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Free Sofia Tour's Blog

July 28, 2019
Symbols of Bulgaria

“Bulgarian Symbols” – Our Brand New Merchandise Line

Exciting news! Our organisation, the 365 Association, is always up for a new challenge. In 2019 we set 3 new, ambitious goals in front of ourselves – to open up a new interactive space dedicated to the last stages of the communist regime in Bulgaria – The Red Flat, to create a new walking tour, which tells the story of the Bulgarian Jewish community  – Sofia Jewish Tour and to also initiate a new line of merchandise that lays out some of our favorite Bulgarian symbols. Bulgarian Symbols The idea of creating our own merchandise is something that we have been discussing for the past few years. As tour guides we are best at presenting Bulgaria’s symbols and landmarks on the streets of Sofia and Plovdiv. We felt that 2019 is the right moment for us to start working on another ambitious project. It is now time to eternalize these moments. And by that we mean giving you the opportunity to take them back home with you. Being a non-governmental […]
July 10, 2019
yellow bricks

Sofia’s Yellow Brick Road

Ever wondered whether Bulgaria and Hungary have something in common or whether there’s some other connection between their capital cities – Sofia and Budapest? It turns out that yes, there is. The following post will tell you about one of them: Sofia’s yellow cobblestones. THE STORY OF SOFIA’S YELLOW COBBLESTONES After Bulgaria’s Liberation from the Ottoman Empire in 1878, Sofia was designated as capital of the newly established country. However, it was chosen for its geographic location and not its architecture; at the time, it did not look much like a city, let alone a capital. Dirty puddles, mud, and stinking water covered the city center. This is why Prince Dondukov, head of the Provisional Russian government in power at the time, quickly ordered changes. In 1901, Sofia’s first trams set off on six routes, served by 25 individual trains, and in 1905, Maria Louise Boulevard became the first city street to be paved. Afterwards, the Municipality began an ambitious plan to pave a big portion of the city. It bought two quarries in the neighboring Vitosha mountain – […]
June 21, 2019
sofia bulgaria guide

Sofia – Capital of Bulgaria – The Ultimate Travel Guide

Sofia is Bulgaria’s capital and largest city. Situated in the very heart of the Balkan peninsula,  it is one of Europe’s oldest cities. While still undiscovered by many, more and more people are now falling in love with the city’s unique east meets west vibe. HISTORY OF SOFIA For the past 6000 years this city has seen it all. Once called Serdica – an important trade center in the Roman empire. Then conquered by the Bulgarians in the 9th century, then conquered by the Byzantine Empire, then re-claimed by the Bulgarians and then a stronghold of the Ottoman empire. After Bulgaria gained its independence in the late 19th century, Sofia was chosen as the country’s new capital. It’s now been capital for 140 years. The city’s appereance today has been widely shaped by the twists and turmoils of the 20th century. Up until WW2 Bulgaria was a parliamentary monarchy and Sofia’s architecture was influenced by the examples of Austrian, French and German architecture. The second half of the 20th century […]
May 12, 2019
museum of communism sofia

The Red Flat – Life in Communist Bulgaria

Do you remember the Cold War? Have you read and listened about it? Perhaps you have seen movies focusing on the dramatic stand-off between the two powerhouses of the world at the time – the US and the Soviet Union. You probably know about the arms race, the never ending competition between them, constantly designing more and better weapons and ways to destroy each other. You also likely know about the space race, the start of humankind’s exploration of the so-called final frontier. If you come from the West, you would have been exposed to propaganda about the evil communists whose main objective was to destroy your peaceful and prosperous way of life. If you come from the East, you would have been constantly flooded with propaganda about the evil capitalists, who live and breathe to ruin your attempt at a just and perfect social system. But have you ever wondered how the regular citizen of the “Empire of Evil”, as per Ronald Reagan, actually lived like? If yes, then… The Red […]
May 3, 2019
Buzludzha

The Buzludzha Monument

Is it a bird? A plane? Is it a UFO? It’s the Buzludzha Monument! Once, a huge symbol of the power and might of the Bulgarian Communist regime, attracting people from both the country and all over the world with its bizarre look, monumental construction and embedded ideology. Nowadays, it is completely abandoned. It has been falling apart ever since the end of the communist regime in 1989. This time we are covering one of the most extraordinary and controversial ideological monuments left from Bulgaria’s communist past. And of course, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about it. You might have seen this outlandish looking building before as it has been included in the list of the 33 most beautiful abandoned places in the world. Its futuristic appearance looks as if taken straight from a science fiction series. This is the main reason for people to call it “the flying saucer”. If you are wondering where the Buzludzha monument is… you will find it in […]
March 25, 2019
Free Sofia Tour Summer Schedule 2019

365 Sofia Tours 2019/2020 Winter and Summer Schedules

Welcome to Sofia! It doesn’t matter whether you are here in summer or winter! Our tours run 365 days a year! Here’s our full schedule: Free Sofia Tour – 3/4 times a day! Free Sofia Tour is the general sightseeing walk around the main historical landmarks in the center of Sofia. In just 2 hours you will get acquainted with what Sofia has to offer – the perfect introduction to any trip to Sofia. We know how tight your schedule is when visiting a new city. That’s why we decided to give you plenty of opportunities to explore Sofia with us. Free Sofia Tour in English runs every single day as follows: November – March: 11AM, 2PM, 6PM April – October: 10AM, 11AM, 2PM, 6PM We will be waiting for you in front of the Palace of Justice. Our tours run 365 days a year, no matter the weather conditions (including all national and religious holidays). Free Sofia Tour in Spanish! Free Sofia Tour en Español- 5 days a week! […]
February 22, 2019
most beautiful buildings in Sofia

The 8 Most Beautiful Buildings in Sofia

Sofia might not be your typical European capital when it comes to architecture and beautiful buildings. The city does not have an old town. Instead, there are various historical layers that form the city’s unique appearance. A mix of different architectural styles, old and new buildings. Of course, there are plenty of beautiful buildings in Sofia and everyone has their own preference. Here are our picks for Sofia’s most beautiful buildings: 1. Former Mineral Baths Functioning as a public bath from 1913 to 1986 this truly is one of Sofia’s unique buildings. It combines several architectural styles such as Vienna Secession with Byzantine, Bulgarian and Eastern Orthodox elements. Nowadays, the building houses the Sofia History Museum. 2. Ivan Vazov National Theatre The building carries the name of Bulgaria’s most beloved author – Ivan Vazov. The National Theatre is a favorite of a lot of locals. Not just because of its purpose and beautiful neoclassical architecture but also because of the park in front of it. Undoubttedly, it is one of […]
February 15, 2019
best things to do and see in sofia

Top 10 Things to Do and See in Sofia

If you are reading this then you are most likely visiting Sofia for the first time. No worries! We are here to guide you through your first experience with a list of essential things to do and see in Bulgaria’s capital and largest city. 1. Explore Sofia’s main landmarks From its beautiful temples to the ancient Roman ruins, Sofia has a lot to offer. The city is full of must-sees due to its rich historical and cultural heritage. A great way to get a good overview of the city’s historical center is of course one of our daily free walking tours. This will get you acquainted with the city’s most important sights in just 2 hours. The tours start in front of the Palace of Justice and end right next to Sofia’s most legendary building – St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. 2. Vitosha Boulevard Sofia’s city center is very compact and walking is the best way to get your bearings and experience the Bulgarian lifestyle. It is inevitable that you will […]
January 8, 2019
Free Sofia Tour new guides

Free Sofia Tour is Looking for New Guides!

Free Sofia Tour is looking for talent! It’s the beginning of 2019, winter holidays are (unfortunately) gone and we at the Free Sofia Tour are already starting to think ahead. That’s right, we are looking for new guides to join our team! You might have seen us on the street, you might have seen us in the media, you might have heard someone tell you stories of us. If you haven’t… this is who we are and what we do. Our primary goal is to make every guest of our tour feel welcome to Sofia and Bulgaria. We want to ignite a spark of interest in such a way so that they would want to come back and recommend it to their friends. We are passionate about what we do. That’s why we constantly strive to make each tour personal, fun, informative, helpful and unforgettable. Are you one of our new guides? Take a look at our poster and if you see yourself in it, don’t hesitate to contact us. If you […]