FolkestoneJack's Tracks

The marvel at the centre of Sofia

Posted in Bulgaria, Sofia by folkestonejack on May 23, 2016

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a monumental structure that you can’t help but see everywhere in the books, brochures and guides for Bulgaria. No wonder, it is a mesmerising confection of arches and domes that catches the light beautifully throughout the day.

The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

It was built between 1882 and 1924 to honour the Russian soldiers who died during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 (an inscription professes love and gratitude to the Russian people for the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1878). The cathedral is 50,52 metres tall at its highest point (the belfry) and covers an area of 3,170 square metres with a capacity of between 5,000 and 10,000 worshipers depending on which guidebook you read!

Inside, the cathedral is quite dark at first but when your eyes adjust the riches are stunning to behold. You could spend hours in here absorbing all the detail. Colourful icons and wall paintings surround you at every turn, whilst beautiful chandeliers and painted ceilings tower above you. Stone lions lie the feet of columns, around the pulpit and flanking the dais of a remarkable throne built for Tsar Ferdinand. Even small details, inside and out, such as the door handles delight.

It is quite impossible to describe adequately, but a splendid 360 degree panorama shows just how marvellous this interior really is.

Morning reflections

Morning reflections

The icon gallery in the crypt (accessed from a door to the left hand side of the main entrance) is a complete contrast with its whitewashed walls and well lit interior. The riches contained inside seemed endless, including a wood-carved screen and many icons from Rila Monastery. A small exhibition in one of the antechambers included a couple of paintings depicting the rather surprising resurrection of a cow by St Modestus. It has to be said that it can be hard to keep track of what you have seen after a while, but it’s still well worth getting lost down here!

Gallery

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