Built in 1907 by Viennese architects, the Ivan Vazov National Theater in Sofia is the oldest and largest theater in Bulgaria. Facing Sofia’s City Garden, it is home to Bulgaria’s leading drama company and hosts performances of both Bulgarian and international classics. Topped by a pediment that features a relief of Apollo surrounded by reclining muses, the theater’s colonnaded façade can be seen on 50 lev bank notes that were issued in 1999 and 2006. The towers behind the pediment are topped with sculptures of the goddess Nike.
Built in a neo-Classical style, the theater was soon named for the prominent Bulgarian writer, Ivan Vazov. It was reconstructed following fire damage in 1923 and again after sustaining damage from bombing during World War II. The most recent restoration occurred in 2000, although throughout the years the exterior has remained largely the same. Given its location adjacent to the City Garden, the theater is a popular meeting spot for locals and visitors alike.
The ticket office for the Ivan Vazov National Theater is open from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays & Sundays. The theater’s main stage has 750 seats, while a smaller stage seats 120 and yet another stage on the fourth floor seats 70.