Sofia has a history that goes back thousands of years. Through the centuries, many nations have inhabited it and added to its rich and diverse history. Numerous Neolithic villages have been discovered in the area, while a chalocolithic settlement has been recently discovered in the very centre of modern Sofia.

The Thracian Serdi tribe settled here in the 7th century BC and gave the first recorded name of Sofia — Serdica. The Byzantines called it Triaditsa and the Slavs – Sredets. The modern city of Sofia was named in the 14th century after the basilica St. Sofia. (In Greek, the word “sofia” means wisdom.) In the 3rd century AD, the Romans built strong walls around Serdica, their capital of Inner Dacia and an important stopping point on the Roman road from Naisus (present Nish, Yugoslavia) to Constantinople.

Today there are many archaeological sites in Sofia, that display the city’s diverse history – the castle gates and towers of Serdica, public buildings and streets thousands of years old. A large part of the ancient city of Serdica is underneath important modern buildings. The ancient city council (bulefteris) is hidden under the Sheraton hotel, while a number of basilicas are below the Hall of Justice. The Roman thermal baths are under the Sofia Mineral Baths and a Roman residence with elaborate mosaics is below the Rila hotel.

With the establishment of the Third Bulgarian Empire in 1879, Sofia once again became the capital of Bulgaria. The city’s image rapidly changed from its Oriental roots, to reflect its new European tone. Today many streets, buildings, parks, and even whole neighbourhoods preserve the architectural style from the turn of the century.  Today, Sofia is home to over 1,250,000 people.

 

For more information, visit Official Sofia Site