A Day in Sofia

11/22 – as luck would have it, there are several clothing shops right down the road from our pension. Within a half hour, Jim found a long, warm coat that he can wear over his fleece jacket, and a fleece hat. I opted for a ski hat and a pair of stretch jogging pants that I can wear under my thin hiking pants to warm up my cold legs. I have three long sleeved shirts and a scarf, and layered them all under my jacket, so don’t think I need another coat. We emerged warmed and ready to face the 30 degree, very grey day. Does the sun ever shine here?

GPS in hand, we want to see some of Sofia’s beautiful buildings today.

Above are the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nickolay in green and gold, and the St. Paraskeva Church.

In close proximity, there is a mosque, a synagogue, a Catholic cathedral and an Orthodox basilica, all near the ancient mineral baths.

The Banya Boshi mosque:

The Sofia Synagogue:

The Church of St. Joseph:

The Hagia Nedelja, from the tenth century:

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In the middle of a city block, surrounded by tall buildings, was the preserved Rotunda of St. George From the fourth century, with ancient frescos still visible on the walls and ceiling.

Smaller yet was this little Church of St. Petka, preserved in a crevice next to a busy highway.

The St. Sofia Orthodox Basilica included a crypt where third to fifth century persons were recently excavated.

While we were exploring below, a choir started singing in the church above. From where we stood amidst graves of old saints, it gave us the shivers. We tiptoed up the steps to see an evening service in progress, with everyone holding candles. The choir was awesome. A beautiful way to end our day.image

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