St. Sofia Church
There is no charge to enter St. Sofia Church but you do have to pay to visit the museum below. While you don’t need a guide to appreciate the atmospheric tombs or the Byzantine basilica with its glistening Bulgarian Orthodox icons, history buffs might appreciate the additional context a guide can provide.
St. Sofia Church is a less popular stop on Sofia walking tours and city tours than more-photogenic structures such as the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral or the Church of St. George, but a few do pass by.
Things to Know Before You Go
St. Sofia Church is a must for history buffs and fans of Byzantine architecture.
St. Sofia is an active place of worship. Dress respectfully, covering shoulders and thighs, and avoid entering to sightsee when services are in progress.
The necropolis is less eerie than many catacombs. Most children will be fine to visit.
While the church has a wheelchair ramp, there is no disabled access to the underground museum.
How to Get There
St. Sofia Church stands right in the heart of downtown Sofia, about half a mile (1 kilometer) east of the Serdica ruins and within a stone’s throw of Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Many visit as part of a self-guided walking tour around the city center. If traveling by metro, the church is under 10 minutes’ walk from Sofiiski Universitet (Sofia University).
When to Get There
St. Sofia Church is open from morning to early evening between March and September, but closes in the late afternoon between October and February. The underground museum is open from morning to late afternoon between Tuesday and Sunday. Unless worship is part of your plan, avoid visiting on a Sunday. You’ll find the museum at its quietest midweek.
The Other St. Sofia
The name “Sophia” (or “Sofia”) means “wisdom,” and the most famous church with the name is Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia. The Bulgarian capital’s St. Sofia Church dates back to the same era as the Hagia Sophia—the reign of the Roman emperor Justinian—and is devoted to the same concept of divine wisdom, rather than any of the several Christian saints named Sophia. In the 14th century, it gave its name to the city.
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- Amphitheater of Serdica
- Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
- Sofia National Gallery
- Sofia National Gallery (Kvadrat 500)
- Sofia National Archaeological Museum
- Ivan Vazov National Theatre
- Sofia Church of St. George (St. George Rotunda)
- Central Sofia Market Hall (Halite)
- Sofia Synagogue
- Monument to the Soviet Army
- Vitosha Boulevard (Vitoshka)
- Bulgarian National Museum of Military History
- Museum of Socialist Art
- Sofia National History Museum
- Boyana Church