Sofia Weekend Breaks

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Weekend Breaks to Sofia

Planning a short break to Sofia? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Sofia. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Sofia. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.

Aleksandar Nevski

This memorial church is considered to be one of the finest pieces of architecture in the Balkans and is definitely Sofia's number one attraction.

The church was built in honour of the 200,000 Russian casualties of the War of Liberation in 1877–78 and was financed by public donations. Built between 1882 and 1924, It is a fabulous structure, with domes and half-domes and glitters with masses of gold leaf donated by the Soviet Union.

The church has the capacity for 5000 worshipers and its services are magnificent, rich with incense, candlelight and resonate chanting.

Dragalevtsi monastery

This is set in a serene area surrounded by lovely beech woods, the fourteenth-century church, and the cells around its verdant courtyard, are the only remains of the ancient monastery. The monastery comes to life on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption. This is when families from the district and beyond spend the day praying to the Virgin Mary, the monastery's patron, or picnicking in the grounds.

Boyana Church

Situated in a village square, surrounded by a small garden this lovely church is the home of a well-known collection of exquisite medieval frescos, dating from 1259. The frescoes show mainly biblical themes but draw on contemporary life in the 13th century for inspiration. Visitors are only allowed to spend 10 minutes inside the church to protect the frescos from atmospheric conditions; however there are copies of the frescos in the nearby museum an English-language video about the history of the church can be viewed.

Mount Vitosha

This Mountain is approximately 7km from Sofia city centre and is where the locals go to for walks, picnics, to check out the spectacular views or to ski. The picturesque routes from the city centre to Vitosha go through villages situated in its foothills. Dragalevtsi, with its nearby monastery and Simeonovo are the starting points for the ski lifts to Aleko. Skiing is available on Vitosha from late December through to mid-March, and Aleko provides access to the main pistes.

Buyuk Djami (Big Mosque)

s ancient building houses the National Archaeological Museum whose exhibits include Thracian and Roman finds. There are also many Roman and Greek finds from around the country. The most famous of these is the Stela of Anaxander, which is a 6th century BC gravestone from the ancient Greek colony of Apollonia sited on the Black Sea coast. There is also a vast collection of frescos taken from disintegrating church walls all over the country.

The Natural Science Museum

Boulevard Tsar Osvoboditel. The museum which was founded in 1889, presents a comprehensive catalogue of Bulgarian and worldwide wildlife. Tanks containing live lizards and snakes line the stairs and stuffed and pickled exhibits are exhibited in abundance. Next to the museum is a fascinating Russian church which is an outstanding, building with a glorious exterior of vivid yellow tiles, several gilded domes and an amazing emerald spire. The church was built in 1913 by a Tsarist diplomat, who was worried that worshiping in Bulgarian churches would endanger his soul.

Largo

Place Sveta Nedelya,. Largo is one of the chief showpieces of post-war Sofia. Political symbolism is personified in its most impressive structure, the Communist Party headquarters. The plaza was built on the vestiges of central Sofia, which had been bombed during World War 11. Yellow-painted stones signal the start of a kilometre-long stretch of vivid yellow cobbles which link a lot of Sofia’s main sights.

Banya Bashi mosque

Knyaginya Mariya Luiza. This building, which has a big dome and a minaret, was built in 1576. The mosque fell into disuse when the Communist government turned against the Muslim inhabitants of the country. These days it is again open for worship. The mosque is located close to Sofia's mineral baths, which are situated in a pseudo-oriental building. It has been derelict for a long time but is now being renovated courtesy of an EU donation.

Halite (market hall)

This market hall is opposite the Banya Bashi mosque is the market hall or Halite. An ornate building which is crowned by a clock tower, it has been reopened to the public after falling into disrepair following many years of neglect. Inside, cast-iron pillars hold up a glass roof, which covers two storeys of market stalls. These sell alcohol, clothes, and a selection of local delicatessen products. There are also some salad bars and cafes if you want to eat here.

Ploshtad Sveta Nedelya

Sveta Nedelya square This is the city’s main hub, spanning Sofia’s main thoroughfares and giving easy access to the principal sightseeing districts.

Until fairly recently the square was named after Lenin and a statue of him dominated the southern end of the square until it was demolished in 1990. Subsequently the main focus of the square has returned to the church after which it was initially named.

To the south the square joins the boulevard Vitosha, which is the city's principal shopping street, while to the north the Tzum shopping mall is at the entrance to Largo which is the main route to many of Sofia’s tourist attractions.

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