St. Sophia Church PDF Print E-mail
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St. Sofia ChurchThis is a monument of culture of nationwide importance. It stands out with its remarkable architecture and is directly connected with the history of the Bulgarian capital, which bears the name of its patron saint Sophia – a symbol of the Divine Wisdom. The present-day impressive three-nave domed basilica with a crosswise nave was built on top old churches from the 4th century. During excavations, several building periods have been uncovered, preserved from which are parts of a mosaic floor (of more than one small churches), individual drawings (a dove, plants, trees, flower vases, etc.), these symbols being characteristic of early Christian art of the 4th century. During the Middle Ages the church was used mostly as a town cathedral church, and during the 16th century, in the time of the Turkish domination, the church was transformed into a mosque. It was greatly damaged by the earthquakes of 1818 and 1858. Archaeological excavations began in 1911; in 1935 the church was restored, while its overall conservation began in 1980. Four columns support the dome, 19 m high with a diameter of 9 m. The widths of the crosswise and central lengthwise nave are equal and in their crossing they make a square. In this way a cross makes up the plan of the basilica, which affects both the internal space and the overall outer appearance of the church.


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