The Saint Sofia Church is a very important architectural sight and the second oldest church in our capital. It is located in the center of Sofia between Moskovska and Oborishte Street. On the southern side of the basilica is erected the main memorial of the republic – The Monument of the Unknown Soldier. On the east side lies the tomb of Ivan Vazov – one of the best Bulgarian poets and novelists of the past, whose work has greatly influenced Bulgarian literature and language.
The church was built on the site of a Roman Theatre dating back to 2nd century among several older churches dating to the beginning of 4th century. In 6th century it was destroyed by invading forces such as the Goths and the Huns. In the middle of the same century the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I ordered the reconstruction of the church and then it was named after Saint Sophia.The name has been preserved till present day. According to popular lore, Saint Sophia’s miraculous powers have protected the building over the centuries, warding off human invasions and natural disasters.
The Saint Sofia church was turned into a mosque by the Turks during the 5-century Turkish yoke Bulgaria was under in the past but after the Liberation in 1878 it was reconstructed back into a church.
The Basilica is built over early Christian tombs dating back to 3rd and 4th century. You can see tomb pits, stone tombs, stone sarcophagi, as well as the typical late antiquity masonry tombs with semi-cylindrical vault.
You can also track the development of Christian temples throughout the centuries the walls of each are clearly distinctive. There are holographic plates with different images of objects found in the catacombs.