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Whether you’re visiting Sofia for the weekend or for a week, this church simply has to be top of your sightseeing list. It is easily one of the most awe-inspiring monuments in the whole of Bulgaria. Massive and impressively ornate, the Aleksander Nevski Church was built between 1882 and 1912. The reason behind its build was to commemorate the 20,000 Russian soldiers who died fighting for Bulgaria’s independence.
These wonderful gardens lie just south of the centre of Sofia. Statues and seamlessly endless flower beds fill this park to the brim. The perfect location for a relaxing afternoon or - if you’re feeling more energised - a morning run, you’ll find monuments and stadiums in here, too. Perhaps the best monument is the Mound of Bortherhood, built during communist times in 1956 and it features sky-scraping obelisks and socialist iconography.
This fascinating museum is located in what was once a mosque. Fans of all things ancient history won’t be able to leave until they’ve seen the vast collections Thracian, Roman and medieval artefacts. The museum showcases just how wealthy some of these old nations were. Some of the museum’s highlights include a mosaic floor, Thracian burial artefacts and masks and gold statues.
Elegant and ornate, these mineral baths are one of Sofia’s best kept secrets. Also known as the Turkish Baths, there is nothing more relaxing than having one of these five-step soaks. Located in what was once a medieval church, you’re surrounded by rich social history and delicate facades as your skin is scraped, oiled, massaged and put back into a very clean shape. Make a day of it by visiting the local art exhibitions next door.
Sofia feels distinctly regal and there’s nothing more regal than the city’s Royal Palace. The palace was originally built as part of the Ottoman police force’s headquarters. The palace has particular resonance in Sofia’s social history because Vasil Kevski, a Bulgarian hero, was tried here before his execution. After the Russians liberated Sofia and the wider area, the palace was recaptured and turned into a royal residence. Hit three birds with one stone by visiting - the city’s National Art Gallery and Ethnographical Museum are located inside it.
Sofia houses some of Bulgaria’s largest museums. Cultural entertainment sits at the heart of the city, with cinema and theatre dominating. Sofia leads the way in Europe for performing arts, with the National Opera and Ballet of Bulgaria boasting some of the world’s most famous dancers and singers. Many international artists have performed here too, including Rammstein, Rihanna, George Michael, AC/DC and Sting.