Sofia’s landmark cathedral was built to commemorate the lives lost in the Russo-Turkish War. Named after a 13th-century Russian prince, the Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral is a fine example of neo-Byzantine architecture and one of Sofia’s most recognizable symbols. The decadent interior features iconoclasts made from marble and onyx, while the crypt boasts Bulgaria’s largest collection of religious art. The Basics
The iconic cathedral is included in most city tours, which typically cover St. Sofia Church and the National Parliament Building. Exploring the cathedral with a guide means that you’ll be party to architectural details that you may otherwise have missed, while after-dark excursions let you see the city at its most atmospheric. Art enthusiasts should put aside ample time to browse the National Gallery’s Museum of Christian Art, located in the crypt.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Entry is free, though there is a charge to take photographs.
- Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a must-see for anyone interested in Sofia’s history, culture, or religious art.
- There is a daily flea market on the square outside where you can pick up souvenirs.
- The cathedral has a entrance ramp for wheelchairs and strollers.
- Bear in mind the cathedral is an active place of worship for Sofia’s Orthodox community, so put the camera away during services.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is located in Sofia city center, close to St. Sophia Church and the Vasil Levski Monument. City tours typically offer hassle-free transfers; otherwise the cathedral is a 30-minute walk from Sofia Central and is equidistant from SU St. Kliment Ohridski and Serdika metro stations.
When to Get There
The cathedral opens daily and visitors are welcome to attend services. The crowds tend to build up during the day, so an early start ensures a more peaceful experience. At night, the cathedral’s exterior is illuminated, providing atmospheric photo opportunities.The Byzantine Revival
Based on elements of Classical Eastern design, neo-Byzantine architecture appeared in Western Europe in the mid-19th century, and became the dominant style in Russia under the tsar. Bulgaria also has its own much older relationship with Byzantium; visit attractions such as the UNESCO-listed Boyana Church to learn more about the cultural exchange that led to Bulgarian Orthodoxy.