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Sofia is the capital city of Bulgaria and one of the oldest cities in Europe. In the center some scrap have been discovered of a settlement that was there 7000 years ago. Some remnants of the settlement are on display at the St. George Church that was built in the 4th century. Despite the building mania in communist style during the Soviet domination, there are still many historical buildings to admire in Sofia (or remnants thereof).
When Sofia became capital of Bulgaria (in 1878), there were only 12,000 people. Thereafter, the population increased rapidly and now Sofia has 1,4 million inhabitants.
Sofia is located in western Bulgaria in the Sofia valley that is surrounded on all sides by mountains. The city lies in a junction of ancient roads that connects central Europe with the Black and Aegean Sea.
The capital city of Bulgaria is also the economic center of the country. The main industries are metal, textile, rubber, leather and electronics. Sofia is also a center for (financial) services. Since the end of the communist era, activity in the construction area has increased dramatically, which is also a major contribution to the economy.
Although the bulk of tourism in Bulgaria is focused on the beaches of the Black Sea, the number of visitors in Sofia is increasing.
The airport of Sofia lies 10 kilometers east of the city center and is easily accessible by rental car. The route to and from the airport is clearly signposted, in English.
Sofia has a good public transportation system consisting of buses, trams, trolley buses and a subway line. This line runs from the western city parts through the center to the southeast, where the line will be further extended to the airport.
Sofia also has minibuses driving around that you can call by simply raising your hand. You do have to know your destination and tell the driver though.
The traffic in Sofia can be busy and chaotic, but if you are used to these conditions, you will have no problem driving around in the Bulgarian capital. You might have some trouble finding parking in the center of the city. In blue zones you can park by buying a ticket from parking attendants, who can be identified by their green jackets, and put it behind the windscreen.
If you want to travel the country, you need a motor way vignette. It can be purchased at any gas station. There are vignettes with a validity of one week, one month and a year.
Sofia has a wide range of overnight facilities in all categories. From simple accommodation for backpackers to five star hotels. In the last few years many apartment complexes have been built, so there is a wide range of service apartments, usually rented out for longer periods of time.
For more information on Sofia, we recommend Google and the following sources: