Sofia is the capital of Bulgaria. Today the city takes its name from the late antique early Christian cathedral church “St. Sophia”, translated as “Holy Wisdom of God”. Its older names are Serdonpolis, Ulpia Serdica, Sredets, Triaditsa.
Sofia is twinned with Kyiv, Ukraine.
Sofia District has the largest population in the country – over 1.4 million people and includes the largest municipality – Sofia Municipality. Sofia is the main administrative, industrial, transport, cultural and university center of the country, and it is home to 1/6 of Bulgaria’s industrial production. The capital Sofia has the best developed educational and health network of nurseries and kindergartens, specialized schools and centers to support personal development, primary and secondary schools, vocational high schools, universities.
Education & Child Care
The oldest and largest university in Bulgaria is located here. Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” is the first Bulgarian higher school. The beginning of the organized educational system in Bulgaria dates back to the second half of the IX century. During the Renaissance the idea of opening a university was born. In 1894 a new law was passed for the Higher School which was transformed into a university under the name “Bulgarian University brothers Evlogiy and Hristo Georgievi from Karlovo” with three faculties: History and Philology, Physics and Mathematics and Law. Today Sofia University is the largest and most prestigious educational and research center in the country. It covers 16 faculties with 119 specialties. Sofia is also home to the largest universities in the field of engineering and financial sciences, construction and architecture, the Medical Academy, and universities of arts.
Sofia is the largest industrial center in Bulgaria with over 800 large enterprises. 75% of the ferrous metallurgy, 50% of the printing, 15% of the electrical and electronic industries, 14% of the country’s fur and footwear industries are concentrated in Sofia. Chemical, textile and food products are produced. The branches of construction, trade and transport, connecting the material and social infrastructure of the big city, are highly developed. The private sector on the territory of the district is concentrated mainly in the spheres of trade and services. The Sofia Commodity Exchange and the Bulgarian Stock Exchange operate in Sofia.
About 50% of Bulgaria’s gross domestic product falls on the capital. The headquarters of financial institutions are concentrated here. The average salary in Sofia is the highest in the country. The largest share of all foreign direct investments for the country is concentrated in the district.
Sofia provides more than a third of the total tax revenues in the state budget. The leading industries in the urban economy are the most important in the tertiary sector, as the contribution of the IT sector and telecommunications in recent years has grown significantly – by 50%. The real estate market continues to develop dynamically in the area, and the construction of residential and office buildings, business and shopping centers contributes to the economy and at the same time offers good opportunities for choice for both residents and businesses. Here are the headquarters of most large companies operating in the country.
The city of Sofia has an extremely rich history and is one of the oldest capitals in Europe – with over 7,000 years of existence. The city is located at a strategic crossroads, through which the connection between Western Europe (via Belgrade-Skopje-Plovdiv-Istanbul) for the countries of the Middle East, between the Danube coast and the Aegean, between the Black Sea and the Adriatic. Sofia Airport provides convenient access to all major and European cities, and from the central railway station and bus station of the city can be reached anywhere in the country.
Sofia preserves many valuable monuments from the past great epochs. The centuries-old history of Sofia turns the city into an interesting tourist destination, with many cultural landmarks – the church-monument “St. Alexander Nevsky ”, the Rotunda of St. George, the churches of“ St. Sunday “,” St. Sofia “,” St. Sedmochislenitsi ”, the Russian Church“ St. Nikolay the Miracleworker”.
The masterpieces of Bulgarian fine arts can be seen in the National Art Gallery, located in the building of the former royal palace. The National Ethnographic Museum is also located here. Very close is the National Museum of Natural History, which preserves stuffed extremely valuable and even extinct plant and animal species. Right next to the museum is the Russian Church “St. Nikolai ”, which impresses with its architecture. The National Assembly, the monument to Tsar Liberator and the building of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski ”are also defined as one of the symbols of Sofia. Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful buildings in Sofia is that of the Ivan Vazov National Theater.
At the foot of Vitosha Mountain, in the Boyana district, is the National History Museum, which preserves historical monuments from prehistory to the present day. This is the museum with one of the largest funds – over 700,000 cultural monuments. Near the museum is the Boyana Church – one of the Bulgarian cultural monuments, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are many more museums in the capital – the Polytechnic Museum, the Anthropological Museum, the Museum of Sports and others.
The capital has a variety of sports facilities – outdoor and indoor swimming pools, tennis courts, modern gyms, parks, stadiums.
In Sofia, rental prices are wide, depending on: location, proximity to public transport, type of construction, size, whether it is furnished, whether there are kindergartens, schools, shops in the area, whether offered by an agency or by owner. The rent for a 2-3-room apartment in the ideal center of the capital, offered by an agency, varies between 700 and 1,400 euros. In densely populated, but with good infrastructure area “Lozenets” the average price is 850 euros. In the areas around Vitosha Mountain, the rent of the offered housing, including houses, exceeds 1500-1800 euros. Prices for rental housing offered by the owner in the neighborhoods near the center are slightly lower – 300-500 euros. Between 300 and 600 euros is the monthly rent for housing in the more remote from the center neighborhoods, which also have good transport and social infrastructure.