Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia (must see)

The prophet Isaiah claimed the Lord appoints the princes, "...because they are sacred and I direct them." The second Peskovian Chronicle of 1280 or thereabouts declares Alexander Nevsky had "...the face of Joseph,... the power of Samson and... the wisdom of Solomon." And if that were not enough, "...he...was never defeated."

Prince, politician, warrior and saint, he was a hard act to follow. He earned the name Nevsky by defeating invading Swedes at the battle of the river Neva in 1240. He was 19 at the time. He died in 1263. He was declared a saint of the Orthodox Church in 1547.

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral of Sophia was started in 1882. The Cathedral was dedicated to the memory of Russian soldiers who died in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. Their sacrifice brought about the end of Ottoman rule. Only a saint with Nevsky's resume would merit a Cathedral of this size.

Alexander N. Pomerantsev, a Russian eclecticist architect, designed the Cathedral, a neo-Byzantine cross-domed basilica. There are several domes and numerous window arches. The topmost dome is gold. Yes, gold. The cathedral is believed to be one of the largest church buildings in the world.

The golden dome is 148 feet high. The nave roof span is 92 feet. There are 12 bells weighing 23 tons. The interior covers an area of 34,000 square feet and can hold 10,000 people. The cavernous interior holds two royal thrones and a sumptuous-looking pulpit. There is a mosaic mural of Tsar Ferdinand and Queen Eleanor.

There is a museum within the crypt with the largest collection of icons in Europe. By the altar is a case of relics of Alexander Nevsky, featuring a rib.

The Cathedral sits in the midst of enormous Alexander Nevsky Square. Nearby are St. Sofia Church, the monument of the Unknown Soldier, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the National Gallery of Foreign Art, the Bulgarian Parliament and a small flea market.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Sofia. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral on Map

Sight Name: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Sight Location: Sofia, Bulgaria (See walking tours in Sofia)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Sofia, Bulgaria

Create Your Own Walk in Sofia

Create Your Own Walk in Sofia

Creating your own self-guided walk in Sofia is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Sofia Introduction Walking Tour

Sofia Introduction Walking Tour

"Ever growing, never aging" This is the motto of Sofia, capital city of Bulgaria. Under different names, the area of Sofia has had a 7,000 year history. Organized settlements around the area's hot water springs existed as early as the third millennium BC. A Thracian state union there was raided by Philip II of Macedon in 339 BC.

The Celtic Serdi provided the name...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Communist Era Landmarks Walk

Communist Era Landmarks Walk

In the not-so-distant past Bulgaria was part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. Today, this is one of the few countries where you can still find numerous relics of the Communist era manifested in monumental architectural landmarks. Concrete and metal were the main materials as a symbol of the industrialized nation, and the size was important too as a common architectural characteristic prescribed by...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.6 Km or 4.1 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Sofia Shopping: 15 Things To Memorize Bulgaria By

Sofia Shopping: 15 Things To Memorize Bulgaria By

Increasingly popular tourist destination in recent years, Bulgaria has opened up to the outer world, revealing colorful identity, manifested in rich craftsmanship, culinary and cultural traditions and history. The country's capital city Sofia is a lovely alloy of Eastern and Western European...