One of the most well-known landmarks in Sofia, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was built to commemorate the 200,000 Russian soldiers who died in the Russo-Turkish War, fighting for Bulgaria’s independence. Completed in 1924, it was named after a medieval Russian ruler, Prince Alexander Nevsky of Novgorod, and modeled after Russian neo-Byzantine churches.
The exterior of the cathedral is made of pale Bulgarian limestone, and it is topped with gold-plated domes. Inside, you will find hundreds of flickering candles illuminating a decadent interior. Look for the Mosaic of Christ, Tsar Ferdinand’s throne, the iconostasis made of marble, onyx and alabaster and the many frescoes covering the church’s dome.
Head down to the crypt to visit the cathedral’s Icon gallery, which features icons from 12th through 19th centuries and boasts the most impressive collection of religious art in Bulgaria.
Alexander Nevksy Cathedral is open daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. between November and February and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. between March and October. Admission is free. The crypt is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays, and admission is 6 lev for adults. The cathedral is within easy walking distance from the center of Sofia and near the Sveti Kliment Ohridski Metro station. It can also be reached by bus numbers 9, 280 or 306 and by trolleys 1, 2, 4, 9 and 11.