Sofia is Bulgaria’s capital and its largest city. Founded thousands of years ago, today the city continues to develop as the country’s cultural and economic center. At present, the city has a population of 1,250,000.
Sofia is located in the western part of the country, on The Sofia Plain and on the lower slopes of Mount Vitosha. The city’s average altitude is 550 meters above sea level, the climate is moderate and continental, characterized by cold winters and relatively cool summers. The average temperature in January is 1 degree below zero Centigrade, and the average July temperature is 20 degrees Centigrade.In August temperatures can reach 35 degrees Celsius, even more on the hottest days
The city is located at a strategic crossroads. The route from Western Europe to Istanbul passes through Sofia via Beograd and Skopje, then through Plovdiv to Turkey. Sofia also connects Europe to The Middle East, lying between the banks of The Danube and the shores of The White Sea on the one hand, and between The Black Sea and The Adriatic on the other.
Sofia is relatively close to the capitals of most Balkan countries: Ankara is 1,012 km from Sofia; Athens is 837 km; Belgrade is 374 km; Bucharest is 395 km; Zagreb is 762 km; Ljubljana is 897 km; Sarajevo is 549 km; Skopje is 239 km; Tirana is 553 km.
Three freeways begin in Sofia: Trakia, Lyulin, and Hemus. The Sofia Airport provides travelers with convenient connections to all major European cities, and from the central train station and bus station passengers can reach every destination in the country.
The city’s annual celebration is observed on September 17, in honor of the martyrdom of Saint Sofia and her three daughters Vyara (Faith), Nadezhda (Hope), and Lyubov (Love).