The district of Sofia is located in the northwestern part of South Bulgaria, in the foot of Vitosha Mountain.
Sofia is the center city of the whole district, Sofia-city district and the capital municipality. It has been the capital of Bulgaria for 127 years and nowadays it is the biggest city in our country. It is also the largest demographic, trade, political, cultural and educational center in our country.
Sofia has total area of 1311 sq km. The population of the district in 2008 is approximately 1 500 000 people.
Geographically, the city is situated in the so called Sofia field and it is 550 m above sea level. Several shallow rivers pass through the territory of the city; bigger ones are Iskar, Perlovska, Suhodolska, Slatinska, Boyanska, Bistrishka and Bankyanska.
Five mountain passes lead to the large city-Iskarski, Vladayski, Dragomanski, Petrohanski and Botevgradski. The capital is famous also for its mineral and thermal springs. The total flow rate of mineral water is 130 l/sec.
Sofia is located at the crossroads of important international routes from Western Europe to Istanbul via Belgrade, and from Greece and Macedonia to the Commonwealth of Independent States. Daily connections to a number of Balkan and European cities are available from Sofia.
The climate in Sofia is moderate-continental. The winter is relatively cold and the average max temperature in January is 2.2 deg C. The summer is hot and the average max temperature in July is 25.9 deg C.
Sofia boasts a millennium of history.
On the place of a former Neolithic settlement, around lots of thermal springs, an ancient Thracian town came into being in VIII century B.C. Later on it was called Serdika-â€˜serds' town' by the Romans who had conquered it.
The settlement was named after the Thracian tribe who lived there. After that the town prospered as a center of the province â€˜Inner Trakia', and at the end of III century it became the capital of newly founded province 'Inner Dacia' (Dacia Mediterranea).
Serdika got a statute of a Roman Town by Emperor Mark Ulpii Trayan and the town received its new name-Ulpia Serdika.
In V-VI century, during the so called 'great migration of people' Serdica went through invasions of the Huns, Gothes and other Barbarian tribes. In the second part of VI century, during the reign of Yustinian Veliki, the town became an important administrative and economic center of the East Roman Empire. The city was renamed Triaditza. Some of the oldest buildings in modern Sofia, and especially one of the main symbols of the city, the St. Sofia church, date from the time of Justinian rule.
The Bulgarian Khan Krum added part of today's southwestern Bulgaria, including Triaditza, to the first Bulgarian Empire in 809.
From the end of 14th century till the '70s of 19th century the town and the whole Bulgarian country were under Ottoman domination.
From the end of 14th century the town was mentioned in the official documentation of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire with the name 'Sofia'.
There was an argument after 1879 about the name of the town. The citizens of Sredetz created a committee with the aim to save the name â€˜Sredetz'. The Russian administration insisted that the name of the new Bulgarian capital should be â€˜Sofia'. In the end, the stand of the Russian administration prevailed and our capital was called Sofia.
During the Russian-Turkish war (1877-1878) Sofia was liberated on 4.01.1878.
On 20.10.1878 the head office of the Temporary Russian Government was moved from Plovdiv into Sofia and since 03.04.1879 till now Sofia has been the capital of Bulgaria.
- The church 'St. Sofia':
Except its remarkable architecture, the church has special place in the history of our capital, called after it. Today's majestic basilica was built over old churches from IV century. During excavations specialists found several building periods and lots of their remains have been saved: mosaic flooring, different drawings which symbols are from the Early Christian art (IV cent.). In the Middle Ages the temple was used as a town church, and in XVI cent., during the Ottoman rule, it was turned into a mosque.
Nowadays the church is announced to be a cultural monument of national concern.
- The temple-monument 'St. Aleksandar Nevssky':
It is a symbol of our gratitude to the Russian people who took part in the Russian-Turkish war-the war after which we were liberated. The monument has been devoted to St. Aleksander Nevski. The temple was built in 1904-1912 according to the project of the Russian architect Pomerantsev with the help of Russian and Bulgarian architects, too. The funds for the building of the monument were collected from the Bulgarian people.
- The National Theatre 'Ivann Vasov':
It was built in 1906-1907 according to the project of the Viennese architects Helmer and Felner in baroque style.
In 1923 the theatre was seriously damaged by fire and in 1926-1929 it was restored by a professor from Drezden.
- Other places of interest:
'The Russian Church'
The Central Military Club;
The Bulgarian Academy of Science;
The National Academy of Fine Arts;
The National Historical Museum;
The Ethnographic Museum;
The National Museum 'The Earth and People';
The Archeological Museum;