Thursday, 27 September 2007

A return with an inspiration

This is probably the most magnificent sunset I've ever seen from any point in Sofia. I guess the fireworks were a good finish of the celebrations for somebody's birthday. They've been something quite common these days.
Anyways, enjoy the sight. See you soon!!!

Friday, 25 May 2007

Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, part II

As I've previously written, 21st and 22nd of May were open-door days at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAN). I went there and here's what I found.
First, the building looks as impressive from the inside as from the outside. It was built in the beginning of the 20th century, just opposite from the National Assembly building.
There is a permanent exhibition about the history of BAN and its predecessor, the Bulgarian Literary Association.
On the ground floor there was an exhibition of Orthodox Christian music notes and scripts, some of them dating as early as the 5th century A.D., others: from the late 19th century.
What stroke me when I spent some time inside was the atmosphere. It just smelled like state institution bureaucracy. I always have the same feeling when I enter buildings of state institutions. With all my respect to science and to the contribution of scientist from BAN to the Bulgarian society, every corner was screaming that the whole place was lacking liveliness. Most people there showed no interest at all about the few visitors in the late afternoon (I heard that earlier the building was visited by much more people).
But wait, in the darkness I saw a flash of light. Literary as well. The lights of the dark corridor were turned on and a grey-haired but lively man entered, motivating with words his colleagues to be more active and to show real celebration spirit. He came to me and my friend and started exlaining about the whole event around the temporary exhibition of Orthodox music. He even went back to his office then returned with a printout of the speech of a scientist who made the research and gathered the documents for the exhibition in question.

I don't know for sure who this man was, I presume he is one of the "big names" at BAN. There should be more people there like him at the places which are said to be the drivers of our society in general.

P.S. I hope it's not forbidden to take photos inside the building.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Nature vs. politicians

Several neighbourhoods of Sofia have been flooded as a result of the heavy rain as rivers have overflown their banks. Mosly damaged are Vladaya, Knyajevo, Buckstone, Pancharevo and Slatina, among which Vladaya the most - as the Vladaya river has overflown and many houses are endangered of collapsing. A foundation wall has fallen and smashed several cars between two blocks in Slatina (in fact, metres away from the block I'm living in), thankfully no injured.
While nature is ravaging the capital and the region, politicians are suffering overheating after the end of the elections day for Bulgarian members of the European Parliament.
Journalists have gone mad due to the fact that many politicians who have responsibilities cnnected with public safety and emergeny situations are in fact at the National Palace of Culture (NDK) where the results will be announced and parties will make official statements.
It is arguable whether all of them are to blame or not (we, Bulgarians often tend to blame each other and turn our opponents into living Antichrists if possible). But it's a fact that as always there's a huge gap between politicians and voters. It's also a fact that there's still a lot to learn about the implications of Bulgarian membership within the EU. Another fact: emergency cases are not handled in the proper way, precautions are not taken which exposes us to a greater risk and probability of higher losses if something happens. Reactive rather than proactive: that's one of the characteristics of our nation.

Both photos are taken from the balconies of the flat I live in. The second one captures the part of Slatina where the wall has fallen. The blocks in question are in the distance.

Open-door days at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

On 21st and 22nd of May there will be Open-door days of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAN).
As a part of the celebrations of 24th of May - the Day of Bulgarian enlightment and culture and Slavonic writing, BAN will present to the public its major activites, the laboratories, the library, its museums as well as the role of BAN in the country development.
Visit hours: from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m.

Rainy days

The rain continues to fall. It's been raining for a couple of days already. Sofia is a damp and greyish place.
Specialists were drawing attention to the huge drought which would have tur ned most of the crops aeund the country into ash. Instructions were made to inhabitants of regions most threatened to save water supplies.
Now the danger has been reduced. I suppose besides the mud and water all around many people are happy. There will be no draught, at least for the next few weeks...
The city is another story though. People here are not personally connected to the events areound the country. They work in the services and industry sector, they can buy anything from the supermarkets. If anything couldn't be produced here in Bulgaria because of the drought, they will buy imported goods. That's why it's most probable that one hears complaints of the rain.
If I have to enumerate the probable reasons, they would be:
- it's not convenient for street walks
- it's much cooler so we can't wear our summer clothes
- holes in the street coverage can't be seen by the drivers because they are filled with water
- holes filled with water are the puddle nightmare of pedestrians
- umbrellas get easily broken
- dusty Sofia becomes muddy Sofia
and etc., etc...
But what's the problem? This moments are some of the few times when Sofia resembles Venice (because the shafts are blocked with garbage and the water starts flowing in the streets).
Apart from the negative emotions that rain brings, there are also positive ones. As a friend of mine said, the city becomes much cleaner than it is normally. The lightnings and thunders make us feel that there's also nature around us, not only the ugly grey panel blocks.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

18 May International Museum Day - the celebration here

Yesterday (18 May) was the International Museum Day. Bulgaria joined in the celebration by announcing free entrance into several of the biggest museums and galleries in the country.
Half of them were in Sofia, including the National Museum of History, the National Museum of Archeology, the National Art Gallery, the Sofia Art Gallery and the National Gallery for Foreign Art.
From 5 p.m. till 12 p.m. entrance was free and visitors could see not only the traditional exhibitions but also dancers, plays, concerts, etc.
I went to the National Gallery for Foreign Art (see photos to the left) where one could see Japanese paintings, African masks and statues, Burman Buddhist statues and carpets, Western Eurpoean paintings, paintings by Nikolay Roerich. Interestingly, there were mostly young people, families with small children. Even after 12 p.m. people wanted to enter but weren't let. I presume some have tried to visit all venues... I also wanted to see another place: the National Art Gallery where one could watch a play with historical context (as far as I could understand): but in vain... It had already finished. The balcony in front of the main entrace was overcrowded by young people, some of them were trying to enter just like us, but it wasn't possible.

I guess one could make two major conclusions from the event.
First, it seems to me that there's definitely interest for places of art. Although the visitors might not have been statistically significant in number, one can be certain that the interest for such places has been increasing recently. Which is a very good indicator in my opinion...
Second, the rush for art aightseeing happens only when there's an attractive campaign for the event. In this case it was the free entrance and the working hours, and - of course - the fact it was the International Museum Day. In other cases: the publicity made about exhibitions of famous works of art or national treasures. Like the exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci's scetches and models based on them, or the exhibition of the Thracian golden treasure in one of the few moments while it is back home in Bulgaria. At such events queues are hundreds of metres long and people come hourse before the opening in order to enter. The latter events are not free of entrance, but the ticket is ridiculously cheap: not more than 5 leva (worst-case scenario), or about 2.5 Euros.
So, the final conclusion is that people are interested in art and history. And it's not only about the money. It's only about publicity and/or content of the exhibition.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Drivers didn't protest, but cyclists did.

The big news is that the strike of the public transport drivers was cancelled. They had a deal for salary increase. The municipality and the government had no option but to agree. If there were a strike, the whole capital would have been blocked and all citizens would have been very dissatisfied with their refusal.
Well, 200 leva (including taxes and social insurance payment) isn't much in my opinion, but yet if this is what the drivers want, then it's OK.
I just don't see why people always rely on the municipality and the government? Perhaps that's the easiest way??? In my opinion the better option would have been to stress more on advertisement spaces. It's an area not developed enough and the public transport company could make much more profit than now.

There wasn't a strike of the drivers, but there was a protest of the cyclists. I happened to be exactly on the spot where they gathered and started their protest: at NDK. They wanted more cycling areas in the city. One of the slogans was: "We don't stop the traffic", adressing the just-cancelled strike of the drivers.
Generally, there are almost no such areas in the city. The only ones are around NDK, but it's definitely not enough. When there are pedestrians walking over the lines or cars parked on the sidewalk, they have no option but to ride in the street...there's no need to mention that streets are dangerous for cyclists.

I totally agree with their demands. When boulevards are being reconstructed, plans should include larger sidewalks with lines for cyclists. Of course, the latter won't happen in the centre. The streets are too narrow for cycling areas. But the newest boulevards which connect the centre with the suburbs are a good option for this. Wouldn't it be nice to travel to work by bike...? :)

Friday, 11 May 2007

Pedestrian madness

Everyone knows that drivers in Sofia are simply mad. But few people pay attention to the fact that pedestrians are no more in their senses.

There's something wrong with the sign. You see it's in its place and yet not everything seems to be alright with it. The same applies to pedestrians. They have their sidewalks, traffic lights and zebra crossings but do they obey the rules? Of course not, this is Sofia, almost nobody follows the rules.

It reminds me of bulls: when they see red they go mad and run. In the same way pedestrians see red light and go. "There are no cars, so I'd better cross now, because I'm in a hurry".

I admit I also don't follow the rules every time. You know, it would be annoying to walk 5 minutes in order to reach the nearest traffic light or zebra crossing, then walk again for 5 minutes to finally get to your destination.

What I find really problematic is crossing on red light. One can never know whether a car would appear from somewhere.

Apart from the problem, there's also something funny about all this. It's very funny to watch people gather at the traffic light, wait for a few seconds, turn left, then right; decide to pass even though it's red and...GO! The first line goes, people from the other side of the street see how brave the others are and also go. Those who are on the queue also finally see people crossing without fear and make a decision to move.

Those who leave form a minority, and the author also is a member of this group.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

The capital to be paralyzed

The big news is that on 15th of May all public transport drivers are planning a strike. They will demand for higher salaries and, of course, will continue blaming both the state and the municipality for the low level of salaries.
What's the story behind: there's an argue between state and municipality about financial issues concerning public transport companies. As they are public, they depend mostly on the subsidies of the state and the municipality. Some of them make huge losses which are covered by these subsidies. There is a regulation for state- and municipality-owned companies which defines the conditions for salary increases. If the company is making losses, the salaries are not increased. Another very important point is the decision for financial decentralization which allows all municipalities in Bulgaria to receive the major part of the collected local taxes. For the municipality of Sofia this is a huge income. Apart from that majorly the municipality is financially responsible for the public transport companies. In our case - for Sofia Public Transport Company (SKGT).
Well now, here we have a stike planned, the drivers will protest mainly against the state. As mentioned above, not the state but the municipality has the biggest responsibility for SKGT.
Reading between the lines: the mayor of Sofia - Boyko Borisov - is using any opportunity to play dirty games against the government (well, the opposite happens as well).
In our case the state is within its right.
Whether the salaries are really low and drivers deserve more or not, here we have two major issues.
1. Typically, institutions blame each other instead of showing real results.
2. Sofia will be completely paralyzed on May 15th.
There are more than a half million cars in Sofia. This means that probably about 600 000 citizens will be able to get wherever they want to.
Taxis are about 20 000, which means that other 100 000 people would be able to go wherever they want to.
Route taxis will be available: other 20 000 people.
Youngest and oldest usually don't go out: probably about 200 000 people.
And the rest? more than 300 000 people? I hope I don't exaggerate. Even if I'm mistaken about the number, I'm sure that the ones that will be imacted the most are the pensioners and the students. Also employed but without a car. Like me.
Another problem will be that everyone who has a car will use it - unlike normal situations when sometimes public transport is used.

So, let's sum up:
- more traffic jams
- pure luck to get a taxi
- pure luck to get inside a route taxi (marshrutka)

=>It will be a very exciting Tuesday.

If I can, I'll make updates with photos.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Exhibition at the Sky City Mall

Yesterday I came across an exhibition at the Sky City Mall. With the support of PhotoSynthesis it presented the photos and stories of Nikolay Genov about his trip to Kashmir, India. The topic is Chadar - the 120-km route of lamas through rivers and ice. The region covers the territory of two former Tibetan kingdoms: Ladakh and Zanskar.

I was driven to another world full of mystery and colours. One stands in the hall, hears the buzzling shopping crowd and the music hits sounding from above, but doesn't listen to them. People pass by, but one doesn't notice.

The man on the photo had extraordinary eyes. As if there was a continuation of his iris with shape following the curves of his eye-lids. Such shapes were on both sides of the iris!

What an ingenious decision of the managers of the mall! Since its opening they announced that this mall would host exhibitions and other cultural events but I never expected that this idea would turn into action so soon. Normally, one would expect to see more direct-profit-oriented managers of such sites. I'm happy to notice such exceptions. If the website of the mall gives latest news about exhibitions, it would me much better.

The rest of my photos are here

More about the Mall:
official website
A post about the mall on another blog of mine

Thursday, 3 May 2007


Separate waste collection was introduced in Sofia in 2005. The huge bell-shaped containers added more liveliness to the otherwise grey and dull city daylife. And, as it turned out, a good object of interest for the admirers of nightlife.

Nowadays it's very difficult to make some citizens not to throw their garbage directly from the balconies of their flats - either wrapped in plastic bags or not.

The way of treating waste tells a lot about the habits and mindset of citizens of the capital. One i s often lazy enough to hang their plastic bags full of waste directly onto the small waste basket placed at the bus stop. The idea of missing the bus while turning round the block where the containers stay is always one of the drivers for such acions.

As far as recycling is concerned, it just turned neccesary because the current dung-hill is almost full and people living nearby complained about the smell... So one of the results from the massive protests and summer days in a capital where the waste is not collected (because the collecting cars are not let to the dung-hill by the protestors) is the decision from separate waste collection.

True, it's of benefit for the companies holding shares in the recycling organizations. But yet what's the real impact?
Mindsets are yet to be changed.
People not to throw their waste from the balconies or onto the steet.
Complanies who have received the concessions for waste collection should be more hard-working.
Other things might not change that fast. Poor and/or homeless people would hardly give up collecting the waste from the containers and getting money from recycling companies for that - e.g. for paper, metal, glass.

I sense a difference compared to the past decade. Nowadays the average citizen of Sofia is much more concerned about the negative effects of irresponsible actions: on the environment and on the people. It is often said here in Bulgaria that only when something bad happens people realize there's been a problem and start thinking about possible actions

The bad thing about waste in particular were the protests which led to piles of uncollected waste in the whole city - during the summer. The problem was finally identified by the majority. Actions have been discussed. Somethinga has already been changed.

So far so good.

Monday, 30 April 2007

Sofia's old buildings

The oldest part of the city (about a century old) is the area enclosed by Konstantin Velichkov blvd. and Skobelev blvd. to the west, Banishora district and Maria Luiza blvd. to the north, Oborishte district to the east and Patriarch Evtimii blvd. to the south. The northern part of the centre is less preserved but is less influenced by the more recent architecural trends (recent here to be understood as the years after the second World War). The old buildings here might not be as lavish as the ones in the south-eastern part of the centre, but yet they still bear the spirit of old times when the capital had no more than 50-100 000 inhabitants and the centre was in fact the whole city.

During World War II Sofia suffered bomb strikes by the US and UK's air forces and many of the architectural masterpieces were completely destroyed. Some of them were rebuilt but lost their glory. Others were replaced by massive grey blocks to house the incoming workforce from all over the country. With the communists coming to power the old way of living was gone, the owners of property had different fate and in 1989 (when comunism fell) it turned out that many of these houses were abandoned and either it was arguable whose property they were, or it wasn't known at all whom they belonged to.
One by one, they were left on their own and to time. Day by day thy've been turning into ruins.

There is a special regulation for protection from dangerous buildings. If they are not within standards, their owners are obliged to apply the necessary repairs. If the owner can't be found, well, then...the building is demolished. There are also cases in which the land under the building is bought by an investor and the building is destroyed, then a new lavish glass-and-concrete monster is erected.

In cases when the threatened building is of cultural importance, the investor is obliged to offer a solution in which it is preserved or the reconstruction plan fits with specific requirements for preserving the outlook of
the old building.

The place on the photos is on Budapest street near the crossing with Dondukov blvd. Considering the area, the ruins might soon be replaced with a new block of flats.

It looks like there has been another house in front of the one painted in brown. I presume that almost all furniture and devices have been taken/stolen beforehand (like it usually happens). The chair was the only thing I noticed to be completely preserved. I guess it's been used by the workers who have demolished the house.

On one of the photos one can see what the shape of the house has been like. It has been very common to attach a structure to the neighbouring one. There secondly built has no separate wall, only some thin coverage over which wallpapers are placed. This makes the second building very unstable, especially in cases when it has suffered major reconstructions and important columns have been removed. A tragic example of what might happen in such cases - here.

The problem comes when there's a combination between cultural importance and danger. Till now the regulations don't prove to be good. Otherwise tragedies wouldn't happen or old buildings wouldn't be demolished and the culturale heritage of our capital - lost. Where's the "exit" ("изход" in Bulgarian, "izhod" with latin letters) of all this?

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Update about the underground of Sofia

Only a few days ago I was walking in the streets of the centre of Sofia and passed by one of the construction sites of the underground. The place is at the University of Sofia, map here.
The more the construction progresses, the wider area of the park is being destroyed. When the excavation work began it was said that all trees in this area would be moved to a safer place and then returned to their original growing spot. Hopefully the promise would be kept.
Now even the statues which are part of the complex of the Monument of the Soviet Army are within the construction site, but I guess they remain untouched.
I think that the group of people impacted the most by the construction (in negative way) are the skaters and bladers who use the space in front of the monument for practising. But I guess they can be patient as long as the project is finished. Soon they'll be able to use the underground to travel to their favourite gathering spot directly from their homes at the other side of the city.
It is said that this station (University of Sofia "St. Kliment Ohridski") would be the busiest one.
We'll see on November. :)

Where peace hides

It's the Embassy of Peace. At first it appeared to be just queer. I thought - well, it's probably some kind of an organization. I have no idea how right I was.

So, I was walking with a friend in the streets when I noticed this building, then - the surprising sign: Embassy of Peace.

Yes, it turned out to be one of those organizations striving for unity through religion. I must point out that I'm not one of the biggest admirers of such initiatives. But yet, individuals have their freedom of most cases.

What I liked the most was in fact the photo I took of the sign. It turned out to be a good combination between nature and peace. :)

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Sheep in Sofia

Yes, there are sheep in Sofia. Any doubts I had before are now completely gone.
There's something quite interesting about sheep and Sofia in general. Some people from Sofia, especially young ones, are proud to be citizens of the capital and regard everyone else as "peasants". Just the opposite: people from the country think that Sofians are very stuck-up and the high opinion they have for themselves is not supported by the facts at all. So, we've got a nice rivalry here.
But where's the sheep in the whole picture?
This poor little creature is said not to inhabit the capital of Bulgaria. It is said to live only somewhere in the country. If seen by a citizen of Sofia, the reaction might be: "OK, it's not a big deal, such sights can be seen sometimes. But the fact that we are superior remains."
The reaction of someone from the country: "There are sheep in Sofia too so don't offend us anymore and think you're superior."
These reactions are probably the worst-case scenarios. I believe in normal situations things are much more calmer. I have the feeling that most of the people involved (from both sides) argue just for the sport.

Oh, by the way, the I took this photo at the complex the Academy of Science. I hope there's no correlation between sheep and science here. :)

Monday, 23 April 2007

The new escalators at the Main Train Station

The Main Train Station has been a typical reminder of the architecture from the communist era: massive and grey.

When I was a child I used to pass through the station with my parents and I remember the old brown escalators still working. I also remember that I really enjoyed standing on the steps and reaching the top without any efforts.

At that time the escalators stopped working one by one. The early 90's were tough years when state property was devastated, and the state didn't have the capacity to take care of its equity. So the Main Train Station slowly turned into an ugly reminder of the past times with its dark, stinky corners, greasy benches and homeless dogs. The escalators' colour became darker and darker, dust and rubbish irreversably damaged the mechanisms and they turned just into dangerous alternative of the stairs.

The reconstruction of the front part of the train station began in the early autumn of 1999. It's been in progress since then. The front square is owned and managed by the Municipality of Sofia which probably is the main factor for it's reconstruction. The building of the train station itself is owned by the state. For a long time there have been huge arguments between municipality and state concerning the status of the whole complex (building and square), but almost no progress.

I was happy to notice that some progress has been made in the modernization of the building itself. Apart from other minor improvements, probably the biggest one has been the replacement of the old escalators. Since 2006 half of them have been replaced and the first few are already running!

Quality of living city rankings 2007

An annual survey conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting shows that Sofia is on 116th place for overall quality of living. In the the sub-ranking for health and sanitation services our capital has reached the 105th place. On EU-scale the positions are respectively 26th and 23th (out of 26, Malta's capital is not included).
According to the survey, there's been some improvement since 2006: from 118th to 116th place for overall quality of living.

According to many Sofians though, there is no improvement at all or if there is, it is only in areas which are not that problematic. My feeling is that the most problematic areas which prevent Sofia from progressing are the poor condition of street covering, homeless dogs, the building boom, etc.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Wanna cup of tea???

Waiters or waitresses breaking something is quite an often sight. But when the cup is not broken but sunk, things get even worse.

Hm, it's not unusual to see plastic cups thrown on the grownd or in the water. But a porcelain one?!?!? I was startled to see this one in the small pond at the back of the National Library.

During summer there is an open-air cafe around the pond.
I guess it's not a big deal if they lose a cup or two in the water. Next year they'll be fully able to get them back. :)

Sunday, 15 April 2007

The underground under construction

This is a part of the soon-to-be-opened line of the underground from Serdika station to Mladost district. It's in front of the International Trade Center of Interpred, on the crossroad of Dragan Tzankov blvd. and F.J. Curie blvd. At this very place the trains would emegre above the ground. A special coverage is made over the tracks so that the inside would be protected from severe weather conditions, and the near blocks and houses would be protected from the noise from the trains passing by.

The underground construction has started in the 1970's and since then not a single complete line has been opened. Most of the construction was made in the 1990's. Currently the line in construction is the one which is aimed to connect the two biggest districts of Sofia: Luilin and Mladost. Named "cities within the city", they provide shelter to probably 1/3 of the inhabitants of Sofia. Currently the underground is opened only from Obelya (a district close to Liulin) to the city centre at St. Nedelya square (Serdika station). Since last year the other part of the line has been in construction: from Serdica station to Mladost district. Luckily, a huge part of it is already built in the 1970's and 1980's. The toughest and most delicate part of the construction is the part between Serdika station and the University of Sofia. It's exactly underneath the core of the city centre, the so-called "Largo". Under the ground there are the remains of the old Roman city of Serdica, so the tunnel should be much deeper than the part from Liulin to the centre. Even now a part of the old city walls are integrated within one station: Serdika (named after the old city).

At the time I'm writing this post the construction is still in progress. Most of the coverage of the track is placed; the part above the ground is almost finished and now the place where the trains would again go underground is in construction: the crossing of Dragan Tzankov blvd. and G.M. Dimitrov blvd. It's also the most recent traffic jam spot in Sofia.

The next stations to be opened are University of Sofia "Kilment Ohridski", "Dragan Tzankov" and "Interpred". Expectedly and hopefully till the end of 2007.

More info: the official website of "Metropolitan Sofia"


The transport to and in the city is quite an experience. Buses, trolley buses, trams, route taxis (marshrutka) are the most common means of public transport here. The underground is also popular, although it still covers only a small part of the city - from Liulin to the centre.

Trams are the most distinctive means of transport of Sofia - the capital is the only place in Bulgaria where trams are used. They vary in models, colours and...age. My favourites are the ones which are used only for lines 1 and 7 because of the modern outlook and fast and smooth movement. Unfortunately they are among the dirtiest trams.

One of the busiest bus lines is line 280: from the University of Sofia to Student's town (Studentski grad). During most of the day it's very difficult to close the doors because of the huge crowd inside. At Pliska station everyone wants to go inside, and some people even risk falling out of the bus as the doors can't be closed because of them standing on the steps.

The most dangerous means of transport is undoubtedly the marshrutka. They first appeared about 10 years ago when the public transport was in a very poor condition, while people needed to reach the other part of the city quickly. With the improvement of living standards the pace of living also increased and citizens of the capital have been the ones mostly in a hurry in Bulgaria. So the marshrutka was born. Nowadays there are more than 30 lines: some of them cover almost 100% of existing bus, tram or trolley bus lines but their existance is certain because of one single fact: quickness. This inevitably means risky driving. Marshrutka drivers are among the most dangerous drives in Sofia. Most often the passengers would almost fall from their seats or feel dizzy after sitting in the minibus. But sometimes, as I felt it myself, passengers even get overdoses of adrenaline because of the crazy driving. One day I was sitting in marshrutka number 20. The driver saw a huge traffic jam ahead and instead of getting stuck into it and being behind the schedule, he decided to turn left and pass through...the meadows between the opposite lines!

There are also means of transport that have never moved but have had passengers though. One year ago I saw this small train in a small park near Evlogi Georgiev blvd. Probably it's been an amusement place for children once. Now it's a gathering place for all kinds of creeping creatures, plants and also a rain drops collector. Or another practicing area for graffitti artists.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

The history in brief

Founded seven thousand years ago, Sofia is the second oldest city in Europe. It has been given several names in the course of history and the remnants of the old cities can still be seen today.

Serdika was the name of the central dwelling of the ancient Thracian tribe known as “Serdi”. It bore that name when it became part of the Bulgarian state at the beginning of the ninth century and was soon recognised as one of the most important feudal towns, acquiring the Slavic name Sredets.

Near Sofia lies Boyana church, which is one of the most valuable memorials of Bulgarian and European culture. The church boasts frescoes, acclaimed by specialists as “the best examples of eastern mediaeval art during its twelve century history”.

The decline of Sofia during the Ottoman Empire was followed by the rejuvenation after the liberation in 1879, when Sofia was chosen as the capital of Bulgaria at the First National Constituent Assembly. The plans of 1881-1882 were followed by a brisk and straight-forward period of construction.

In 1900 the City Council approved the emblem of Sofia and the motto “It Grows but Does not Age”.


Municiplity of Sofia

Sofia, Bulgaria.

This is one of my spontaneous ideas. I really don't know whether my interest of this topic would last long or not. I also don't know whether there will be interest from visitors to my postings.
So what?

The topic is clear: the hidden beauty of Sofia - the capital of Bulgaria.

Why hidden: because through all the noise, dirtiness and rush there are places and moments that deserve poining out. It's not about the tourist spots, their appearance here would be more related to the hidden stories behind them rather than on their most well-known views. There are also less known places or events, or even citiezens' behaviour which in fact are one of the most distinctive points of the city.

Why me: because I live in Sofia, I know almost all its neighbourhoods and I love exploring it more and more. I've been taking photos in Sofia for almost two years and I really want to show what I've seen to the whole world.

Why visit the blog: this is not a commercial. It's neither an attempt to define a target group. My target group is simply everyone who wants to see and know the real city.