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Vitosha Sunset

We went for a walk with some friends on Wednesday evening on Vitosha Mountain which lies just south of Sofia. On the way back down we were just in time to catch the last rays of the sun through a gap in the trees.

Seven Rila Lakes

The Seven Rila Lakes are a two hour drive from Sofia in the Rila Mountains, and one of the most popular tourist spots in the country. I’m told that in the summer months there are hour long waits for a seat on the chair lift that takes you up to the starting point for the trails that lead to the lakes. So we decided to do it in February instead.

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Rila Monastery

The Rila Monastery was founded in the 10th century by disciples of the hermit monk St Ivan of Rila who reputedly lived in a cave nearby. Some parts of the complex date from the 14th century, but most of it, including the main church and the monks’ dormitories seen here, was constructed in the 19th century after a devastating fire. As well as its religious significance the monastery was a centre of Bulgarian identity, language and culture during the centuries of Ottoman occupation.

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Here and There 1

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.

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Sofia Metro

I’ve taken very few photographs of the Sofia Metro which is surprising given that metro systems are one of my favourite subjects. Of those few these are the only two I thought worth keeping. The first is the Serdika station in central Sofia, the second is one of the underground walkways at the NDK station. The first of these was shot with my Panasonic LX5. In its day the LX5 was considered a high end compact with a larger sensor than typical for compact cameras of the time, but much smaller than today’s high end compacts like the Sony RX100. Not only is it a small sensor it’s also – in digital years – ancient with the LX5 first introduced back in 2010. Yet despite its small size and older technology I’m always impressed with the quality of the images I get from it.


Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

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.

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‘Saint’ Sofia

The Bulgarian Communist Party, demonstrating that relentless lack of imagination that seems common to communist parties everywhere, erected a massive statue of Lenin in the centre of Sofia. Following the collapse of the regime this Lenin went the way of many others and disappeared in 1991. Nine years later Lenin’s spot was taken by this eight metre tall statue atop a sixteen metre column.

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