Saturday, 9 July 2011

The 7 day circuit to Bulgaria - The afternoon of day 5 (Sofia city centre) - The 16th of June 2011

After having had lunch in Boyana, the bus dropped us off at the city centre where we followed our guide on what turned out to be a one hour walking tour through those city streets, stopping at various important buildings and Monuments before heading  to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, right in front of our hotel.

The tour started in the park in front of the train Station.

Sofia train station building

Banya Bassi Mosque

The Banya Bashi mosque built in 1576 looks quite impressive from the outside. Its name "Banya" (the Bulgarian word for bath) refers to the adjacent Baths (recently restored), in front of which city dwellers are said to queue up to collect warm mineral water from the tapped springs. We saw quite a few bringing around bottles to be filled.

Central Baths and City water springs

A 24 metre high bronze and copper sculpture (Statue of Sofia) weighing four tons holding the symbols of fame and wisdom in her hands and wearing the crown of Tjuhe (the Goddess of Fate) overlooked an intersection we crossed and caused  such an impression, which could only be compared to the columns of the former Communist Party  headquarters.

Statue of Sofia and Nezavisimost Square

Former Comunist Party Headquarters

As we walked around, we came across the Presidency building with guards of honour in quite good looking attire outside its entrance, from which we further walked onto a sort of courtyard (St. George Rotunda) in the middle of which stood proudly  a charming round red brick church dating back to the 4th century and considered to be the oldest preserved building of Sofia. We still had time to step inside and briefly look at its layers of frescoes dating back from the 10th century, prior to a mass which was about to start.  Walking back some of us still managed to watch and film the rendering of the guards in the courtyard of the Presidency. 

The Presidency building entrance and Sveti Georgi church

(to be continued)

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