Brief History of Sofia

Sofia is one of the oldest cities in Europe with remains of prehistoric settlements dating back 7000 years. The original Thracian city which dates back to 700 BC grew up alongside local mineral springs which are still renowned today. From the 1st to the 4th centuries AD it was the Roman town of Serdica named after the Serdi tribe which inhabited the region. Destroyed by the Huns in 447 it was later rebuilt by Justinian I, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire, later to be known as the Byzantine Empire. Sofia became part of the First Bulgarian Empire in the 9th century and took the Bulgarian name of Sredets until it fell once again to the Byzantine Empire. The town grew and prospered from the 12th to the 14th centuries becoming a thriving craft and trading centre. It was in this period that the city took the name of Sofia from its oldest church (Sophia Hagia Church built during the time of Justinian I). Towards the end of the 14th century it was seized by the Ottoman Empire and became the capital of the Ottoman province of Rumelia. In 1878 the city was liberated by the Russians after which it became the capital of the Principality of Bulgaria in 1879.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Bulgaria's subsequent entry into the European Union the city has blossomed into the lively capital it is today.

Sofia's historical highlights
  • First settlements alongside mineral springs
  • Ruled in antiquity by Alexander the Great
  • First Roman city in which christianity was recognised as a religion
  • Once the cultural centre of Slavic Europe
  • Oldest building St. Georges Rotunda (4th Century AD)
  • More resort guides
Sofia hotels

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