Founded seven thousand years ago, Sofia is the second oldest city in Europe. It has been given several names in the course of history and the remnants of the old cities can still be seen today. Serdika was the name of the central dwelling of the ancient Thracian tribe known as “Serdi”. It bore that name when it became part of the Bulgarian state at the beginning of the ninth century and was soon recognised as one of the most important feudal towns, acquiring the Slavic name Sredets. 

Near Sofia lies Boyana church, which is one of the most valuable memorials of Bulgarian and European culture. The church boasts frescoes, acclaimed by specialists as “the best examples of eastern mediaeval art during its twelve century history”. The decline of Sofia during the Ottoman Empire was followed by the rejuvenation after the liberation in 1879, when Sofia was chosen as the capital of Bulgaria at the First National Constituent Assembly. The plans of 1881-1882 were followed by a brisk and straight-forward period of construction.

Today the population of Sofia is 1 million and 291 thousand people. The capital includes 24 administrative and territorial districts and 34 mayor-led councils.

Sofia in figures - 2010

    • Territory - 1349 sq km
    • Height above the sea level - 550 m
    • Population –1 259 446
    • Natural increase rate of the population (per 1 000 persons)– 0.1
    • Mortality rate - Total (per 100 000 population)– 1 179.5
    • Population density – 933,6 people per sq km
    • Buildings (number) – 98152
    • Dwellings (number) - 536629

Sofia – candidate for European Capital of Culture 2019

According to Decision 1622/2006g/EO Italy and Bulgaria are invited to nominate cities (one per country) that will receive the title of European Capital of Culture for 2019 The initiative “European Capital of Culture” is one of the most prestigious and popular European cultural events and is designed to help bring European nations together. 

The initiative “European Capitals of Culture” can make a valuable contribution to social inclusion and intercultural dialogue. The candidature of the city of Sofia for European Capital of Culture 2019 is a lifetime opportunity to promote our city in the European and international cultural scene and to create better life for our citizens, businesses and international visitors.