cityguide

restaurants in Sofia

Italian restaurant Sofia. As the Italian food such as pizza, spaghetti, lasagna, etc. is world famous you can easily guess that there are many Italian restaurants in Sofia. And you are right. Sofia pizza restaurants became the first type of Italian restaurants that appeared 24 years ago in Bulgaria. Then they developed to Italian restaurants offering the whole range of Italian cuisine dishes plus some traditional Bulgarian dishes and salads.

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Sofia Shopping

In Sofia you can find both big shopping malls and trade centers and many small boutique stores, not only in the downtown area but everywhere in the city. The main shopping area in Sofia is in the center along the Vitosha Boulevard, Graf Ignatiev Str. and Rakovski Str.

Along the Vitosha Bouldvard you can find many boutique stores carrying famous brands such as Armani, Max Mara, Benetton and others. There are many little stores along the Solunska Str. and the other little streets in the downtown so for sure you will be able to find what you are looking for. Besides clothing and shoe stores, there are many stores for accessories, presents, books, souvenirs, second hand stores and many others.

When the weather doesn’t allow for a nice stroll in the center, or you want to combine shopping with going to the cinema, you can visit one of the shopping centers in Sofia. We have listed all of them below:   

Mаll of Sofia
Mall of Sofia has over 130 stores offering all sorts of things(clothes, accessories, books, sports items, technology and others). There are cafes, restaurants, fast food court with McDonalds, KFC and others. There is a 3D IMAX cinema and Piccadilly supermarket. The address of the mall is 101 Stamboliiski Blvd. 

Serdica Center
In Serdica you can find 210 stores offering both local and foreign brands of clothes, shoes, sport items and many others. There is an Italian pizza restaurant and a big food court. There is no cinema there. The center is located on 48 Sitniakovo Blvd. 

The Mall
The Mall has 185 stores with leading brands; Carrefour hypermarket; Cinema complex with 10 halls; entertainment center Playground Bowling Centre; sport center offering fitness, boxing and spinning halls; Gymboree Play & Music kids center. The mall also offers a wide selection of restaurants and cafes. It is located on 115 Tsarigradsko Shosse Blvd.

Paradise Center is the newest mall in Sofia, which is beautifully designed. Under its roof there are many stores, carrying different brands; Carrefour hypermarket; Orange fitness and the trendiest indoor climbing hall – Boulderland, which will change your ideas about a traditional climbing hall. The newest and most modern cinema in Bulgaria - Cinema City Paradise is located there. The address is 100 Cherni Vrah Blvd.

City Center Sofia (CCS)
CCS is relatively smaller shopping mall with around 100 stores, supermarket and restaurants, including a sushi bar and fast food court. There is also a cinema with 6 halls. The address us: 2 Arsenalski Blvd.

SKY City mall is located in Geo Milev quarters on 52 Kosta Lulchev Street. It has 120 stores, big entertainment center with bowling and other games, pizza place, cafes and big supermarket.

If you are looking for souvenirs, ceramic, icons or paintings, you could visit the open market in front of the Aleander Nevski Cathedral. You could find souvenirs also in the subway in front of the P residency and the between the Sheraton hotel and TSUM.

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Sofia Night Life

The people living is Sofia love to go out and have fun. Day and night the numerous bars, restaurants and cafes throughout the city are packed with people – something that amazes all foreign visitors.

The biggest concentration of bars and cafes is along the Vitosha Boulevard and Rakovski Str. and on the little streets that cross Vitosha, such as Neofit Rilski, Solunska or the parallel once, such as Angel Kanchev, Tsar Assen.

Night life in Sofia can be separated to disco, underground,  life and pop-folk.

Disco music

Dance clubs in Sofiaare glamorous and glittery with the music being primarily techno, house, disco and pop. Below is a selection of some of the most popular clubs:

Tequilla, is relatively new club, which is located in the heart of Sofia across from the Parliament, right next to the Radisson hotel. The interior and the clientele are both very stylish. The music is a selection of latest dance hits/

Mascara is another very popular choice, located in the center of Sofia and inspired by the impressive architecture and history of the National opera, in which basement it is located. The unique ambience, the excellent DJ-s and the three halls with different interiors make Mascare in one of the best clubs in Sofia. 

Yalta Club is definitely the most happening club in Sofia. The music is electronic  and every week there are famous DJ-s performing. It is located right across from the Sofia University.

Gramophone is the favorite part for the fans of the retro music. Every Wednesday and Thursday you can enjoy hits from the past, and Friday and Saturday – light house and retro hits.

Club Sugar on 121 is the best club for hip-hop parties and is located in the very center of Sofia.

Rock´n Rolla bar and Clubis the place which you should visit of you fall for the rock music. The easygoing atmosphere, the nice rock music and the friendly people will win you over.

Live Music

Sofia Live Club is located in the underground path of the National Palace of Culture and gathers Bulgarian musicians and starts of the European and World music scene. The stage is designed both for solo musicians and bands. Check out the program and visit the club to spend a pleasant night while you are in Sofia.

Swinging Hall is another club where you can listen to live music. The club has long tradition and attracts unpretentious visitors of all ages. There are two halls with two separate bands playing.

Sofia offers a nice selection of piano bars. Some of the most famous ones are Camino on 70 Neofit Rilski Str.; Chicago on 9 Dondukov Str.; Sinatra on 5 Arsenalski Str.; May Way on Veliko Tarnovo Str. Visit some of them if you like to spend an unforgettable night in Sofia in a pleasant environment under the evergreens.

Sin City is big, night club with four different halls, all of them very glamorous. The music is primarily pop-folk.

Night life in Sofia goes on all night long and finishes just about in time for breakfast. If you like partying, you won’t run out of opportunities in Sofia.

Visit the following sites for more information and reviews on restaurants, bars and clubs in Sofia: www.zavedenia.com, www.inyourpocket.com, www.worldtravelguide.net.

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History of Sofia

Sofia is a city with 7000 year old history, which makes it one of the oldest cities in Europe. Remains of Neolithic times, Stone and Bronze age are still being found in the center of the city.

The Thracians of the Serdi tribe are the first tribes that inhabited the lands. They also gave the name of the city – Serdika. In 29 a.c. the city was taken over by the Roman legions and during the reign of Emperor Trayan (98-117) became an administrative center and gave the name of the city – Ulpia Serdica. Construction of towers, fortress walls, bathrooms, administrative buildings began. In II century it became center of Dakia province and started growing. Under the reign of Emperor Justinian, Serdica is surrounded by impressive fortress walls and remains that can be seen today.     

The city was conquered by Atila in V century and returned from Byzantium soon after its death. The city remained part of the East Roman empire until the beginning of IX century.   With the establishment of Bulgaria in 681, many of the Bulgarian emperors showed interest towards Serdika.  Khan Krum manages to incorporate the city within the boundaries of Bulgaria in 809. The name of the city was changed to Sredets, which means “center”. 

After the liberation of Bulgaria by the Byzantine domination, the city was included again in the territory of Bulgaria and was renamed to Sofia. The church St. Sofia gave the name of the city. Sofia fell under Ottoman domination in 1389 and quickly changed its appearance and became  unrecognizable. Sofia was liberated by the Ottomans on 4 January 1878. Sofia was proclaimed capital of Bulgaria the following year.

During 1920-ies the look of Sofia became more European. During the reign of Tsar Boris III, many buildings were built in the Modern, Secession, Bauhaus, Neoclassical and European eclectic style. The changes in the political life after 9 September 1944 reflected in the appearance of the capital. Buildings were built in urban and Stalin style. The face of Sofia constantly changes. New buildings are being constructed, old ones – reconstructed, and more and more tourist discover its charms.

 

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Sofia Highlights

The St. George Rotunda  is the oldest public building, dated back to the 4th century preserved in Sofia. It has been used as a church since 6th century. In 16th century it has been turned into a mosque and after the Liberation of Bulgaria – turned again into a church. It is located between the Sheraton hotel and the Presidency.

The St. Sofia Church is a basillica form the easry Bysantium period, build in the 6th century on two churches from the 4th century. The church has been destroyed and reconstructed many times and once was damaged by an earthquake. This is one of the oldest partially preserved architectural monuments. It is located on Alexander Nevski square.

Alexander Nevski Cathedral

The impressive five doomed basilica in Neo-Byzantine style was built on the highest spot in Sofia to commemorate the heroes that died in the war for the Liberation of Bulgaria. The construction started in 1904 and was finalized in 1912. In a quiet day, the bells can be heard 30 km away. This is so because the heaviest bell is 12 tons and together with the other 11 is installed  50 meters above the ground. The Cathedral is paneled with while stone and golden domes, and the interior is richly decorated with unique frescos, mosaics, art of famous Bulgarian and Russian painters.

The Crypt of the Alexander Nevski Cathedral

The Crypt on the Cathedral hosts the exhibition for Medieval and  Revival Bulgarian art, branch of the National Art Gallery. Visitors can see icons from different periods.

Kind Liberator Monument

The King Liberator is one of the most impressive monuments in Sofia, designed by the Italian Sculptor Arnoldo Zocchi. The monument was erected as a symbol of the liberty and in honor of the people that took part in the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman domination (1878), and as a sign of gratitude towards the Russian people and the Russian Emperor Alexander II. The monument is on the Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard on National Assembly Square facing the Bulgarian Parliament. 

King’s Palace

The former King’s Palace in Sofia is located in the center of the Bulgarian Capital on 1 Kniaz Alexander Square. The Palace today hosts the National Art Gallery and the National Museum of Ethnography.

Ivan Vazov National Theater

Ivan Vazov National Theater is the oldest theater in Bulgaria after the Liberation. The impressive baroque building is designed by the Vienna Architecture Studio Fellner & Helmer and was finished at the end of 1906 and the stage was opened on 3 January 1907. In 1923 during a show a fire broke up, which caused a lot of damage. The theater was reconstructed in 1929 under the project of the German architect Martin Dülfer and of the Bulgarian engineer, who graduated in Munich. Kiril Chaparov.

St. Nicholas Russian Church

The beautiful Russian church is designed by the creators of the Alexander Nevski Cathedral. The  construction of the church was finalized in 1914. In the crypt of the church there is a marble sarcophagus holding the relics of another saint – St. Seraphim Of Sarov.

Military Club

The Military Club is built in the period 1895 – 1900 under the project of the Check architect A.V. Kolar. The interior is very ornate with many gypsum decorations, designed by the sculptor M. Vassilev and craftsman Greis. 

Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski

The University of Sofia is the oldest university in Bulgaria. It first opened its doors for students on 1 October 1888. The central part of the building was built with the generous donation of the two brothers Evlogii and Hristo Georgievi, whose sculptures are in front of the façade.

The Largo

The Largo is architectural ensemble of three buildings in the center built during the socialism in the socialist classicism in the 50-ies of the last century. These are the former building of the communist party, TSUM (Central Department Store), Council of Ministers, The Presidency, Ministry of Education and Sheraton.

St. Nedelia Church

The Church was built if the mid 18 century. The church was blown up on 16 April 1925 by the communists in an attempt to assassinate Tsar Boris III and the Government members. 193 people died and the injured were 500 people. This is the worst terrorist act in the Bulgarian history. The repair starts in June 1927 and continues till the spring of 1933. 

Central Covered Market

The Central Covered Market was built in 1911 and until nowadays this beautiful stone building is one of the favorite place for shopping of the locals.

Bashi Bashi mosque

Bashi Bashi Mosque besides being a Muslim temple which is open for worship is also an architectural monument, built around 500 years ago.

Petko Slaveikov Square

Petko Slaveikov Square or simply Slaveikov is a very famous square in Sofia. It is located between Graf Ignatiev Str. and Georgi Rakovski Str. The biggest open big market is located there.

The yellow brick road is a road, paved with yellow bricks. It has become a symbol of the central part of the city. According to the legend, the yellow bricks were given to Tsar Ferdinand on the occasion of his birthday but according to the facts they are imported from the Austrian – Hungarian Monarchy under the initiative of Martin Todorov, who was mayor at the time.

Roman Amphitheater

The Sofia Roman Amphitheater is an archeological museum, located in the central part of Sofia, 300 m. away of the East gate of ancient Serdika.

It is a complex of few important antique buildings – Roman theater, dated at the beginning of II century and the beginning of the III century and amphitheater, dated at the end of the III century and the beginning of the IV century. The amphitheater is the 77th antique monument of its kind found in the world and in size is close to the one in Rome. The discovery is made accidentally in April 2004 during the construction of Arena di Serdica hotel.

Sofia City Garden

The Sofia City Garden is the oldest park in Bulgaria and is located in the center of the city in front of the former King's Palace. Around the Sofia City Garden are the Bulgarian National Bank, Bulgaria Hall, Ministry of Justice, the National Theater Ivan Vazov, Ministry of transport, Grand Hotel Sofia, the Sofia Art gallery. This is also a popular place for chess players.

 

 

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