More and more cities around the world are recognizing creativity as an essential part of their image and are placing it at the centre of their development strategies. Motivated by the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), urban areas are increasingly determined to regenerate themselves and to promote cultural diversity. Sofia, a true symbol of Bulgarian pride, and also a candidate for European Capital of Culture for 2019, is one of UCCN’s prominent members.
Situated in Western Bulgaria, at the foot of the Vitosha Mountain, Sofia has been capital of Bulgaria for 131 years. A crossroad of various cultures and religions, this amazing place is the hometown of attractions, which are true embodiment of creative talent:
The National Palace of Culture (NDK)
Photo credit: Sofia through the lens
The National Palace of Culture is situated in the centre of Sofia, and is one of the largest conference and exhibition facilities in South-Eastern Europe. It hosts a variety of events every month, including meetings, festivals, concerts, and art events. Moreover, NDK is surrounded by a beautiful park area where street musicians often play, while people are enjoying the sun with chilled beers in hands and joyful thoughts in mind.
National History Museum
Photo credit: National History Museum
Undoubtedly, history is such a crucial part of a nation’s formation and mindset that history museums being at the top five of the must-sees of every large touristic city comes as no surprise. However, what makes the National History Museum in Sofia distinctive are its unique spirit and energy permeated in the artefacts left by all the different cultures which have crossed Bulgaria. A quick tour of the museum will help you learn about the rich heritage of the country from antiquity to present days. Collections of coins, folk costumes, and famous Bulgarian treasures, such as the Panagyurishte hoard, which has been displayed in various exhibitions across the world, will undoubtedly inspire every curious explorer.
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Photo credit: Sofia through the lens
As one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was built in the early twentieth century as a memorial for all soldiers who died in the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878). It is not only the moving story behind the construction of the temple, but also its unique architecture that attracts so many visitors. The golden domed basilica, which hides an amazing collection of icons in its crypt, is the perfect place for an enriching spiritual experience.
Nu Boyana Film Studio
Photo credit: Nu Boyana Film Studio
If there is one place in Bulgaria where the most gifted creatives come to realize their potential, this, undoubtedly, is Nu Boyana Film Studio. Established more than 50 years ago, the studio provides excellent equipment and production services, as well as fascinating natural sets and locations. The success of all talents working for Nu Boyana can be demonstrated by the studio’s collaboration in world-famous films, such as The Expendables 1, 2, and 3, 300: Rise of an Empire, Criminal, etc.
Photo credit: Sketches of Sofia
Last but not least, every creative city needs a main street like the amazing Vitosha Boulevard to provide its guests and locals with the best services on a chill coffee date after a long day of shopping, or on a memorable night out! What is remarkable about this three-kilometre street is that there is something for everyone’s taste: from expensive Western brands and exquisitely prepared meals to small shops selling hand-made designs and places bringing up traditional Bulgarian atmosphere.
These inspiring places show only a tiny fraction of Sofia’s huge cultural heritage. If you want to learn more about this amazing city, don’t be afraid to embark on an unforgettable journey to Bulgaria and find the new definition of creativeness!
Photo credit for the featured image: Sketches of Sofia