Travel Photo Thursday: Saint Nikolas Russian Church – Sofia, Bulgaria

14 Jul

Saint Nikolas Russian Church Sofia

Today we visit the Bulgarian capital, Sofia. This shot is of the Saint Nikolas Russian Church located in the heart of the city’s historic center.

We had only 10 days to cover all of Bulgaria – that, factored with incoming inclement weather only allowed us one very jet-lagged day to explore Sofia. We made sure our accommodations were centrally located so that we could easily walk everywhere.

Some tips if you go:

  1. My favorite site was the Rotunda of St George. Small, quiet, historic, located in a courtyard between the President’s quarters and the Sheraton. Super-insider tip: sneak in the back door and use the Sheraton’s very well-maintained restroom. Perhaps even a couple of times through the course of the day!
  2. If you go in the Alexander Nevski Church (and you should!) go downstairs and check out the National Gallery’s collection of Orthodox icons – supposedly the largest of its kind. It is actually a lot to see, but it seems every region of Bulgaria has shipped their icons here, so if you want to see some, this is the place.
  3. As an art enthusiast, I was sure to check out the National Gallery. Everyone was all a-twitter over the Degas exhibit, which was perfect – it meant I had the Bulgarian painter galleries practically to myself. This was my first exposure to many great artists. If you’re not planning to visit the cultural heavy-hitter city of Plovdiv, make sure you stop in here. Or… do both!
  4. If they say it can’t be done, ask someone else… This is an all-around travel tip, but was applied here when our hostel wouldn’t help arrange a car for a trip the next day to Rila Monastery and Melnik. Yes, it’s a long day but not impossible like we were told, and really we only had the one day (if we wanted to go to the aforementioned Plovdiv). So, we ventured into the depths of the train station, found a helpful travel agency and arranged ourselves a car and driver. And while I would recommend spending more time in Melnik especially, I’m glad we did it. Who knows if we’ll ever get back!

Taken 9.2010

This photo is included on Budget Traveler’s Sandbox Thursday Travel Photo feature. Be sure to check out the other participating photos!

7 Responses to “Travel Photo Thursday: Saint Nikolas Russian Church – Sofia, Bulgaria”

  1. Michael Figueiredo at 10:52 am #

    Very pretty shot! Bulgaria has been a bit off my radar, but it seems like a great (and affordable) place to visit.

    • DesignbyJen at 12:27 pm #

      Long story of how we chose it, but I’m glad we did. It is ridiculously affordable (once you get there), good food, beer, nice people, great natural beauty with a little bit of post Eastern-bloc grit (which I like, actually).

  2. Evan Ronken at 1:42 pm #

    I agree–I had never thought about Bulgaria, but great food, beer, and affordable prices is a good sell.

  3. Cathy Sweeney at 5:00 pm #

    Beautiful church! Sounds like you made the most of your day in Sofia, even with jet lag — I know the feeling!

  4. Denise at 10:26 pm #

    I’m always fascinated by how beautiful Russian churches are. Now I grew up in a country full of churches…but these…they are just so special from outside.

  5. Muza-chan at 11:24 pm #

    Beautiful church

  6. The churches look great with that golden stuff 😉

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