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Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia, Bulgaria

Alexander Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral was built between 1882 and 1912 in honor of the brave Russian soldiers fallen during the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule during the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-78. The total area of the church is 3170 sq. meters, the height of the main dome is 45 meters and the bell tower is 53 meters.

The church was initially designed by architect Ivan Bogomolov in 1884-1885, but later in 1904-1912, design was cardinally changed by architect Alexander Pomerantsev. This majestic basilica with five halls, decorated with mosaics and stained glass windows of the Byzantine style. For interior decorations there are used such exclusive materials as Italian marble and Brazilian onyx. The frescoes and carvings are made by 32 Russian and 13 Bulgarian artists. The central altar is dedicated to St. Alexander Nevsky, the South one to St. Boris, who has brought Christianity to Bulgaria and the North altar to St. Cyril and St.Methodius.

The main dome rises above a set of small rounded semi-domes, which are creating the cathedral's special luxury and elegance.

The eastern side of the church is made in the form of three apses. Over the central apse, that forms a semicircle with the side apses, rises the semicircular part of the main cathedral. Southern and northern parts of the church are designed in the same style.

Over the arc-shaped three-door entrance rises the belfry with twelve bells crowned by a dome. The largest bell weighs 11.758 kg, the second - 6.002 kg, the third - 2.911 kg, and all the rest bells weigh 10 kg. There is a mosaic image of St. Alexander Nevsky under the belfry dome made by Bulgarian artist, professor Anton Mitov.

Cathedral, one of the symbols of Sofia, is open daily from 07.00 to 18.00. Admission is free.

Article and Photos by Lilit Vanesyan,


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