Welcome to Sofia
Dramatically ringed by the Balkan Mountains to the north and the Vitosha Mountains to the south, Sofia stands on an open plain 550m (1,804ft) above sea level in western Bulgaria. Although its neo-classical Stalinist architecture is prominent, visitors to Sofia will love its side streets and century-old commercial quarter, tree-lined boulevards and balconied buildings by 19th-century Russian and Viennese architects. Locals meet for coffee at open-air cafés in the park, the vast bazaar offers an array of pickles and farm produce, and new designer boutiques keep springing up in the city centre. Shoppers queue to board Sofia’s rattling trams while folk musicians serenade the metro users. Central Sofia boasts a clutch of ancient and neo-Byzantine Orthodox churches, and one functioning mosque, virtually all that remains of 500 years of Ottoman domination.