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The St.Sofia Church- the second oldest Eastern Orthodox church in Sofia

The St. Sofia church gave the present name of Bulgaria’s capital city/ means "holy wisdom" / in the late 14th century. The church was originally built on the site of several earlier churches, dating back to the period, when it was the necropolis of the Roman town Serdica, named after the Thracian tribe Serdii who inhabited the region due to the abundance of mineral springs.
The 4th-6th basilica was established during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian.
St.Sofia is the second oldest Eastern Orthodox church in Sofia with a long and fascinating history. In fact, it is a recently restored Byzantine church /it dates back to the 4th-6th century/.
During 2d century there was a Roman theater. In the next centuries several temples were successively made there. After 809 year when Khan Krum included Sredets in the territory of Bulgaria, the temple was used as a city church and as the usual place for funerals due to the proximity of the city necropolis. During the Second Bulgarian Kingdom ( 12th – 14th century ) the building acquires the status of metropolitan cathedral church. After the Ottoman invasion the basilica was turned into a mosque and hence the unique frescoes were obliterated and minarets were raised instead. However, soon after the Liberation it was again sanctified as an Orthodox church. The church has been rebuilt many times since it was abandoned when an earthquake caused its closure so as to ensure the safety of its visitors. The first major restoration and reconstruction of the temple was completed in 1930. On the 21st of September 1930 the church was sanctified. In 1955 the temple was declared as a monument of cultural heritage.
Having been restored, the church is open to visitors. The present building is a cross basilica with three altars. Today the church has no steeple.

The ancient chapel has remained intact with 1600-eyar-old mosaic details. St. Sofia church is now considered one of the most valuable pieces of the early Christian architecture in the Balkans and therefore it attract many visitors.
Unfortunately, only a few of the frescoes have been preserved till nowadays, but some rare and unique icons can be still seen in the church.
The patterned brickwork provides the interior with captivating overall appearance. A fragment of the original Roman mosaic flooring, preserved under a pane of glass in the right-hand aisle, stands for testimony to the church’s ancient provenance.
At the present time the basilica St. Sofia is one of the most significant architectural values of the early Christianity preserved in Southeast Europe. The main official Memorial of the Republic of Bulgaria - The Monument of the Unknown Soldier ( "Eternal fire" ) is built on the south facade of the holy shrine.

St. Sofia church- ancient Eastern Orthodox church in Sofia on the map of Sofia

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