Alexander Nevski church
The main focus of attraction in the city...actually sofia doesnt offer so much to do or to see...perhaps around vitosha boulevard there is something to see cos is just the downtown...
This church is 10 min eastern from this center...crossin sofia city garden you can take a huge boulevard (Tsar Osvoditel) where there is huge comunist buildings and some churches... after 5 minutes turning left you will see the huge chatedral in white and green ...
The Bulgarian language belongs to the Slavic linguistic group and is written in the Cyrillic alphabet. So if you can't read Cyrillic letters it will probably be a bit difficult to navigate through the city.
Almost all street signs as well as information about transport at bus stops or at the train station are in Bulgarian only.
As good news, the restaurants we visited had an English menu available. Nevertheless, I think it is definitely helpful if you can read Cyrillic letters when travelling through Bulgaria.
Vasilovden (St Basil) 1 January
On Vasilovden the ritual of 'survakane' takes place. This is one of the few traditional rituals which have made their place in the modern lifestyles. It is performed by children and is very popular (this is when they receive their new year's presents).
The "survakane' is a ritual tapping on the back with a stick. The sticks must be made of cornel-tree (a bush, actually) and decorated with popcorn, dried fruits and coloured treads.
While the child taps with the stick, he or she says (some variation of):
"Let the year be blessed and joyous,
with green grain on the fields,
big grape on the vine,
yellow cob on the corn,
red apple in the orchard,
full house of silk;
be healthy and merry
til next year and forever!"
Everyone repeats 'til next year and forever" ("dogodina do amina").
Often even little children who cannot hold the survachka themselves or cannot talk, are helped by their parents or older siblings. Kids and parents, or more often grandparents, make the "survachka" themselves, even though you can buy one too.
Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of one myself, so I looked up the web, and found this one.
On this day celebrate Vasil, Vasila, Vasilka, Veselina, Veselka.
Plodiv is exactly 1 1/2 hours north of Sofia. Go for the day. My lonely Planet was right- you haven't seen Bulgaria unless you have been to Plovdiv. Be sure to go to the Ethnographical Museum and have a cappaccino at one of the cafe overlooking Plodiv proper.
The Book Market
Spread on Slaveikov Square is the biggest book market in Sofia. You can find here books in english , french and other languages ,maps of all kinds from Bulgaria, magazines, dictionnaries, Pirate and licensed software programms and games,music cd's ...