Sofia

We were amazed by the number of archaeological sites in the city, something you don’t read much about. Although the history museum was closed, it also has an outdoor part, which we did visit.

After that we also saw the Sveti Georgi Rotunda church, which was build in the 4th century and still standing! It is the oldest building in Sofia.There was a service going on while we visited, so we quietly sat to the side, observing the ceremony. There were only a few people, but yet there was a lot going on! The priest was praying, singing, kneeling and going around with incense. Two women formed a choir. A few other women were, praying, kneeling, kissing an altar, and were visible moved. So much different than a service in a Dutch church. Many people are obviously deeply religious. Too bad we couldn’t understand what was being said.

I found this a most impressive church. Small but so old and not so overwhelming as for example the Alexander Nevski cathedral, grand both on the inside and outside.

Visiting churches, cathedrals and monasteries appears to be free of charge everywhere in Macedonia and Bulgaria by the way. We saw the statue of Sofia and walked along the Vithosha boulevard with al its expensive shops. We had lunch on a bench as all the restaurants are only open for take away. Unfortunately there where no public bathrooms either…. There was a German inspired Christmas market, but it was heavily guarded by not so friendly guards ordering people around because of the corona rules. So it didn’t feel very Christmassy.

We also wanted to visit the national library of Bulgaria, which is the oldest cultural institute of Bulgaria and houses thousands of rare and historic books in (ancient) foreign languages and has a small museum as well. I really love books. But it too was closed.

National library of Bulgaria

So we left the city pretty quickly to drive on to the Balkan national park.

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