Monday’s Travel Photos – First impressions of Sofia, Bulgaria

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When we were first offered a home exchange in Bulgaria, we said, “Why not?” But as the time got closer and I had time to take a closer look at what was awaiting us, I began to have doubts particularly after visiting Slovakia and Hungary during the summer. My first impressions of Sofia confirmed my reticence. The poverty and standard of living are devastating.  The newly restored religious buildings seem to accentuate them even further. These photos were taken during our first walk around the neighbourhood where we are staying in a comfortable recently decorated flat.

The view from our balcony when we look left

The view from the balcony of our modern building when we look left

The view from our balcony when we look right

The view from our balcony when we look right

 

Our street name, Veslets, in cyrillic

Our street name, Veslets, in cyrillic

 

A building in our street, which shows how beautiful some of the apartment buildings must have been in the past

A building in our street, which shows how beautiful some of the apartment buildings must have been in the past 

A corner shop in our street

A corner shop in our street 

The first monument we saw, the former Party House

The first monument we saw, the former Party House 

The formerly magnificent baths of Sofia whose restoration has been dragging on for many years. They will eventually house a museum of the history of Sofia.

The formerly magnificent baths of Sofia whose restoration has been dragging on for many years. They will eventually house a museum of the history of Sofia. On either side, families with bottles of beer and vodka, were having a before-dinner drink … 

The Banya Bashi mosque built in 1576, next to the baths

The Banya Bashi mosque built in 1576, next to the baths. Note the street light and electrical installations on the left 

A typical street corner

A typical street corner. The streets are not very busy and there are not many cars. 

The Sofia Synagogue, built between 1905 and 1909 is a smaller replica of the Sephardic synagogue in Vienna destroyed during WWII.

The Sofia Synagogue, built between 1905 and 1909 is a smaller replica of the Sephardic synagogue in Vienna destroyed during WWII and now the largest in Europe.

Typical local shops displaying their wares on the pavement

Typical local shops displaying their wares on the pavement

 

The Halite, or former food market,built in 1909 has been restored with a rather dismal attempt at creating a food court

The Halite, or former food market,built in 1909 has been restored with a rather dismal attempt at creating a food court

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12 Responses to Monday’s Travel Photos – First impressions of Sofia, Bulgaria

  1. Susan Walter says:

    Any idea why those Daleks in front of the Party House have disguised themselves as Christmas trees?

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      Well, first I had to look up Dalek which, for the information of other ignorant readers like myself, is a fictional extraterrestrial race of mutants principally portrayed in the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who. I didn’t notice them at the time so now I’ll have to go back and take another look!

  2. Andrea says:

    It doesn’t look so bad. We spent one night there a couple of weeks ago but didn’t have time to look around. Bulgaria in general seems much poorer than Romania and of course the Western Balkans but I wouldn’t mind spending some time there. Most people I’ve spoken too said Sofia is the least interesting city in the country but places like the Rila Monastery, Plovdiv and Veliko Tarnovo are worth visiting. I hope you’re not having to bad a time!

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      I didn’t like to post the worst pics! We’re going to Plovdiv at the end of the week. We were debating about Rila Monastery which is quite far but I think we may go anyway. Apart from my foot, we’re not having a bad time. It’s all interesting. Second day was better as you’ll see from Tuesday’s post.

  3. jeff says:

    Very interesting to see the neighbourhood. Have you met people?

  4. Pat in Toulouse says:

    Hahaha, Susan, I had the exact same reaction! Those trees look like Daleks! 🙂
    I’ll be in Paris around October 10/11/12, Rosemary, will you be there? I’d love to meet you, if you have the time for a drink.

    • Rosemary Kneipp says:

      I found another two Daleks today so took a photo close up. Pat, I’d love to meet you but we are off to Blois early on October 10th for 4 days. Perhaps 10th?

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