The church of St. Sophia is the oldest church in the Bulgarian capital, and the church that gives its name to the city. Built in the 6th century during the reign of Emperor Justinian, the church quickly became the most important centre of worship in the Sofia Valley.
During the long period of Ottoman rule, two minarets were erected and it was used as a mosque until an earthquake in the 19th century toppled one of the towers and its use as a centre of Islamic worship was abandoned.It was in 1900 that work began on the restoration of this Orthodox church, which was so important for the newly independent Bulgaria. The church has a cross plan with three altars and rich ornamental frescoes with natural motifs. Next to the church is the tomb of the unknown soldier, and nearby is the tomb of the Bulgarian national poet Ivan Vazov. The Church of St. Sophia is an essential visit on any trip to the Bulgarian capital.