St. Sofia Church
The St. Sofia Church, also called the Hagia Sophia Church, is the oldest Eastern Orthodox church in the city, dating from the 4th to 6th century, and is regarded as one of the most significant examples of early Christian architecture in the Balkans. In the 14th century the church gave its name to the city of Sofia, meaning 'holy wisdom'. The church was built on the site of several earlier churches and places of worship, dating back to the days when the site was part of the necropolis of the Roman town of Serdica. As a result of this location on an ancient necropolis several tombs have been discovered under and around the church which are very interesting and valuable in themselves. Another feature of the St Sofia Church is the intricate Early Christian mosaic which covers its floors. During the Turkish rule the church was converted into a mosque, but was abandoned after two successive earthquakes destroyed one of the minarets almost 30 years later, and it was again converted into an orthodox church. Local legends credit St Sofia's miraculous powers for its protection over the centuries, surviving occupations and natural disasters to remain as a spiritual inspiration to the city.
Address: 2 Paris Street
Opening times: Open daily, from 7am to 6pm