Saint Sofia Church, Sofia (must see)
Saint Sofia is the second oldest church in the capital. In the 14th century it donated its name "Sofia" to the city, which heretofore went by the name "Sredets." The present basilica, with its cross design and three towers, one with a cupola-dome, is the fifth church to be built over the bones of a 2nd century Roman theatre and four churches.
When the basilica became a mosque in the 16th century, the interior 12th century frescoes were demolished and minarets were added. In the 19th century the mosque was hit by two earthquakes. One minaret was destroyed and the mosque was left abandoned. Restoration had to wait until 1900, after the Ottomans had left.
The basilica has three altars. The floors are busy with early Christian mosaics having complex ornate animal and floral designs. Besides the ruins of earlier structures, the church also sits in the midst of a necropolis. Tombs and ancient remains have been unearthed under and around the church.
Saint Sofia's benevolent powers are credited with protecting the church by fending off invasions, plagues and other disasters. This has undoubtedly helped preserve the basilica's elegant austere lines from an earlier age. Church icons depict Sofia as a woman representing Wisdom. She stands above the female figures of Faith, Hope and Love.
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.
Saint Sofia Church on Map
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Travel Distance: 6.6 Km or 4.1 Miles
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