Pilgrimage Routes

Let's have a walk in Sofia

Sofia City Tour with Audio Guide

This historical and heritage tour offers a selection of the best historical sites and monuments in the capital city that can be visited during a day tour. The itinerary has been specially designed by Audio Guide Bulgaria as an individual excursion in Sofia. The tour includes 25 historic sites and tourist attractions along with fascinating storytelling available in 7 different languages.
To enjoy your visit to Sofia and learn more about its history you can simply use a portable audio guide with instructions and storytelling. You have two options to get an audio guide: - to book and hire an audio guide via the website Audio Guide Bulgaria; - to download the Audio Guide Bulgaria mobile application - Android, App Store, in order to buy and install the mobile audio guide on your own mobile telephone.
When you choose an audio guide tour it gives you the freedom to set your own pace and enjoy your free time. You can avoid any time limits and devote as much time as you wish to each of the attractions, decide which restaurant to go to and which stores to visit. Your digital audio guide will guide you and direct you to your desired destination, telling you enchanting stories and making your trip a memorable one.

1. Ivan Vazov National Theatre

Ivan Vazov National Theatre. It was built in 1906 to replace the temporary wooden structure of Osnova Theatre, after the design of Viennese architects F. Fellner and H. Helmer in the neo-classical style. It is the big­gest theatre in Bulgaria and one of the architectural symbols of Sofia. Its stage has welcomed all outstanding Bulgarian drama actors. The building survived not a few fires and devastations, to be restored to its original outlook in 1976. The remarkable facade consists of six columns supporting a gable where Apollo and the muses of art are depicted. The theatre was named after classic Ivan Vazov, Bulgarian poet and writer.

2. National Art Gallery and National Ethnographic Museum

The Royal Palace (at present National Gallery – The Palace and the National Ethnographic Museum). Built as the headquarters of the Ottoman Police Force, it was reconstructed and turned into a palace in the period 1879-1883 to serve as the seat of the Bulgarian head of state – Knyaz Alexander of Battenberg. In 1893-1894, during the reign of Knyaz Ferdinand, the palace was once again reconstructed after the design of architect Friedrich Grünanger. Today, two cultural institutions with rich and valuable collections of fine art and Bulgarian folklore – The Palace branch of the National Art Gallery and the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Studies with Ethnographic Museum, operate on the premises of the former royal palace.

3. The Russian Church

The Russian Church, officially known as the Church of St Nicholas the Miracle-Maker. It was built between 1907 and 1914 by the initiative of the Russian embassy and on its property for the needs of the Russian immigrants in Sofia.

4. Monument to the Tsar Liberator

Monument to the Tsar Liberator. It was erected in honor of Russian Emperor Alexander II and his army, out of which more than 200 000 soldiers gave their lives during the Russi­an-Turkish War of Liberation (1877–1878). The memorial’s author was Italian sculptor Arnoldo Zocchi who won the project in the international com­petition in 1900. The sculptural ensemble above the pedestal depicts Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers led by Nike, Ancient Greek goddess of victory. It also features scenes from the major battles and por­traits of army leaders. The mas­sive cornice is finished with the sculpture of Emperor Alexander II on horseback, holding the Ma­nifesto declaring the Russian-Turkish War in his hand.

5. St. Kliment Ohridski Sofia University

St Kliment Ohridski Sofia University was the first establishment of higher learning in Bulgaria. The building was officially opened in 1934. The statues of the university’s benefactors, the brothers Evlogi and Hristo Georgiev, executed in bronze by sculptor Kiril Shivarov, were added on both sides of the university’s main entrance.

6. St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral Church. The foundation stone was laid in 1882 by Knyaz Alexander I Battenberg. Actually, the construction started in 1904 and was completed in 1912, and the consecration took place in 1924. Russian architect A. Pomerantsev stood at the lead of the architectural team, while a total of 24 Russian and Bulgarian artists made the murals and the mosaics decoration. The facades were clad in stone from Vratsa Region, while marble from Sienna and Carrara, onyx from Brazil, alabaster, and other precious minerals were used for the interior setting. The Museum of Christian Art is housed in the Crypt of the St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. In the Crypt of the cathedral there is a permanent exhibition of iconographic patterns from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance which have been collected from various parts of Bulgaria.

7. Ivan Vazov’s grave

The grave of the classic Ivan Vazov, Bulgarian poet and writer, is just beside St Sophia Basilica.

8. The Monument to the Unknown Warrior

The Monument to the Unknown Warrior is located just next to the Church of St Sophia. Commissioned to architect Nikola Nikolov and sculptor Lyubomir Dimitrov, it was unveiled in 1981 to celebrate 1300 years since the establishment of the Bulgarian state. The monument also features a lion chiseled out by sculptor Andrey Nikolov in 1933 as the symbol of the Bulgarian state and its courageous warriors.

9. St. Sofia church

Saint Sophia and saint George are the oldest churches in Sofia, dating back from Roman times. Saint Sophia church is a cross-domed, three-nave basilica with narthex and a three-wall apse. A one-of-a-kind underground museum lies beneath St Sophia Basilica, which exhibits burial works from the Eastern necropolis of the ancient city of Serdica and remains of three earlier churches. The archeological level of “St. Sophia” is a branch of The Regional History Museum Sofia.

10. Monument to Tsar Samuil

The monument was unveiled on June 8, 2015. This is the first monument in Sofia dedicated to a medieval Bulgarian ruler. Tsar Samuil ruled over Bulgaria from 997 till 1014. The statue of the monument is made of bronze and is 3.70 m high. It is placed on a 2 m high pedestal The statue weights nearly a ton and a half and is made of melted cartridge cases.

11. Monument to the Bulgarian volunteers

The monument to the Bulgarian Voluntary Army units. The most famous action of the units was their participation in the battles fought over Shipka and Stara Zagora, during the Russi­an-Turkish War of Liberation (1877–1878).

12. Amphitheater

The amphitheater, uncovered in most recent years, was one of the most imposing buildings in Serdica at the tail-end of the 3rd century. The amphitheater was erected to the east of the city’s fortified wall over the foundations of a pre-dating theatre to the south of the road, taking its course out of the East city gate. It had a large arena and tiers of seats only on the south side, benefiting from a natural hill slope.

13. The Eastern gate of Serdica

The insecurity arising from barbarian incursions over 4th–5th centuries AD prompted a reinforcement of Serdica’s fortification system. The city core, within the range of the early wall, was totally re-fortified. The existing wall was encompassed with a closely adjoined new one, built of bricks on a quadratic plinth. On the frontage it had triangular projecting turrets, while the east and west city gates were reinforced with pentagonal turrets. The layout of the two gates can be viewed in the underpass to the Presidency building and to the west of George Washington Street.

14. Largo place

The Largo is formed by the buildings of the Рresident’s Office, the building of the Council of Ministers, the building of the National Assembly, the building of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the building of the Central Universal Store (TSUM).

15. Church of St Petka

The church is a small single-nave building, partly dug into the ground. The lies an ancient religious place beneath it where old Roman tombs have been found. The church was first mentioned in the 16th century and was constructed at the place of a former Roman religious building. It is today a monument of culture known for its mural paintings from the 14th, 15th, 17th and 19th centuries depicting biblical scenes. The church is dedicated to St Petka, an 11th century Bulgarian saint. The Church of Saint Petka acquired its present name due to the saint being a patron of the saddlers in the Middle Ages, who performed their rituals in the church.

16. Serdica Ancient Complex-I

Serdica Ancient cultural and communicative complex is located in the ideal city center of Sofia and covers an area of 16 000 sq m. It is divided into two zones with different purposes. Serdica ACCC incorporates spaces with various purposes, divided into two zones. The Largo zone, located under "Nezavisimost" square, is intended for organizing different cultural and social events. There is an exhibition and seminar hall under the domes.

17. Serdica Ancient Complex-II

Serdica Ancient cultural and communicative complex - Archaeological Exhibition “Ancient Serdica”. In the “Archaeological remains" zone under “Maria Luisa” boulevard parts of the ancient street can be seen, as well as cult and residential buildings, water supply and sewerage systems, inner courtyards and other aspects of the Roman city of Serdica. This zone also includes the archaeological exhibition "Ancient Serdica", where visitors may see multimedia elements, information panels and display cases with artifacts, discovered during the archaeological excavations of the site. There is also an information and educational center where certified pedagogues lead workshops and educational programmes for children between 5 and 12 years.

18. Banya Bashi Mosque

The mosque was built in 1566-1567 after the project of Mimar Sinan, the most eminent architect in the history of Ottoman Empire. The walls were made of ashlars, the stone rows alternated with lines of red bricks. The central cupola was paneled with lead sheets.

19. Triangle tower

The Triangular Tower of Serdica with its corresponding gallery space is a branch of Regional History Museum – Sofia.

20. Synagogue

Sofia Synagogue is the third biggest synagogue in Europe. The construction was accomplished in 1909 after the design of Friederich Grunanger, the royal court architect. The building is a masterpiece of architecture and a brilliant synthesis of Moresque and Byzantine style. The gorgeous interior is the work of Haralambi Tachev.

21. Catholic Cathedral

The year 1878 saw the construction of a small church, built thanks to donations by Emperor Franz Joseph II of Austria. In 1994 it was destroyed by the Allied bombing raids. The funds raised for its restoration disappeared during the Communist regime. On his visit to Sofia in 2002, Pope John Paul II blessed the foundation stone of the new Cathedral. The construction was finalized after the design of architects K. Peev and S. Yanev, and the consecration took place in 2006. The cathedral features an organ and is the biggest Roman Catholic cathedral in Bulgaria. In front of the cathedral is the statue of the Blessed Pope John XXIII, consecrated also by Pope John Paul II.

22. Statue of Sofia

Its making was assigned on the occasion of the new millennium and was the deed of sculptor Georgi Chapkanov. Since 2000 the statue has been rising on one of the key sites in the capital city. It figures a young woman with a crown in the form of a fortress, holding a laurel wreath in her right hand, and an owlet, the symbol of wisdom, in her left hand.

23. Church St. George

St George Rotunda is the most ancient preserved Roman building in the city. It is part of an ancient building complex, built during the time of Constantine I the Great (306-337) in the beginning of the 4th century. It is accepted that during the Early-Christian Age it served as a baptisterium. It was transformed into a church in 6th century during the reign of Justinian the Great (527-565) and painted for the first time. Several layers of frescoes from different periods were found during the restoration of the interior. One of them has kept the image of an angel from 9th century, with an exceptionally inspired human form, which makes it unique.

24. The President’s Office

The building of the President’s Office was built in 1956 as part of the Largo complex. Guards of honour stand in front of the door to President’s office.

25. Art Club Museum