alphabet.  I like walking when I am in Sofia and only take the trams when I absolutely have to.

Hostels are really nice in Sofia, between 15 and 20 leva a night, that is between 7 and 10 euro.  When in Sofia you must visit the national cathedral called the Alexader Nevski Church.  This church is in the center of Sofia, you can see the gold roof gleaming for miles on sunny days.  The church is open to the public to visit on non national holidays and has limited hours on Sundays.

The inside of this church has some of the most beautiful religious artwork I have ever seen.  And this building dominated the center of Sofia.  The other thing you must do is go to the presidential palace/house andwatch the changing, or rotating of the guards.  Every half hour the guards either rotate from one post to the other or change from one group of me to another.  Sofia is so dynamic that you will find something for you to do, from shopping to cultural to museums.  While Sofia doesn’t represent Bulgaria as a whole, not to any stretch of the imagination, Sofia represents Bulgaria moving into the 20th century while trying to hold on to its culture and tradition.

Guest Blog Post by Jacqueline Scott

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