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Religious Architecture in Sofia

By Viator, July 2018

5 75 Reviews | Add your review

Bulgaria’s capital is the ideal setting to gain insight into the country’s varied and far-reaching religious history. Here are a few spots in Sofia that allow you an intimate look at the influences of Orthodoxy, Ottoman rule, and early Christianity on the city’s architecture.
 
St. Sofia Church
The building that gave the city its name, Sofia’s second-oldest church stands on religious ground dating back to Roman Serdica. Look out for signs of the site’s many transformations over the years, from Early Christian temple, to Ottoman mosque, to warehouse, before reconstruction in the 20th century.
 
St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
The city’s premier example of Byzantine Revival, the Orthodox cathedral was built in celebration of Bulgaria’s liberation. Notice the interior’s luxurious furnishings, including Brazilian onyx, Italian marble, and German chandeliers.
 
Church of St. George
Thought to be the oldest structure in Sofia and perhaps built on an even more ancient pagan worship site, the red brick rotunda is a restored example of Early Christian architecture. Keep an eye out for the frescoes on the dome ceiling and surrounding network of Roman ruins.
 
Banya Bashi Mosque
The last remnant of Ottoman rule in Sofia, the mosque was built in the 16th century by Mimar Sinan, a forefront Ottoman architect. It is now the only functioning Muslim place of worship in the city. Don’t miss the nearby Turkish bath (hammam) ruins, from which the mosque derives its name.
 
Boyana Church
The Orthodox church and UNESCO World Heritage Site, located on the outskirts of the city, is made up of three distinct buildings, built separately in the 10th, 13th, and 19th centuries. The church features a unique collection of medieval paintings and is considered one of the most important historic locations in Sofia.
 
Sofia Synagogue
The largest synagogue in Southeast Europe, the Moorish Revival building was modeled after the Leopoldstädter Tempel, once the biggest temple in Vienna before being destroyed on Kristallnacht. Notice the building’s complementary combination of Moorish, Venetian, and Secessionist features.
 
Rila Monastery
If you have time for a day trip into Bulgaria’s countryside, UNESCO-listed Rila Monastery is a prime example of Bulgarian Renaissance architecture and also offers unique insight into the country’s cultural history and Slavic identity. Its remote location can be difficult to access, though many day tours from Sofia include a convenient stop here.

Tours & Tickets

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The Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery, Sofia, null
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The Seven Rila Lakes & Rila Monastery

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 1 Review

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 $68.46
Communist Walking Tour of Sofia, Sofia, Cultural Tours
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Communist Walking Tour of Sofia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 32 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 $11.96
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 $57.40
Sofia Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour, Sofia, Full-day Tours
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Sofia Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 28 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 $41.85
Seven Rila Lakes Hiking Small-Group Tour from Sofia, Sofia, City Tours
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Seven Rila Lakes Hiking Small-Group Tour from Sofia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 1 Review

Spend a day exploring the idyllic Seven Rila Lakes on this small-group hiking tour from Sofia. With an expert guide, travel from the Bulgarian capital to the ...  Read more

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

From USD $47.83
One day to Nis, the Capital of South-East Serbia from Sofia, Sofia, Hiking & Camping
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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 $101.64
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 $221.21
RILA MOUNTAINS & THE SEVEN RILA LAKES, Sofia, Cultural 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 $47.83
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 $20.33
Full Day Sofia Tour, Sofia, City Tours
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Full Day Sofia Tour

Sofia is one of the oldest cities on the Balkans found by the Thracian tribe Serdi. In 29 A.D. Sofia became the capital of the Roman province of Inner Dacia. ...  Read more

Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)

From USD $33.48

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