Museum Of Socialist Art
A museum for artefacts and artworks from Bulgaria’s period under communist rule. The place includes an exhibition for with paintings and sculptures, a video room for documentaries and a large park with 77 sculptures - mostly busts of prominent local and Soviet communists and statues of partisans, soldiers and workers in the authentic socialist realism style. The star of the exhibition is the symbol of communist rule in Bulgaria, namely the red five-pointed star that used to sit atop the communist party’s headquarters.
#soSofia tip: Sometimes they screen Bulgarian propaganda movies, ask about it.
7, Lachezar Stanchev Str. — Tue-Sun 10:00-17:00
National History Museum
Тhe National History Museum is situated in the premises of Boyana government residence. Created in 1973 to store the most important treasures and relics of the country, the museum has a collection of more than half a million cultural monuments, including treasures, ethnographic artifacts, textiles, icons along with a formidable archaeological and historical archive. In 2000 the museum was moved to the former primary residence of the dictator and last communist leader Todor Zhivkov. The museum includes a cloakroom, cafe, library and souvenir shop.
#soSofia tip: It's an adventure to travel to it.
16, Vitoshko Lale Str. — Mon-Sun 09:30-18:00
Monument to the Soviet Army
Built on the place of the original Sofia Zoo, the monument was finished in 1954 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the liberation by the Soviet Army, which is the Russian interpretation of the complex military history of Bulgaria during World War II. Nowadays a controversial place, which gained global fame after it was painted overnight by local artists.
#soSofia tip: Located in the Knyazheska Garden, in the very heart of the city, Sofians enjoy drinking beer there, try it yourself?
Monument Brotherly Mound
A memorial complex constructed as a permanent reminder of the sacrifice of the partisans to free Bulgaria during World War II. Opened on 2nd June 1956 which marked the 80th anniversary of the death of the Bulgarian revolutionary Hristo Botev whose words adorn the monument ‘He who dies in a fight for freedom never dies’.
#soSofia tip: Take a walk in the afternoon, it's located in the Borisova Garden, so it's a perfect opportunity to take a walk and enjoy some fresh air.
The International Park of the Children of the World, better known among locals as Kambanite (English for “The Bells”), was built near Sofia Ring Road and Mladost district in 1979 - the year when Bulgaria hosted UNESCO’s International Children’s Assembly Banner of Peace. The complex was built in just 30 day and consists of a huge 37-foot concrete monument, two arcs and nearly 100 bells, gifted by Netherlands, Cameroon, Japan, Syria, Vietnam, Mauritius, USSR (of course) to name a few. The motto of the project is engraved on the monument's base and reads "Unity, Creativity, Beauty."
#soSofia tip: The park can be used as a picnic spot and has spaces devoted to family gatherings.
Park Kambanite — Open to public at all times
Neoclassicism, eclecticism, stalinist baroque - just some of the fitting descriptions of the former Party House, the Presidency and the Council of Ministers buildings. These are probably the most striking and impressive examples of classical stalinist architecture in Sofia, built by the totalitarian regime - the headquarters of the Communist Party, the State Council, the Ministry of Electrification and Heavy Industry, Hotel Balkan and the Central Department Store (TZUM). Nowadays, the square is totally reconstructed and showcases the historical layers of Sofia from Roman times until today.
#soSofia tip: The archeological findings below the Largo serve as an outdoor museum, take a walk.
Independence Sq. — Open to public at all times
If you want to have a glimpse into the life of a Bulgarian, hop on the subway trains to Obelya and head to Lyulin - the largest neighbourhood of the city, which by itself is populous enough to be the seventh largest city in Bulgaria with more than 130 thousand official inhabitants. Lyulin’s huge maze of identical panel blocks (“panelki” in Bulgarian) in the typical socialist style spread over ten micro-districts. The lack of imagination in communist residential architecture is compensated by the local residents’ desire to pimp their balconies, facades and windows by all sorts of (legal and illegal).
#soSofia tip: Lyulin can be a tough neighbourhood, keep that in mind.
Bulgarian National Radio
Bulgarian National Radio is still the largest radio in Bulgaria with big music bands which work in the grand Studio 1. The spectacular building of the BNR with an inverted pyramid shape was built finished in 1972, built right next to the old one. It keeps the radio’s Gold Fund record collection that goes back to 1935 and consists of more than 14 thousand archival units of music and interviews with high-profile guests.
#soSofia tip: If you're into architecture, you need to see the building and the surrounding area, quite an interesting mix.
National Palace Of Culture
The heavy artillery of Sofia’s cultural life. The National Palace of Culture was built upon the idea of Lyudmila Zhivkova, the daughter of Bulgaria’s longest-serving communist, as part of the celebrations of the 1300th anniversary since the foundation of Bulgaria. Opened in 1981, the massive building became the largest cultural and convention center in the country. The National Palace of Culture is valuable not only for its architectural heritage and beautiful adjacent park, occupied by skaters, youngsters and old citizens, but also for its current hospitality for important cultural events, such as Kinomania and Sofia Film Fest movie festivals. There are many concert and theatre spaces, a new National book centre with a 24/7 bookstore and a bar, in 2018 this building welcomed the Bulgarian presidency of the European Union.
#soSofia tip: Check their website for more information, everyday there is a different happening in NDK.