Remnants of USSR still visible

Sofia Travel Blog

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I'm a lion...roooaaarrrr

Bulgaria's capital city of Sofia, as the rest of the country, is trying desperately to find itself after gaining independence from the Soviet Union.  Yet, there are many reminders of soviet rule.  For example, the streets at night can be very dark and vacant, a kind of erie homage to its former ruler.  Also, most of the ciities architecture remains gray and drab, a seemingly prerequisite to a soviet city.  However, there is a movement, mainly among the new restaurants, to break away from the soviet stronghold.  Many new, ecclectic restaurants have sprung up around the city.  In the US, if you were to eat at places that look like the ones in Sofia, you would expect to pay a large price, but that is not the case here in Sofia.

Posing
  The meals are the same price as any restaurant in town.

One of the unique things found in the city after the fall of the Soviet Union are called squat shops.  Once capitalism entered Bulgaria, normal citizens turned their own basements into convenient stores.  Instead of building stairs down to the store, they just opened their windows and sell wares to customers who must squat to reach.  For lunch we ate at Divaka, i had the Green Chicken Salad for 3.20 BGN.  Super cheap, especially for the quality.

We walked around the city after lunch.  First, we went to Sveta Nedelya Cathedral.  Then to Aleksander Nevski Church and Crypt.  I did not go into the church, but the crypt was pretty interesting.  The entry was 4BGN and the crypt contained art from the 16th through the 19th century.

Squat shops
  The art was taken from churches around Bulgaria, so all of them had a religous theme.  My favorite paintings were of St George, which told the story of his life.  Ironically enough, St George is the patron saint of England, and of course never slayed a dragon.  He was a "colonel" in the Roman Army during the reign of Emperor Dioclesian.  He openly disagreed with the killing of Christians ordered by the emperor, and for that was promptly beheaded in his mother's home country of Palestine.  The wife of the emperor was so impressed by this display of stupidity (i mean heroism), she too converted to Christianity and was promptly executed. 

Next we went to Sveta Sofia Church built in the 5th century, very cool.  After that we explored the ethnographical musuem...boring.  Not worth the 3 BGN to get in, full of costumes and rugs.

For dinner we ate at Taj Mahal, an Indian Restaurant recommended to us by a waitress who ran out of Indian food that night.  It was excellent cuisine.  We split the lamb marsala and chicken tikka, with rice it was 30 BGN.  After dinner we checked out O'shipka and had some cocktails.  Not much of a party scene though, mainly 20-30 somethings hanging out eating dinner.

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Im a lion...roooaaarrrr
I'm a lion...roooaaarrrr
Posing
Posing
Squat shops
Squat shops
Sveta Nedelya Cathedral
Sveta Nedelya Cathedral
Aleksander Nevski Church and Crypt
Aleksander Nevski Church and Crypt
Random statue in Sofia 2
Random statue in Sofia 2
Mercedes cop car
Mercedes cop car
Random statue in Sofia 1
Random statue in Sofia 1
Taj Mahal Restaurant
Taj Mahal Restaurant
Oshipka
O'shipka
Sofia
photo by: Luci26