One of the oldest capital cities in Europe, Sofia dates back to the 8th century BC, when Thracians established a settlement there. Its landmarks reflect more than 2,000 years of history, including Greek, Roman, Ottoman and Soviet occupation. Among them, the Medieval Boyana Church (one of the UNESCO World Heritage protected sites) has 13th-century frescoes. Built by the Romans in the 4th century, St. George Rotunda Church has medieval and Ottoman decoration dating to the 10th century. The Alexander Nevski Cathedral is one of the world's largest Orthodox churches, and the early Byzantine Church of St Sophia, houses a subterranean museum with an ancient necropolis, with 56 tombs and the remains of four other churches.
Sofia houses numerous museums, notably The National Historical Museum in Boyana district has a vast collection of more than 650,000 historical items dating from Prehistory to the modern era. Sofia is one of the hippest cities in Bulgaria. It has a lively nightlife scene with many different night clubs, live venues, pubs, mehani (Bulgarian traditional taverns), and restaurants. The city also offers vast parks and manicured gardens, and the ski slopes and hiking trails of mighty Mt Vitosha are just a short bus ride away.
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