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About Sofia - The Capital of Bulgaria

Nov 18, 2007
Sofia, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Bulgaria, is one of the oldest capital cities in Europe. Its history dates back to the 8th century, when the Thracians came and established a settlement in the city. It is located in the western region of the country and has a population of 1,270,450; making it the 14th largest city in the European Union. It is also the administrative, economic, educational and cultural centre of the country. The city gets its name from The Church of St. Sophia, which was constructed by Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the middle of the 6th century. The official language of Sofia is Bulgarian.

Geography

Situated in western Bulgaria at the northern foot of the Vitosha Mountain, Sofia is surrounded on all sides by mountains. With an area of 457.9 sq miles (1,186 sq. kilometres), the Sofia Valley is the largest one in the country. It has an average altitude of 1,804 feet (550 metres) and is traversed by three mountain passes that connect the Aegean and Black Seas with Central Europe and the Adriatic Sea.

The city of Sofia lies about 34 miles (55 kms) from Katlonia on the Serbian border; 114 miles (183 kms) from Kulata on the Greek border and 70 miles (113 kms) from Gruyesevo, on the frontier with the Republic of Macedonia.

Several low rivers cross the sea, including the Perlovska and the Vladavska. The upper course of the Iskar River flows in close proximity to eastern Sofia. The city has long been renowned for its several natural thermal and mineral springs. Artificial lakes/dams were constructed sometime in the last century.

Climate

Sofia enjoys a moderate continental climate, with average annual temperatures of around 0.5 C (1F). August is the hottest month, but it is still cooler than other parts of Bulgaria because of the high altitude valley it is located in. Sofia is coldest in January.

Culture

This ancient city blends its past and present in an extraordinary architectural style. Some of the major historical landmarks include the Alexander Nevski Cathedral, which is one of the largest Orthodox churches; the 10th century Boyana Church, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage protected sites and the early Byzantine Church of St. Sophia. Sofia is a see of a Roman Catholic diocese as well as an Eastern Orthodox dicese. Some of the more modern architecture includes the Rakovski Str theatre district, the Bulgarian National Opera and Ballet; the NDK, the largest congressional and cultural centre in Southeast Europe and the Slaveykov Square's outdoor book market.

Nightlife in Sofia

Sofia has an exciting nightlife and every night in this city is a stimulating experience with numerous jazz and rock clubs; concerts, operas, pubs, live venues, piano bars, restaurants and 'mehani, Bulgarian traditional taverns. Variety shows are held all night at the classy night clubs and casinos stay open till dawn. For disco-lovers, Sofia offers plenty to look forward to.

Facilities

Sofia offers its residents and tourists a rich choice of Operas, concert halls, theatres, galleries and museums. The city also offers businesses several outstanding opportunities for hosting symposia, conferences and business meetings as well as international congresses. Several state-of-the-art business centres are in close proximity of the lively city centre.
About the Author
Sandra Lightowler is the owner of Information Bulgaria the leading online information site for BulgariaSofia Bulgaria.
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