Despite its Byzantine appearance the grand Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia is relatively recent. The foundation stone was laid in 1882 and most of the construction was carried out between 1904 and 1912. While the Cathedral belongs to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church it is named for a 13th century Russian prince and Orthodox saint in honour of the Russian soldiers who died during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 which resulted in Bulgaria’s liberation from Ottoman rule.

The Cathdral is in need of restoration and last year the figure of 20 million leva was being quoted (that’s around £9 million or $11 million), but following a recent assessment the cost is now put at a considerable more affordable 4 million leva. That does not include restoration of the frescoes and other artworks that have been damaged by water leaks. While it is a very striking building, all the more so when the sun is shining and glinting off the gold plated dome, its lacks the intimacy and sense of presence that smaller churches do. These shots were taken with my LX5 compact camera and in the dim interior the quality suffers a little but remains surprisingly good considering.