Home Run: Sofia, Bulgaria

Introducing a new addition to the Travel Section here at Impact: Home Run. Discover the amazingly diverse cities and hometowns of UoN students, get inspired to travel a little further out and add your own beloved home to the series.

Last summer, my French best friend came to visit me in Sofia for a week. I got the chance to show her my beautiful city. I took her to all my favourite places, and she kept repeating how beautiful the city is and how surprised she was. After the tenth time she expressed how surprised she was, I got annoyed and asked her why. Why was she surprised? What had she expected from my city?

It is true that Sofia is often overlooked by tourists and visitors who often travel to Bulgaria’s ski resorts or beaches, but little do they know what a beautiful and special city they are missing. Sofia is one of the oldest cities in Europe, having monuments and remains from Roman times. People travel miles and miles in order to go to a mineral spring and Sofia has multiple within the city itself, including one right in the centre, available to anyone and everyone.

“Only a short bus ride away is Mt. Vitosha, with its stunning view of the city, clear air and ski slopes”

The picturesque parks, which you can never fully explore, and can always find a moment’s peace in, make you forget that you are in a city to begin with. The numerous monuments and statues just around the corner (literally around every corner, you can’t miss them!) remind you how long the city has actually existed, while the breathtaking architecture of the ancient churches and mosques actually takes you back in time.

In fact, Sofia is one of the very few cities in Europe with a Synagogue, a Mosque, a Catholic Church and an Eastern Orthodox Church almost right beside each other, with only a 5-minute walk separating them. This famous square is called the Rhombus of Temples and is located right in the centre of the city. Only a short bus ride away is Mt. Vitosha, with its stunning view of the city, clear air and ski slopes.

With a street dedicated especially to theatres, the countless galleries, libraries, restaurants, cafes and bars spread all around the city, Sofia is not short of leisure activities either. You can never run out of things to do in.

For a girl that has traveled a lot and lived in many different countries and cities, I can safely say that Sofia is on the top of my list. Okay, I may be biased, it being my home, but hear me out. I have lived in Ankara, Cairo, Athens and now here in Nottingham, and yet Sofia stands out to me. After all, what do we look for in a city?

As a 17-year-old, I love a city that is vibrant, alive and full of people. A city that is inclusive and open to anything. And this is exactly what Sofia is. Whether it is the people singing in the streets, or ones in a hurry to get to work, or maybe ones that are walking their dog, there is always a sense of purpose.

This was basically going to be the argument I presented to my best friend, but just as I started, all fired up and ready to defend the beauty of my city, we saw a burger place, and anyone that knows me will know that a good burger can make me forget just about anything.

I can keep describing Sofia and there will never be enough words to express my love for it. I keep counting the days until I get to visit my city once again and discover yet another reason I love it.

Maria Milova

Featured image courtesy of ‘Juan Antonio F. Segal’ via Flickr. License here.

Article images by Maria Milova.

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