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Roman Rotunda “St. George”

Address: Sveta Nedelya square
Hidden away in a courtyard of the Presidency and the dainty Sheraton Hotel, amid remains of the ancient town of Serdica, rises the famous Roman Rotunda, a red-brick building transformed into the present day St. George Church. The Roman Rotunda /the church “St. George”/ is the oldest preserved structure which still serves its original purpose in the Sofia city. It was built in the 4th century by the Romans; however, it has been significantly changed since then.

What are really interesting to see, though, are the 12th-14th century frescoes inside the central dome. It has a powerful ensemble, with the Almighty Christ, looking down on the successive circles of white-bearded disciples and holy men. Having been obliterated during the Ottoman period (when the building was used as a mosque), these frescoes were unearthed in the 20th century. Actually three layers of frescoes have been discovered, the earliest dates back to the 10th century.
As the Roman Rotunda has been recently restored, it worth seeing due to its simple, but still exquisite architecture, remarkable remnants of frescoes and the entire complex of ruins behind the altar.
It is important to mention the ruins in the underpass opposite the Presidency, north of the Central Universal Store /TSUM/, are also rather impressive. Nowadays, the St. George church is the oldest Eastern European Orthodox church, as well as it is the second oldest building in the entire city with really dramatic history.

St. George Rotunda-the oldest Eastern European Orthodox church on the map of Sofia

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