Jordan was an amazing country but due to the planning and the changes we unfortunately only had the 4 nights there. But anyone thinking of going should make an effort. It was a wonderful country full of friendly and helpful people.
A long day of travel meant we got into our Sofia beds after 2am. We woke up this morning and set out on foot to find some breakfast and just about every church, cathedral and old building in Sofia. It is quite a compact place to walk around.
Our first stop was the place used most when you think of sofia. We saw the golden dome of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral through the tress and across the park. It is an amazing cathedral in and out. Unfortunately no photos inside of any place today, but inside was often just as stunning. It isn’t that old however and will celebrate it centenary next year.
We wandered past the church of St. Sofia, which I believe gave the city its name. We then made our way past a few other places to the lovely Russian Church of St. Nicholas of Myra the wonderworker, surrounded by tulips in bloom. It was also quite impressive inside. All of these places appear to be still functioning places of worship with religious artefact giftshops out front to buy your candles etc.
We continued on to the Ivan Vazov National theatre. Another postcard perfect building for Sofia. We sat by the fountain for a while in the lovely park out the front of the theatre. Sofia seems to have ample parks, one had what appeared to be a band playing classical music.
Finally our last stop before lunch, was the oldest building in Sofia. The Rotunda of St. George is surrounded by government buildings, but is the oldest building in Sofia. It was built in the 4th century AD and rebuilt in the 6th Century after the Huns took a disliking to it. Apparently inside there are some murals that date back to the 14th century but there was a service going on that we didi not want to disturb.
After all that, we still had one more church to visit. After lunch we caught a taxi up to the outskirts of Sofia to the suburb of Boyana. The church itself was built in the 13th Century AD and sits in a lovely garden area on the foothills of the mountains to the south of Sofia. However inside is where the real magic is. Murals that are over 800 yrs old and surviving in a very good condition can be seen, with amazing details to the faces. They have a strict 10 minutes only in the church and they monitor the temperature and humidity to keep the murals intact. It was apparently still in use as a church 2 or 3 generations ago. The guide there couldn’t tell us why they remain so intact other than the fact the turks considered it insignificant and didn’t raise it to the ground under some kind of truce. Its one of those UNESCO heritage sites i knew nothing about until I visited it.
Tomorrow we are off to visit the Rila monastery, assuming we can work out which bus to catch and from where…..