I’m just at the tail end of a brief visit in Sofia, one of the few European capitals I haven’t seen before (one of my fave travel reasons). Sofia – apart from having such a lovely name – has been a pleasant surprise: wide open boulevards, varied and interesting architecture, nice cafes, and just a very convivial city to wander around. Not sure why I haven’t been here before, actually. Here’s a wee glimpse of the Bulgarian capital, seen through the lense of my iPhone: Sofia by Instagram.

Like Kiev, Sofia also shows off gorgeous golden domes.

The imposing Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

While we’re on the subject of houses of worship, I feel it’s only fair to include the Banya Bashi Mosque as well, a remnant of Ottoman rule in Bulgaria: built by Minar Sinan in 1576.

The Banya Bashi Mosque

Of course, there’s more than just religious architecture in Sofia. This building is an excellent example of Socialist Classicism, isn’t it? Built in the early 1950s along with two other (equally imposing) buildings, together they’re called the Largo. It was once the headquarters of the Bulgarian Communist Party. Today, it houses National Assembly offices. Reminds me a bit of the Palace of Culture in Warsaw.

National Assembly office building, Sofia

National Assembly office building

I love this little glimpse into the life of Sofians on their way home from work this evening.

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On tram 22, Sofians going home from work.

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Tram no. 22

Art in Sofia takes many forms. Here’s a somewhat disconcerting example of the city’s street art:

Sofia street art

… and finally, my favourite (of course): high on a pedestal, in the very centre of the city, watching over it, is the golden goddess Sofia. The statue replaced one of Lenin – and quite rightly, too.

The Holy Sofia

Which is your favourite lesser-known European capital?