7 Reasons Instagram Loves Sofia
Aleksander Nevski Cathedral
Designed by Russian architect Alexander Pomerantsev, Aleksander Nevski Cathedral was built between 1882 and 1912 in memory of the 200,000 Russian soldiers who died fighting for Bulgaria’s independence during the Russo-Turkish War. The cathedral has become a symbol not only for Sofia, but for Bulgaria as a whole. To this day, the church is still used for Orthodox services and visitors are welcome inside to marvel at the murals, chandeliers and thrones that are just as impressive as the building’s exterior.
Located close to the famous Boyana Church, Zlatnite Mostove is a cluster of huge boulders that date back to the Ice Age. Its name which translates as ‘golden bridges’, refers to the colour of lichen that covers the stone. With its beautiful setting on the slopes of Mount Vitosha, it’s easy to see why day-trippers and hikers flock here during the summer months.
Museum of Socialist Art
It’s well worth trekking to the Ministry of Culture building in the Iztok suburb to see this graveyard of communist art. From unwanted statues of Lenin to a gallery of soviet propaganda and film, there’s a treasure trove of brilliantly bizarre material waiting to be captured on Instagram.
Rakia Raketa Bar
Where better to sample (and snap pics of) the potent, national drink of Bulgaria than at Raketa Rakia Bar? Along with its catchy name and trendy interiors, this lively bar serves up some of the best varieties of rakia that Sofia has to offer. Tip: don’t attempt to try rakia on an empty stomach – some varieties of the spirit are 65% alcohol.
Situated around 8km to the southwest of Sofia, Boyana Church is one of Bulgaria’s most popular attractions. Dating back to medieval times, the tiny church is most famous for its beautiful 13th-century frescoes, portraying biblical stories and the lives of the saints. Boyana is one of nine Bulgarian cultural monuments included on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Although photos are permitted outside, admission inside is restricted to just 10 minutes in the company of a guide.
Vitosha Nature Park
Mount Vitosha is a year-round source of inspiration for photographers. From sunset photos of summer hikes to snowy antics on the ski runs, the mountain and its national park is an instagrammer’s dream.
The Snail House
Roman ruins: Tick. Medieval fortresses: Tick: Neoclassicism: Tick. Socialist-era apartment blocks: Tick. Snail: Tick. Sofia is home to the ultimate mish-mash of architectural styles, but none is more intriguing than the so-called Snail House. Opened to the public in 2009, The Snail House was designed by local architect Simeon Simeonov, who also painted its outer shell all the colours of the rainbow to ensure that it would stand out in the neighbourhood. The five-storey building took around 10 years to complete and is now one of the most instagrammed buildings in the city.
For further information on getting to and from Sofia check out Sofia Airport’s website.