Here and there – it could just as easily be bits and pieces, or odds and ends. Whatever it’s called here are a few photographs from Sofia that I’ve put together in a single post rather than having multiple separate posts. First, three pictures from the Soviet War Memorial, or The Monument to the Soviet Army, as it is properly known. It has stood since 1954, having been built to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the ‘liberation’ of Bulgaria by the Red Army. There have been campaigns to have it demolished or at least removed but so far they have not succeeded.
This colonnade stands outside the TZUM department store, which is housed in one of the three buildings that make up ‘Largo’, a communist era complex built in the 1950s. In communist days TZUM was where the well connected and the elites went to shop. These days it’s a pleasant but uninspiring spot. I do like this colonnade though.
The building in the background below was once Sofia’s public bathhouse that drew on the hot mineral springs beneath the city. It was completed in 1915 and was still in use as recently as 1986 when it was finally closed down. Following a makeover it reopened in 2015 as the surprisingly good Sofia Regional Historical Museum. While much of the interior has been reconstructed there is one area that retains the original bathhouse structure. The fountain is an integral part of the overall design and stands in a pleasant pedestrian square which is a great spot for a break or to people watch.
While the bathhouse has closed down, just across the street the mineral water still flows at the mineral spring where most times of the day you will witness people filling multiple five litre bottles. The first time I visited here and held my hand under the water I was surprised to discover that this is hot water with a temperature, I believe, somewhere between 30 and 35 C. So it is unusual to see people drinking it straight from the tap as the man in the background of the first picture is doing. It was the man in the foreground who caught my eye. I thought he had a very expressive face and I managed to get a few shots without him noticing me.