Sofia (/ˈsoʊfiə, ˈsɒf-, soʊˈfiːə/ SOH-fee-ə, SOF-;] Bulgarian: София, romanized: Sofiya, is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria. The city is situated in the eponymous valley at the foot of the Vitosha mountain in the western part of the country. The city is built west of the Iskar river, and has many mineral springs, such as the Sofia Central Mineral Baths. It has a humid continental climate. Being in the centre of the Balkans, it is midway between the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea, and closest to the Aegean Sea
Sofia has been an area of human habitation since at least 7000 BC. The recorded history of city begins with the attestation of the conquest of Serdica by the Roman Republic in 29 BC from the Celtic tribe Serdi. During the decline of the Roman Empire, the city was raided by Huns, Visigoths, Avars and Slavs. In 809 Serdica was incorporated into the Bulgarian Empire by Khan Krum and became known as Sredets. In 1018, the Byzantines ended Bulgarian rule until 1194, when it was reincorporated by the reborn Bulgarian Empire. Sredets became a major administrative, economic, cultural and literary hub until its conquest by the Ottomans in 1382. From 1520 to 1836, Sofia was the regional capital of Rumelia Eyalet, the Ottoman Empire’s key province in Europe. Bulgarian rule was restored in 1878. Sofia was selected as the capital of the Third Bulgarian State in the next year, ushering a period of intense demographic and economic growth.
Sofia is the 13th largest city in the European Union. It is surrounded by mountains, such as Vitosha by the southern side, Lyulin by the western side, and the Balkan Mountains by the north, which makes it the second highest European capital after Madrid. Being Bulgaria’s primate city, Sofia is home of many of the major local universities, cultural institutions and commercial companies. The city has been described as the “triangle of religious tolerance”. This is due to the fact that three temples of the three world major religions—Christianity, Islam and Judaism—are situated within one square: Sveta Nedelya Church, Banya Bashi Mosque and Sofia Synagogue.
map of Sofia