Russian Church, Sofia

Russian Church, Sofia (must see)

The last days of the Ottoman Empire in Bulgaria saw the destruction of the Saray Mosque in Sofia in 1882. Bulgaria had been liberated from Ottoman control by Russia in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. It so happened that the empty lot for the mosque was next door to the Russian Embassy. Just the place for an official Russian church.

The church was named for Saint Nicholas the Miracle-Maker, the patron saint of Tsar Nicholas II. Russian architect Mikhail Preobrazhenski designed the church in a Russian Revivalist style. Similar to Muscovite churches of the 17th century, the church was built by Alexander Smirnov, who was working on the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral next door.

The multicolored tiles on the exterior were done by G. Kislichev. The interior murals were painted by the same artists who did the murals for Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. There are five golden domes. The carillon was donated by Tsar Nicholas II of unhappy memory. Building began in 1907. Consecration came in 1914, in time for the Russian Revolution.

The church actually remained open during the Communist regime in Bulgaria, 1944-1989. Attendance and services continued under the watchful eyes of the commissars. The Russian church was not interfered with.

The crypt of the church harbors the remains of Saint Archbishop Seraphim Sobolev. He was the operator and moving spirit of Russian Orthodox churches in Bulgaria from 1921 until his death in 1950. He has been canonized a saint and has been credited with several miracles. Visitors customarily leave notes at this grave, asking for his intervention.

The church has two entrances. The south entrance, on Tsar the Liberator (Tsar Osvoboditel) Boulevard, has the face of Saint Nicholas above it. The north entrance faces a nearby park. Above it is the likeness of Alexander Nevsky. Guided tours should be arranged in advance.

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 Apple App Store or Google Play Store. 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

Russian Church on Map

Sight Name: Russian Church
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...