About Sofia & Bulgaria

Sofia Information

Western Bulgaria
Population: 2,000,000
Ethnic Mix: 83,9% Bulgarian, 9,4% Turks, 4.7% Romanian, 2% Other
Religion: 82.6% Orthodox Christian, 12.2% Muslim, 0.6% Roman Catholic, 4.6% Other
Time zone: GMT +2
Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz; round two-pin or three-pin plugs are in use
Average January temp.: -2°C (28.5°F)
Average July temp.: 22°C (71.5°F)
Annual rainfall: 645mm (25.4 inches)

Sofia has a history that goes back thousands of years. through the centuries many nations have inhabited it and added to its rich and diverse history. Numerous Neolithic villages have been discovered in the area while a chalocolithic settlement has been recently discovered in the very centre of modern Sofia.

The Thracian Serdi tribe settled here in the VII century BC nad gave the first recorded name of Sofia - Serdica. The Byzantines called it Triaditsa nad the Slavs - Sredets. The modern city of Sofia was named in the XIV century after the basilica St. Sofia (In Greek the word "sofia" means wisdom). In the III century AD the Romans Build strong walls around Serdica, their capital of Inner Dacia nad an important stopping point on the Romanroad from Naisus (present Nish, Yugoslavia) to Constantinople. Today there are many archeological sites in Sofia that display the city's diverse history - the castle gates and towers of Serdica, public buildings and streets thousands of years old. A large part of the ancient city of Serdica is underneath importante modern buildings.

After the Hun invasion in 441 AD the town was rebuild by Byzantines. The Slaves gave Sredets a kay role in the First Bulgarian Empire then in 1018 the Byzantines retook Triaditza. At the end of the XXII century the Bulgarians returned and Sredets became a major trading centre of the Second Bulgarian Empire. The Turks captured Sofia in 1382 and made it the centre of the Rumelian beylerbeyship. The city declined during the feudal unrest of the XIX century but with the establishment of the Third Bulgarian Empire in 1879 Sofia once again become the capital of Bulgaria.

The city's image rapidly changed from its Oriental roots to reflect its new European tone. Today many streets, buildings, parks preserve the architectural style from the turn of the century. Between 1879 and 1939 the population of Sofia grew from 20 000 to 300 000. Today Sofia is home to over 2 000 000 people. 

Transportain Guide

Arriving by plane

  Sofia International Airport
  Phone: +359 2 937 22 11

By hotel shuttle service: The hotel could provide a private shuttle from/to the airport. The rate is 11 Euro one way /up to 3 people/.

By taxi: If things are busy the safest way is to pre-book a taxi in the arrivals hall. the fare should not cost more then 10-15 leva.


By bus:  Bus N 84 / N 284 / runs daily service between the airport and Orlov most, on the eastern fringes the city center, departing roughly every 10-15 min. between 05:00 and 23:00. Tickets cost 1.00 lv. and can be bought from the kiosk by the bus stop or directly from the driver. You also have to punch a separate ticket for each bulky piece of luggage.

Arriving by train

  Central Railway Station
  Knyaginya Maria Luiza Blvd.
  Phote:+359 2 931 11 11

Sofia’s Central Station is 20-minute walk north of the city center.

Arriving by bus

  Central Bus Station
Knyaginya Maria Luiza Bivd.
  Phone: +359 2 0900 21 000

Most international and domestic buses arrive at the Central Bus Station, 200m east of the Central Railway Station.

Public Transport

Trams, Bus and Trolleybus
Sofia i covered by interlocking network of trams, buses nad trolleybuses, with services running from about 05.00 - 23.30.

Single-jurney tickets cost 1.00 lv and can be bought from street kiosks or from the driver. Once on board each ticket must be validated by punching it. Passes (valid for one day, five days or one month) are also available, but they can only be bought from kiosks at major stops, not from the driver. Note that in case of using bundle of tickets you have to keep and carry with you the last ticket.

Minibus / Route taxis

Several popular cross-town routes are operated by minibuses. Rather than being limited to specific stops, they can be hailed at nay points along their route, and will drop passengers off on request. Tickets can be bought only from the minibus driver.

Single metro line runs from Serdika stration in the city centre to the western station of Obelya and to the eastern station of Mladost. Tickets are different from those used in the trams and buses, and can only be purchased from ticket counters in the underground stations themselves.  

All legal and registered taxi cabs must be yellow and operate by meter. Retes per km (between 0.59-0.89 leva), any starting and call-out charges must by law be displayed on the windows. Dispatchers and drivers usually speak only Bulgarian, so you may need someone to help you order one by phone and you should learn how to name your destination. Remember that they will give you a 3 digit number of the taxi which will come to pick you up. 

Points of interests

The city also offers many places of special interest. As one of the oldest cities in Europe, it blends its past and present in a remarkable architectural style. Historic landmarks include the 10th-century Boyana Church (one of the UNESCO World Heritage protected sites), the Rotonda St. George, the Boyana Bashi Mosque, the Sofia Synagogue and the early Byzantine Church of St. Sophia. More modern architecture is represented by the Bulgarian National Opera and Ballet, the Ivan Vazov National Theatre, the Sts. Kiril and Metodii National Library, the Rakovski St theatre district, Slaveykov Square's outdoor book market, and the National Palace of Culture, which is Southeastern Europe's largest cultural and congress centre. There are 16 universities in the city, among them Sofia University, founded in 1888. sofia is the see of the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic diocese.

Sofia houses numerous museums, notably the National Historical Museus, the Bulgarian Natural History Museum, the Earth and Men Museum, the Military History Museum, the National Polytechnical Museum mad the National Archeological Museum. In addition there are the Sofia City Art Dallery, the National Art Gallery, the Bulgarian National Gallery of Foreign Art, the Icon Gallery as well as numerous private art galleries.

  National Historical Museum
  Boyana, 16 Vitoshko lale Str.
  Phone: +359 2 955 76 04
  Working time: 9.30 - 15.30

  Earth and Man Museum
  4 Cherni vruh Blvd.
  Phone: +359 2 865 66 39
  Working time: 10.00 - 18.00

  Etnographic Museum
  Alexander Batenberg Sqr.
  Phone: +359 2 987 41 91
  Working time: 10.00 - 18.00

  Archeological Museum
  Saborna Str.
  Phone: +359 2 988 24 06
  Working time: 10.00 - 18.00

  Military history Museum
  92 Cherkovna Str.
  Phone: +359 2 946 18 05
  Working time: 10.00 - 18.00

  The Alexander Nevski Cathedral
  Crypt of Alexander Nevski Memorial Church
  Alexander Nevski Sqr.
  Phone: +359 2 981 57 75
  Working time: 10.00 - 18.00