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Religious Architecture in Sofia

By Viator, June 2018

5 72 Reviews | Add your review

As the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia reflects the country’s diverse cultural and religious influences. This is particularly evident in the city’s places of worship, whose architecture ranges from the simple red brick of the 6th century St. Sophia Church to the golden onion domes of the St. Nikolai Russian Church.

The St. Sofia Church is not only the oldest Eastern Orthodox church in Sofia, it is the church that gave the city its name. Its basic, Byzantine-style basilica design contrasts sharply with the nearby Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, possibly the most impressive religious site in the city. The cathedral’s pale limestone façade, towering belfry and gold-plated domes are reminiscent of typical 19th-century Russian churches. Also built in a popular Russian style is the onion-domed Russian Orthodox church of St. Nikolai, which stands just a few blocks from the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

Matching the St. Sofia Church in simplicity are the Church of St George and the Sveta Petka Samardzhiiska Church. Both made of red brick with few external embellishments, the former dates back to Roman times and is the oldest building in Sofia, while the latter is a small, Ottoman-era church that sits below ground level, today surrounded by concrete sidewalks and souvenir shops.

Representing Sofia’s once-robust Jewish community is the Sofia Synagogue, the third largest synagogue in Europe. Resembling the Leopoldstadter Tempel in Vienna, it was built in a Moorish revival style with Viennese Secession and Venetian elements and an octagonal dome. Not far from the synagogue is the Banya Bashi Mosque, the only Muslim place of worship in Sofia. Built in 1576, it was designed by the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, who also designed Istanbul’s Suleiman Mosque. One of the most colorful religious buildings in Sofia, it is made of honey-colored stone layered with terracotta bricks, with a slim red minaret rising adjacent to a 50 foot wide dome. 

Tours & Tickets

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Sofia Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour, Sofia, null
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Sofia Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 27 Reviews

Discover Bulgarian cuisine and Sofia’s sights on this 3-hour food and culture walking tour. Accompanied by a knowledgeable guide, stroll through Sofia’s ...  Read more

Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $41.76
The Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery, Sofia, City Tours
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The Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery

A whole-day guided trek to Rila Mountains, easier compared to the previous one, exploring probably the most eminent area in the mountains – The Seven Rila ...  Read more

Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Duration: 12 hours (approx.)

From USD $78.74
Communist Walking Tour of Sofia, Sofia, Cultural Tours
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Communist Walking Tour of Sofia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 31 Reviews

Find out what it was like on the eastern side of the Iron Curtain by joining our Communist tour. A 45-year-long period compressed in about 3-3.5 hours, ...  Read more

Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $11.93
Saeva dupka and Ledenika Caves Day-Tour from Sofia, Sofia, Walking Tours
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Saeva dupka and Ledenika Caves Day-Tour from Sofia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Explore two of the most interesting caves in Bulgaria with a one-day tour from Sofia.

Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Duration: 8 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $57.27
RILA MOUNTAINS & THE SEVEN RILA LAKES, Sofia, Full-day Tours
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RILA MOUNTAINS & THE SEVEN RILA LAKES

This whole-day trek to the Rila Mountains is is meant for people, who would like to walk in a leisurely pace among its jewels - The Seven Rila Lakes. You will ...  Read more

Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Duration: 1 day (approx.)

From USD $47.72
Two days tour to Skopje and Canyon Matka from Sofia, Sofia, Cultural Tours
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Two days tour to Skopje and Canyon Matka from Sofia

Explore the Macedonian capital – Skopje, during your stay in Sofia and see the breathtaking oldest artificial lake in the country - Matka canyon.

Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $220.72
Afternoon Delights in Sofia Tour, Sofia, Cultural Tours
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Afternoon Delights in Sofia Tour

4 star rating: Recommended 1 Review

Feel like a local in Sofia with this 3-hour tour. You will become a real Bulgarian by tasting the traditional food (shopska salad) and drinks (ayryan). ...  Read more

Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $48.56
Sofia Alternative Tour, Sofia, Food Tours
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Sofia Alternative Tour

You will enjoy an adventurous experience which aims to reveal the hidden places in Sofia that only some locals know of by solving different puzzles on your ...  Read more

Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $11.93
One day to Nis, the Capital of South-East Serbia from Sofia, Sofia, Cultural Tours
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One day to Nis, the Capital of South-East Serbia from Sofia

Explore the third Serbian city by size, the birthplace of the famous Roman emperor Constantine the Great and city situated by river Nisava.

Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Duration: 11 hours (approx.)

From USD $101.41
Sofia Guided Walking City Tour, Sofia, Cultural Tours
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Sofia Guided Walking City Tour

With this guided tour you will have the chance to see and get to know the history behind Sofia`s historical landmarks located in the center. The capital of ...  Read more

Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $20.28

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