The Bulgarian capital of Sofia is one of the oldest European cities and boasts a carefully preserved culture and history. Established by the Thracians, this country was under Ottoman rule for several years. Today, Sofia is a fusion of diverse cultures, traditions and customs.
Sofia narrates tales of the bygone days through its ornate buildings and structures. Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is said to be the most famous site in the city with its gold-plated central dome. The ancient building of Saint George Rotunda is a red brick church from the 300s that has withstood the test of time. During the Ottoman rule, this church was converted into a mosque and its magnificent frescoes had been painted over. If you can, stop at the Banya Bashi Mosque, built in the 16th century during Ottoman rule. The only functional mosque in Sofia and an exceptional architectural marvel, Banya Bashi Mosque was built over natural thermal spas and you can see steam rising from the nearby vents.
Flavourful and filling, Bulgarian cuisine is a classic example of the Eastern European food culture. One of the favourites of the country, Shopska Salata is a salad featuring Bulgarian white cheese and vegetables, and is found in every traditional restaurant in Sofia. If salad isn’t your thing, then try ordering Meshana skara, a grilled meat platter including meatballs, sausage, minced meat and pork steak. You can also cool down with a bowl of Tarator, a refreshing yogurt soup prepared with cucumbers, walnuts and Bulgarian yogurt.