The cathedral temple “St. Alexander Nevski” is considered a symbol of the Bulgarian capital. It is located in the center of Sofia, at the eponymous square. The reflection of its golden domes attracts attention from miles away.
The temple was built in honor of the Russian Emperor Alexander the 2nd, also known as the Tsar – Liberator, whose army liberated Bulgaria of the five-century long Ottoman Dominion in 1878. St. Alexander Nevski, whose name the cathedral bears, was a Russian prince (lived 1220 – 1263) – a great military commander and diplomat. He is a saint, patron of the Russian Emperor Alexander the 2nd and is symbol of the Russian military glory.
The building covers an area of 3,170 square meters and can accommodate up to 5,000 people. The whole building was lined with white Vratsa stones; the entrance doors were made of Slavonia oak. The domes of the temple are covered with gold. The bell tower is 53 meters high and has 12 bells, the heaviest of them weighing 12 tons, and the smallest one – 10 kg. Their ringing can be heard from a radius of 15 kilometers.
The temple interior is unique – it impresses with its magnificent marble decorations, with its mural paintings and 82 icons, made by Bulgarian, Russian and Czech artists. The marble iconostasis, the royal and patriarchal thrones and the pulpit are of greatest interest for the visitors of the temple. Another valuable item is the mosaic mural of Tsar Ferdinand (ruled 1887 – 1918) and Queen Eleanor. The crypt is located in the basement of the church – it has a collection of icons, where visitors can see many masterpieces of the iconic art paintings.
The temple celebrates two memorial days since 1946: 12 September – the carrying of St. Alexander Nevski’s relics to Saint Petersburg and 23 November – the day of the Assumption of St. Alexander Nevski.
As a monument, the temple has no parish and doesn’t offer other services besides the daily, Sunday and Festival worshipping, such as baptism, weddings and funerals, only with some exceptions – the wedding of Tsar Boris the 3rd (ruled 1918 – 1943) with Princess Giovanna of Savoy in 1930, his funeral in 1943 and the funerals of Patriarch Cyril in 1971 and the funeral of the great opera singer Boris Hristov in 1993.
Nowadays St. Alexander Nevski is the second largest Orthodox cathedral on the Balkan Mountain.
Entrance for visitors: free
Route to St. Alexander Nevski Temple from Art Hotel Simona:
- Bus № 83 – transfer from the station “Gueshevo” to “Konstantin Velichkov” metro station”
- “Konstantin Velichkov” Metro Station -> Direction Mladost -> “Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski” station