Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital and largest city has a history which, dates back thousands of years. Throughout its existence, the city has always been a commercial, industrial, cultural and economic centre of the Balkans region. Sofia has always been well known for its mild climate, neighboring mountains and historical sights.
Sofia is originally a Thracian settlement called Serdica, named after the Thracian tribe known as Serdi. In the 4th century BC for a short period of time was under the control of Alexander the Great.
Sofia was part of the Roman Empire and the part of the Byzantine Empire during different periods and in 809 Sofia becomes part of the First Bulgarian Kingdom during the reign of Khan Krum.
In the 14 century the city fell under Ottoman rule and was liberates by the Russians in 1878. One year later Sofia became the capital of the autonomous Principality of Bulgaria.
In the early 1900 the city emerged with its new motto – It Grows, But Does Not Age, which is used till today.
During World War II it was bombed by the Allied forces and was occupied by the former Soviet Union.
From 1948 till 1989, under the rule of the communist party the city becomes Bulgaria’s cultural, economic and academic center. Since the end of communism Sofia has been in an ongoing renovation and rejuvenation and has seen many new buildings being built and many new cultural and historical sites being opened. It is estimated that at the moment more than 1.5 million people live and work in Sofia. Many major universities, government institutions, and businesses are concentrated in Sofia. It is also a center for media and culture events, theater spectacles, sporting events, orchestra and opera performances, contemporary art and music festivals and numerous museums.
The city offers many places of special interest such as The National Historical Museum, The Bulgarian Natural History Museum, The National Museum of Military History, The National Archaeological Museum, City Art Gallery and The Bulgarian National Gallery. One can also visit the botanical garden, which was founded in 1888, the 10th century Boyana Church, the early Byzantine Church of St. Sophia, the Church of St. Petka of the Saddlers located in the very centre of the city and the grand St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.