Sofia, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Bulgaria, is surrounded by an extensive park at the foot of the popular ski mountain Vitosha. The chef Christine Mast is a destination for upscale gastronomy, art and entertainment and brings a new perspective and an honest approach to Italian cuisine to Sofia. The SOFIA Science Center | Stratospheric Observatory for Infra-red Astronomy

SOFIA Science Instrument Programming Library is a set of SOFIA programme documentation used by researchers, scholars and engi-neers to assist in the design, creation and manufacture of SOFIA scientific tools.

It includes the Sci-ENGINEER'S' Handbook, requirements specification and a useful Quick Look Guide, which contains hints and teachings from the SOFIA programme and former SDIs. Further information such as the SOFIA Tool Guide and SOFIA video on the scientific tools can also be found in this book.

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Sophia is Bulgaria's capitol and its biggest town. Established millennia ago, the town is now the state' s leading centre of culture and economy. The town currently has 1,250,000 inhabitants. Sophia is situated in the west of the countryside, in the Sofia Plain and on the lower hillsides of Monte Vitosha.

It is at a strategical crossroad. From Western Europe to Istanbul, the tour leads via Sofia via Beograd and Skopje, then via Plovdiv to Turkey. It also links the Middle East, between the Danube and the White Sea on the one side and the Black Sea and the Adriatic on the other.

Sophia is relatively near the capital of most of the Balkans: There are three motorways starting in Sofia: Sofia Airport offers travellers comfortable links to all important destinations in Europe, and from the main railway and coach stations it is possible for travellers to get to any point in the state. Sophia has been inhabited for many thousands of years.

It was here in the eighth c. BC that the Thracians established themselves in honour of its warm sources and gave the town its first name - Serdika or Serdonpolis. Serdica was conquered by the Romans in the 1. cent. B.C. and turned into a romantic town. The town took its name, Ulpia Serdika, during the rule of Emperor Marcus Ulpius Trajan (98-117 AD) and became the regional administration centre.

Serdica was the favourite town of Constantine the Great (reign 306-337), who said: "Serdica is my Rome. "In about 175 solid defensive ramparts with four towers were erected to defend the town. In the beginning of the ninth c. the Bulgarian Han Krum (rule 803-814) came to Serdika.

It became an integral part of the First Bulgarian Empire (7th-9th century) under Han Omurtag (reign 814-831). During this period, the town was given the name The Centre because of its key position. Between 1018 and 10194 Sredet was under the domination of the Byzantines, but nevertheless remains an important centre of strategy, economy and culture.

In 1185-1393, during the Second Bulgarian Empire, the town of Sredet took on the look of a large mediaeval town - its small, overcrowded alleys testify to the building of more and more small cathedrals and convents, which later became Sofia's Holy Mountain. It was given its present name at the end of the fourteenth centuary in honour of the city's landmark, the Basilica of St. Sofia.

1382 the town was given to the Ottomans. Sophia retains many precious memorials of its long and historic past. Explorers of the city's roads can admire the ruins of the eastern gate from Serdika and Sredets from the 2nd to 4th c.... The relics are displayed in the subway between the Presidential Palace and the Council of Ministers, in the middle of stores that sell typical souvenirs and rose water from Bulgaria.

St. Sofia Basilica, established during the Justinian rule (527-565), is one of the oldest cathedrals in the town. In the Middle Ages it was the most important temple in the town. It was used as a religious site by the Ottomans. The Memorial Cathedral of St. Alexander Nevsky, today one of the most famous icons of the town, is located very near St. Sofia.

It was erected in 1912 and planned by the Soviet Alexander Pomerantsev. As one of the most beloved travel destination in Sofia, the cathedral offers space for about 5,000 persons and is full of faithful on important occassion. The National Gallery of Art, which often displays works by world-famous artist, is located directly opposite the school.

Sofia's oldest cathedral is the St. Georg Rotunde. Presumably the cathedral was erected in the sixth c. under Constantine the Great. The Saint is located in the immediate vicinity of the roundabout, in the subway to the subway stop of the subway line Serbia. The Petka Samardzhiyska Cathedral, constructed in the eleventh c...

The Catholic Cathedral of St. Joseph is another religious memorial in the area. Near the temple there is a temple with a permanent exhibition. Hardly any other town in Europe has so many remarkable religious, Muslim and Judaic memorials so closely together. Nearby are further historic remnants, such as the town bath, the market place and the church on Holy Sunday.

The Theological Seminary, which hosts the National Museum of History and Archaeology, follows on from this one. Further sights of the town are the Lion Bridge, the Eagle Bridge, the Memorial of Russia and the Memorial to Vasil Levski (a BG revolutionist who fought for the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottomans in the nineteenth century).

The National Archaeological Museum, which contains some of Bulgaria's most precious artefacts in its collections, is situated in the middle of the town' s most important monuments, directly opposite the presidential palace. The National Art Gallery, which is situated in the former Royal Palace of Bulgaria, houses masterworks of his work.

It is also home to the National Ethnological and Natural History Museums, which are only a stone's throw away, with precious flora and fauna and even some that can no longer be seen in the great outdoors. In front of this market place is the St. Nicholas Church, an architectonic symbol.

One of the most attractive building in Sofia is undoubtedly the Ivan Vazov National Theatre.

At the lower foothills of Monte Vitosha, in the district of Boyana, is the National History Centre with its history from the past to the present. It has one of the biggest museums in the world, with over 700,000 objects of great interest. Near the Musuem is the Boyana Church, one of the world heritage site of UNESCO in Bulgaria.

The town has many other major cities, such as the Polytechnic Museum, the Museum of Anthropology and the Museum of Sport. As the country's capitol, Sofia hosts important social, sporting and sporting activities and meetings. Its National Palace of Culture, the city's soccer stadia and the city's large auditoriums are places for renowned personalities and groups to perform and perform.

In May and June the Palace of Culture welcomes the participants of the Sofia Music Weeks Festivals. It is a favourite venue for conferences and there are many different facilities and centres to suit all needs. One of the most favoured locations for economic fora and exhibitions, for example, is the National Palace of Culture.

In Sofia there are also the most renowned and largest Bulgarian education establishments - university, college and secondary school, which provide well-founded and up-to-date education in the fields of architecture, medicine, humanities, technology, music and choreography as well as fine arts. In the vicinity of Sofia, in the mountains Vitosha, Lozen and Stara Planina (central Balkan), so many convents were established over the course of the century that they became known as Sofia's holy mountains.

Situated in the city's stadia, the stadium attracts tens of thousand of fans for games between big soccer clubs. Sofia's gardens are a favourite place for relaxation and recuperation. The Borisov Park is located right in the centre of the town, and South Park is next to the National Palace of Culture. In Ihtiman and in the town of Ravno Polye there are two nearby greens, both of which offer great opportunities for playing and practicing this increasingly beloved game.

The Vitosha skiing area is equally popular with downhill and cross-country skiing and snowboarding in cold weather, and in hot weather it is a popular place for walkers and picnics. Vitosha Mountain is bordering the Vitosha Natural Preserve, the oldest protected area in the Balkan Peninsula. The Vitosha Range's ten summits are over 2,000 metres high, the highest being the Cherni Vrah (Black Peak) in the middle of the 2,290-metre long area.

As Mount Vitosha is a favourite place for the inhabitants of the city, its countryside and trails are populated by people who love the outdoors. More information about the reserve can be obtained from the Vitosha Natural Preservation Information Center, about 1 km from Dragolevtsi Quarter, near Dragolevtsi Monastery. On Mount Vitosha there are two skiing centres where guests of this very favourite sport resort are accommodated.

Konyarnika Center is 1,507 m high. Vitosha has a track length of 29 km, the longest is 5 km. Sofia Zoological Garden in the south of the town is the largest zoological garden in the state. Sophia has many opportunities for kids to enjoy.

Sofia, like every big town, has something to offer for every tast. In Sofia and the surrounding area there are numerous health resorts. It has ten health resorts within the boundaries of the metropolis, which offer tranquillity and recreation as well as therapeutical and cosmetic treatment. On 17 September, the town' s yearly feast is celebrated in honour of the marriage of Saint Sofia and her three daughters Vyara (faith), Nadezhda (hope) and Lyubov (love).

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