As usual, I started my day with a lovely omelette. hehehe
After breakfast, I had some time to relax at the room before departing for sightseeing Sofia City.
I felt Jazzy so I played Jazz station.
This is City of Sofia: view from the hotel.
The bus dropped us at a corner of the Alexander Navsky Cathedral to start our sightseeing.
The Cathedral is so beautiful under morning of soft sunlight.
We first visited the memorial stone of Ivan, the first famous Bulgarian writer.
These are the memorial for great contribution of King Boris III who protected Jewish from Germans during World War II.
This is the Mayor’s Office.
The mayor is SHE and she has been serving for 6 years.
She tries to increase greenery in the city.
One of uniqueness of this city is we can find many ruins from Roman Era everywhere.
This is the Saint Sofia Church Which was built in 6th century.
This church was converted to serve for many religions.
First it was built for Greek Orthodox, then converted to Mosque by the Ottoman Empire.
There was a big earthquake then that destroyed two towers on their holly day on Friday.
Muslims took it as a sign of bad luck so they abandoned it.
Today, the Saint Sofia Church became the most popular church for wedding among Bulgarian Orthodox.
The other side of street, there is the House of Patriarch.
I also find a memorial for the bilateral friendships between Bulgaria and Japan.
It’s time to pay a visit to the Alexander Nevsky Church which is the largest Bulgarian Orthodox church.
There are twelve domes on the roof and the bell weights 12 tons.
In addition, the weight of gold used for domes is 9 kg.
We cannot find any chairs at any Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
They participate in the service by standing.
On weekdays, the service is 20 mins, but on Sundays, the service is 3 hours.
People are allowed to join and leave any time during the service.
Another difference from other Christianity is that we cannot find any music instrument in any Bulgarian Orthodox Church because they serve/donate/praise by voice only: singing.
All these marbles are imported from Italy, Brazil and Morocco.
We could take photos inside, but we need to buy an approval ticket for 10 leva.
The church is beautiful to consider this payment as donation to the church.
After visiting a beautiful church, we started walking around the city to visit iconic buildings and places in Sophia.
The Statute of Tsar Alexander II
He is Russian Emperor who contributed to liberated Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire.
Saint Nicholas Orthodox – Beautiful Russian Church
Old Palace, today it serves as History Museum.
Prime Minister’s House
Saint Sofia – Owl on her shoulder and crown of laurel in her hand.
Many ruins from the Roman Era (2nd Century) found underground of Sofia.
These are discovered in 1955.
As a Japanese, I love Onsen (hot spring).
There are 5,000 sources of hot spring in Bulgaria.
Hot spring water could be hot and cold like Japan.
Of course, I washed my hands to make them look 20 years younger!!! hahaha
This scenery is symbolic of Bulgarian, living in harmony.
Majority of Bulgarians are Bulgarian Orthodox; here we can find Mosque and Jewish Church in the same area.
The building in the center is the market.
When we passed by Mosque, we can see the ruin of the large bath for Muslims purifying themselves before entering to the Mosque.
This is the market.
We can find ruins everywhere.
Church of Saint Petka of the Saddlers – this church is partially buried into the ground to show the respect to Ottoman (lower then any mosques) during its ruling allowing them to continue practicing.
Peaceful city view
We returned to the Presidency Building to watch the ceremony of changing of the guards at every o’ clock.
At the back of the Presidency Building, there is Saint George Rotunda.
This small church brought peace to my heart.
National Museum of Archaeology which is located in front of the Presidency Building.
At this museum, we should check treasures of Thracian.
There are many more precious pieces in this museum.
I need to keep distance (70 cm) from exhibits not to trigger the alarm.
I found interesting pieces as well.
An old plate with Japanese Emperor’s symbol (chrysanthemum) as if it belongs to him.
2nd June is special for Bulgarians.
At noon, the siren started and all Bulgarians pray for ancestors.
The guards at Presidency Building performed a special ceremony/formation.
This time police officers guarded the guards…?
Suddenly, he appeared and unfortinately, he blocked my view.
We had a famous Bulgarian cold yogurt soup – Tarator – for lunch.
We departed Sofia for Provdiv.
The buildings in Provdiv is unique; the second floor is larger than first/ground floor to avoid paying taxes, but to enjoy larger space.
Museum of Ethnographic – to learn local and traditional culture and industries.
The building itself represents local culture.
The Church of Sveti Konstantin & Elena – lovely church; therefore, this church is also popular for wedding.
Today, it is a restaurant, but this building was built in 19th century as Dervish Monastery.
We can understand it’s history on he wall of restaurant.
There are many more unique buildings on the street.
Roman Ancient Theatre
This is how it looks from the stage.
The special path was used by Emperor.
The Holy Virgin Orthodox Church
We reached to shopping area.
Again, there is Roman Stadium buried under shipping area.
Further walked down the street.
Oh, there are marks on the street indicating the other side of stadium.
Ramada Hotel Trimontium
The main dish for tonight was Bulgarian famous meatballs.
After laughing over dinner, went to a local supermarket to buy souvenirs and own consumption.
(Top Left) Ice Cream, Lokum (Bulgarian candy), chocolate and candies/cough drops and Linden tea bags.