Sofia Became the Capital of Bulgaria with a Population of 11,694 Inhabitants – Less than the Number of Newborns in the City in the Last Year
Sofia is a city with 7000 years of history and is among the European cities with the most ancient past. To this day, excavations reveal tools of the Neolithic and ancient remains from the Stone and Bronze Ages.
It is believed that the abundance of warm mineral springs attracted the first settlers to these places. There are still eight types of hydrothermal deposits in Sofia Valley with 49 mineral springs of great depth, which protects their waters from pollution.
The earliest name of the city mentioned in historical sources is Serdonpolis. The name Sofia began to appear in historical archives a lot later – in the 14th century.
The oldest preserved building is in the very heart of the city – St. George Rotunda, built in the early 4th century.
became the capital of the autonomous Principality of Bulgaria in 1879, at the suggestion of Prof. Marin Drinov, co-founder of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
The decision was made because of the following advantages of the city: the geographic location between Northern and Southern Bulgaria, the vast valley that would allow the expansion of the town, and its location on the most important road of the Balkan Peninsula connecting Europe and Asia. Today, three trans-European transport corridors run through Sofia.
According to the first census conducted in Sofia in 1880, the city became the capital of Bulgaria with 11,694 inhabitants, 3,306 houses, and 2 schools.
To date, 1,276,909 people live in the city, the number of public secondary schools is 1,948, another 96 are private, and there are 16 universities. For the last year, Sofia has become the hometown of nearly 13,000 newborns – more than the city’s population at the first census as a capital.
The Coat of Arms of Sofia was created for the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900. The motto was added 11 years later and was originally “Ever Growing, Never Aging”. Later the word “but” was added to avoid the number of letters in the inscription being thirteen.
Part of the coat of arms is the image of a lion – the guardian of the city. There are a total of nine lion monuments in various places across the city – 2 in front of the Courthouse, 4 on the Lion Bridge, 1 in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 1 next to the Monument to the Unknown Soldier, and one behind the building of the Bulgarian National Bank.
Many of the iconic buildings from the beginning of the 20th century, situated in the central part of the city (Bulgarian Academy of Science, The Military Club, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Sofia City Art Gallery, The National Library) were built by Austrian, German, French and Italian architects, and later from Bulgarian ones. Among them is Petko Momchilov (Central Mineral Bath, Bulgarian National Bank, Alexandrovska Hospital), who won European architecture contests in competition with participants such as the French civil engineer Gustave Eiffel
The central city part of Sofia is an example of the city’s receptivity between the ancient and medieval heritage of these lands and the modern world. In the very heart of the city is situated the “Quadrangle of Tolerance”, where the temples of four of the largest religions in the world are located within walking distance of each other – the Banya Bashi Mosque, the Sofia Synagogue (the third largest in Europe), the Catholic Saint Joseph Cathedral and Saint Nedelya Orthodox Church.
Most European capital cities have a river running through or access to the sea. Sofia is the only one at the foot of a large mountain so close to the city center. Vitosha Mountain offers many places with a panoramic view of the city.
With all the historical places, green areas, picturesque streets with cafes and restaurants, and modern business buildings, today Sofia is a colorful modern European city. It is no coincidence that last year it was ranked among the Top 50 most Instagrammable places.