Posts tagged ‘Sofia’

Dear Sofia


Sofia is a beautiful city. I was lucky enough to be given a tour of the city, visiting its churches and historical monuments and given a crash course on its very facinating history. Attending a Christian Orthodox mass was amazing, especially with the beautiful choir and ornate artwork everywhere. The city has a clash between pre communist and communist era architecture and this gives it a flare that I find interesting.

Sofia has a history that goes back thousands of years. Through the centuries, many peoples have inhabited it and added to its rich and diverse history. Numerous Neolithic villages have been discovered in the area, while a chalocolithic settlement has been recently discovered in the very center of modern Sofia.

The Thracian Serdi tribe settled here in the 7th century BC and gave the first recorded name of Sofia — Serdica. The Byzantines called it Triaditsa and the Slavs – Sredets. The modern city of Sofia was named in the 14th century after the basilica St. Sofia. In Greek, word sofia means wisdom. In the 3rd century AD, the Romans built strong walls around Serdica, their capital of Inner Dacia and an important stopping point on the Roman road from Naisus (present Nish, Yugoslavia) to Constantinople.

After the Hun invasion of 441, the town was rebuilt by the Byzantines. The Slavs gave Sredets a key role in the First Bulgarian Empire, then in 1018 the Byzantines retook Triaditsa. At the end of the 12th century, the Bulgarians returned and Sredets became a major trading center of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The Turks captured Sofia in 1382 and made it the center of the Rumelian beylerbeyship. The city declined during the feudal unrest of the 19th century, but with the establishment of the Third Bulgarian Empire in 1879, Sofia once again became the capital of Bulgaria. Rapidly the city’s image changed from an Oriental, to a European one.

The Bulgarians are proud of their rich culture and historical importance in Europe. However, after some discussions with people, there seems to be a bit of unease with the fact that Bulgaria will be joining the European Union later this year with the potential of the erosion of its individuality.

I will certainly be back in this great country.

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April 10, 2006 at 10:58 am Leave a comment


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