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Stauropegial cathedral “St. Alexander Nevski”

One of the places which are claimed to be hallmark of Sofia city is the cathedral St Alexander Nevsky, which is the center of the Bulgarian Orthodox Patriarchy.The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral can be easily recognized in the background of nearly all pictures, depicting the centre of Sofia as with its golden-plated doom, it dominates the horizon of Sofia city. If you are in the airplane and the sky is clear, the temple stands out from the other landmarks due to its unique architecture and majesty. If you are strolling the center of Sofia in a sunny day,the light glinting off the domes can catch your eye from every corner of the city, and even as far away as the Mountain Vitosha. However, this enormous cathedral is established about 1500 years later after St. Sofia church. The Alexander Nevski Cathedral is one of the buildings which deservedly vie for being Sofia’s emblem.

First of all, you will be definitely amazed once you have seen the impressive edifice of St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral and Memorial Church. It was built in memory of the Russia’s 19th century contribution to Bulgaria’s Liberation. In Bulgaria’s capital city, as everywhere in the country, there are a lot of monuments of the fallen Russian soldiers and Russian churches which were built in the beginning of the 20th century, because Bulgarians wished to express their deep national gratitude.
The temple was completed in 1912 after the original design of the Russian architect Pomerantsev had been approved by the First Great National Assembly. Pomarantsev and other Russian architects have been inspired by the glory of the ancient Byzantium, so they have implemented their ideas into the overall design of the today’s temple. The unique of its kind Alexander Nevski Cathedral has become Sofia’s visual trademark ever since its completion.

The interior of the cathedral is just as splendid in terms of materials / Italian marble, Brazilian onyx, African alabaster, frescoes/ and craftsmanship. The altar and the patriarch’s throne are cut of multi-coloured Italian marble. The interior of the temple is rather dark, however, enhancing the mystical atmosphere, but thus making it hard to appreciate all of the unique murals that cover its walls. The God Father is excellently depicted in the dome, but only the golden halos of the saint really stand out against the prevailing darkened ambience.

13 Bulgarian and 32 Russian and Czech masters made the unique wood-carvings and ornaments, cut into the stone bas-reliefs. In addition, craftsmen and artists from six countries worked on the five-aisle church in the course of 30 years and thus created real masterpieces-icons, frescoes, murals and huge chandeliers.
The belfry rises to a height of 50.5m and the central dome is gold-plated with a massive gold cross on the top.
Decorated from floor to ceiling with impressive frescoes and illuminated by flickering candles, the interior of the temple is interesting and it provides a tranquil ambience as you enter.

St. Alexander Nevski Crypt - Icon Museum

In the crypt of the cathedral, to the left of the main entrance is located the Icon Museum. The underground crypt of Alexander Nevski has an impressive collection of icons. The exposition opened in 1964 and features icons from across Bulgaria which are among the 9th -18th century masterpieces in the Balkans.
Actually, Bulgarian icons have always fascinated people, evoking profound respect and admiration. All expositions abroad /Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Munich, Berlin, Warsaw, Moscow, Venice, Havana, Delhi, Tokyo/ provoked great interest of people and had stunning success.

The cathedral of “St. Alexander Nevski” is one of the symbols of Sofia. It is the largest church-monument on the Balkan peninsula.
Behind it is situated the building of the National Assembly, and next to it is the Bulgarian Academy of Science. At the left side of the cathedral is the “Holly Synod”. A really remarkable place also is the square around the cathedral, where the Memorial of the Unknown Soldier and the Eternal flame are situated.

Working time of “St. Alexander Nevski” cathedral:
• 7.00 – 17.30
(No day off)

Working time of the Museum:
• 10.00 – 18.00
(Day off: Tuesday)

St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral on the map of Sofia

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