It was a Friday afternoon, and a group of European Facility Managers made a visit to the Cathedral. I think it was fair to say that most of the delegates were from northern Europe, and were not from the Orthodox rite. However, we did feel suitably impressed and our religious needs were satisfied.
The St Alexander Nevski of Sofia is one of the largest Orthodox Cathedral in the world. I was impressive from the outside, and I have to admit that I was very much more impressed by the interior. Sadly with all such religious facilities, there is a need for much work to maintain the interiors and this seems to be ongoing here with some areas very clean and bright whilst other parts needing much restoration.
The cathedral is fairly new, it was constructed between 1908 and 1912, and consecrated soon after that date. It can hold 10,000 worshippers and was declared a national cultural icon and monument in 1924.
We were told that the gold on the domes, is in fact real gold! In total it weighs some 8kg and is in fact very fine gold leaf. I am unsure how true that is, but our guide seemed quite serious.
On our visit, there was one attendant who did seem a little harried by the tourists. He spent a great deal of time advising people not to take photographs; mostly by waving his hands at them.
There are a number of kiosks in the cathedral entrance, so postcards, icons and candles can be purchased by all visitors. In the crypt, there is an art museum, which is claimed to hold the largest collection of religious icons in the world.
This is really the place not to miss if you are in Sofia even for a couple of hours. The cathedral is really impressive from outside and Inside.
Any major city has a good number of impressive churches. Sofia has fewer than most. But this cathedral is well worth a visit. Surround by houses, it's huge gold dome really stands out. Inside is a rare glimpse of Bulgaria's past.
In underground floor of Alexander Nevski Cathedral is the crypt where chronologically arranged about 300 exhibits, mostly icons, as well as fragments of wall paintings and prints. The exhibits date from the IX century to the end of XIX century collection is the most representative one, revealing the development of iconography in Bulgarian lands.
Nearby you have also some painting and souvenirs ! Make sure you vsit the ladies with their stalls nearby selling delightful hand - made craft work
The Bulgarian-Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (Hram-pametnik Sveti Aleksandar Nevski) is probably Sofia's main landmark. The cathedral was built in Neo-Byzantine style and completed in the early 20th century.
Its size is impressive both from the outside and the inside, where it can host up to 5000 people. The 45 m high cathedral is also well worth a visit at night when the outside is impressively illuminated.
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is located at the square pl. Alexander Nevsky right in the heart of Sofia's city centre.
Address: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, pl. Alexander Nevsky, Sofia
St Aleksander Nevski Cathedral (Sveti Aleksandar Nevski) is the most popular church/site among the visitors. It’s a huge bulgarian orthodox cathedral, the second biggest in the Balkans after the one in Belgrade.
It was built in 1912 by russian architect Pomerantsev in neo-byzantine style, a typical cross-domed basilica that took 30 years to complete. The gold-plated dome goes up to 45 meters while the massive bell tower is 53 meters high. Impressive for sure, we took several photos from many angles before we decide to go inside...
Once inside we were impressed by the size (it has a capacity of 10,000 people) but we felt a bit dissapointed of the dark decoration (it has to do with the thousands of candles of course) which was hard to enjoy, not a chance to take a good picture anyway (which isnt allowed anyway).
The cathedral was created in honour of the russian soldiers that died during the Russo Turkish War (1877-78) that helped Bulgaria get liberated from the ottomans. The central altar is dedicated to St Aleksander Nevski (there’s a case with relics of him next to the altar), the patron saint of the Tsar Alexander II while other parts are named after Saints Cyril and Methodious (that created the cyrillic alphabet) and after St Boris (the man who brought christianity to Bulgaria)
There are numerous icons and frescoes made by several different artists. We didnt notice any locals inside so we didnt really “feel” the cathedral, we checked some details (for examble some huge chandeliers) and left the cathedral.
There is a small door on the left where you get into the crypt of the cathedral and houses a museum with bulgarian religious icons. There’s a small fee though for that because “it’s not a church here” as the man on the door clearly told us :)
The Yellow Pavement Area is the most beautiful part of Sofia . It's called like this because the streets are all covered with yellow stones . You will find here The Sofia University "Kliment Ohridski",The "Alexander Nevski" cathedral , The Parliament , Embassies, The Military club and Chervilo, The Russian Church, The National Art gallery ,the Archeologic Museum, The Presidency, The National Assembly, The St George Rotonda, The ruins of Serdika, Sheraton hotel , Tzum and the Statue of Sofia with the Metro Station.
If you have only a short time to visit in Sofia - this is where you should go
Историята на жълтите павета
"Как се е появил този керамичен паваж в центъра на столицата?
През годините са публикувани неверни сведения,
свързани с княгиня Елеонора Каролина Гаспарина Луиза,
принцеса фон Ройс цу Шлайц-Кьостриц
и втора съпруга на Фердинанд I Български от 28.02.1908 г.,
впоследствие Царица Елеонора.
"един вид подарък за сватбата на българския княз Фердинанд с госпожа Елеонора ...
а жълтите павета по "Цар Освободител" са били зестрата на княгиня Елеонора, втората съпруга на Фердинанд"
Sofia's skyline's dominated by the gold domes of the Aleksander Nevski Memorial Church.
This most photographed monument was built in honour of the Russian Tzar Alexander II, 'Tzar Liberator', and the 200,000 Russians who died helping to liberate Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire during the 1877-1878 Russian-Turkish War. It was named after St. Aleksander Nevski, the patron saint of the Tzar and his family. The central altar's dedicated to him, whereas the southern and northern altars are dedicated to St Boris, who brought Christianity to Bulgaria, and to Saints Cyril and Methodius, who created the Cyrillic alphabet.
The Russian architect Pomerantsev designed this monumental building that took 30 years (1882-1912) to be completed. Inside, you can admire real masterpieces of icons, frescoes, huge chandeliers and murals that 45 Russian, Czech and Bulgarian artists worked on.
Opening hours: 7.00-18.00
This magnificent building with its gilt domes was the highlight of my trip to Sofia. It looks stunning either bathed in sunlight or lit up at night. The church was built between 1882-1924 to commemorate the Russian contribution to Bulgaria's War of Liberation 1877-1878. It's named after a famous medieval Russian ruler.
The interior is decorated with frescoes which are lit up by hundreds of candles. It also contains a marble, onyx and alabaster iconastis. Beneath the church is the crypt. Here you'll find a gallery full of religious icons from the 12th to the 19th century. The admission to the crypt was 6 leva. Both the church and crypt are fascinating places to explore, my only regret was that photography is not allowed in either.
This is almost the gem of Sofia.
The cathedral is huge, and breathtaking.
The artwork inside has to be seen for yourself.
Well worth a visit and a browse.
ps - don't miss the Icon Exhibition in the Crypt either.
Undoubtedly the most spectacular building in Sofia, a neo Byzantine style typical of Russian churces in the 19th centruy. It was built between 1882 and 1912 and said to have a capacity of up to 7,000 people. It was named after St. Alexander Nevski, a Russian Tsar who saved Russia from invading Swedish troops in 1240. He became the patron saint of Tsar Alexander II.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was built in Neo-Byzantine style. The construction of the cathedral started in 1882, but it was finished between 1904 and 1912 in honour to the Russian soldiers who died during the Russo-Turkish War to liberate Bulgaria from Ottoman rule. The cathedral is a cross-domed basilica. The gold plated dome is 45 m high. The interior is decorated with Italian marble in different colours.
Visit this cathedral if you have a chance, it's very beautiful.
The Crypt of the Al. Nevski Cathedral features the National Art Gallery's storage room for ancient art work. You can visit these paintings any day other than Monday and they do provide a good idea of the earlier eras of Bulgarian religious painting. There is a sizable collection with some quite good examples. The only problem is that there is extremely limited explanation of anything but the most basic information in English, so be prepared to be in the dark about the stories behind these paintings. There are a few paintings where there was quite a long write-up in Bulgarian about the biography of the artist, but nothing was given in any other language.
Alexander Nevsky must be one of the most beautiful churches in all of Eastern Europe and its slightly ironic that one of Sofia's most recognizable landmarks was in fact built to honour Russian soldiers. The Cathedral was constructed in honour of the Tsarist soldiers who helped to liberate Bulgaria from Ottoman rule between 1877 and 1878. It is one of a collection of such monuments all over the capital. The church has two golden domes, one large central one and a smaller one towards the front. The remaining domes are green. The outside has some splendid icon friezes and mosaics, but none compare to the incredible icons on the interior of the church. Unfortunately, photography is not permitted inside Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, so you will have to settle for some of the postcards and books sold in the giftshop. On the right and left-hand sides of the church there are memorials to the Russian, Ukrainian, Moldavian, Romanian and Finnish soldiers who died in the campaign as well as icons and candelabras. Be extra respectful in these areas as many Bulgarians will come to light candles and pray here. The massive altar in the centre of the cathedral is better for gazing and provides you with a better 360 view of the interior.
Alexander Nevski Cathedral is one of the most important site to visit which represents the central Patriarch’s cathedral of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. The cathedral was finished in 1912 after the balkan war .The square around the cathedral is also a popular sight for its Monument to the Unknown Soldier where an eternal flame burns.Very near The St Sofia Church, dating back to the 4-6th century AC but restored and open to visitors, also stands out in the same square. Sofia University and National Library is also at the same square
The Crypt is an icon museum. It is located in Alexander Nevski Cathedral, the entry is next to the main entry of the cathedral.
I put this as a separate tip from the one reg. Alexander Nevski Cathedral, because the icon museum shows the Bulgarian middle-age art, and it is a branch of the National Art Gallery.
You may see icons from the 9th to the 19th century, collected from different parts of Bulgaria - for example: Rila monastery, Bachkovo monastery, churches in Nessebar, etc.
Since taking pictures is not allowed inside the crypt (officially, although I saw people taking pictures inside), I put in this tip photos done in the National Museum of History (so, the icons are different, but I think you may have an idea what to expect).
Entrance fee: 4lv; Working time: 10-18h, mondays: closed
A hint: there is a combined ticket for both National Art Gallery and The Crypt - 6lv.
To me it is the most famous landmark of Sofia.
Built between 1882 and 1912, by architect Pomerantsev, in neo Byzantine style, in honour of the Russian king Alexander II and the Russian soldiers liberated Bulgaria from Ottoman yoke as a result of the Russian-Turkish war 1887-1888.
Since taking pictures is not allowed inside visit this page to have a look.
Do not miss the Crypt (the icons museum) located in the Alexander Nevski Cathedral (there is a separate entrance, next to the main entrance of the cathedral)