Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia

The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (български. Храм-паметник „Свети Александър Невски“, Hram-pametnik „Sveti Aleksandar Nevski“) is a Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Built in Neo-Byzantine style, it serves as the cathedral church of the Patriarch of Bulgaria and is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world, as well as one of Sofia's symbols and primary tourist attractions. The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia occupies an area of 3170 m² and can take 5,000 people inside.

Architecture

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a cross-domed basilica featuring an emphasized central dome. The cathedral's gold-plated dome is 45 m high, with the bell tower reaching 50.52 m. The temple has 12 bells with total weight of 23 tons, the heaviest weighing 12 tons and the lightest 10 kg. The interior is decorated with Italian marble in various colours, Brazilian onyx, alabaster, and other luxurious materials. The central dome has the Lord's Prayer inscribed around it with thin gold letters.

Design and construction

The construction of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral started in 1882 (having been planned since 19 February, 1879), when the foundation stone was laid, but it was in fact built between 1904 and 1912 in honour to the Russian soldiers who died during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, as a result of which Bulgaria was liberated from Ottoman rule.

The cathedral was designed by Alexander Pomerantsev, aided by Alexander Smirnov and Alexander Yakovlev, as the initial 1884-1885 project of Ivan Bogomolov was radically changed by Pomerantsev. The final design was finished in 1898 and the construction and decoration were done by a team of Bulgarian, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and other European artists, architects and workers, including the aforementioned architects, as well as Petko Momchilov, Yordan Milanov, Haralampi Tachev, Ivan Mrkvička, Vasily D. Bolotnov, Nikolay A. Bruni, A.A. Kiselyov, Anton Mitov and many others.

The marble parts and the lighting fixtures were created in Munich, the metal elements for the gates in Berlin, while the gates themselves were manufactured in Karl Bamberg's factory in Vienna, and the mosaics were shipped from Venice.

Name changes

The name of the cathedral was briefly changed to the Sts. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral between 1916 and 1920, but then the initial name was restored. The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was proclaimed a monument of culture on 12 September, 1924.

Museum and market

There is a museum of Bulgarian icons inside the cathedral crypt, part of the National Art Gallery. The church claims that the museum contains the largest collection of Orthodox icons in Europe. Around the cathedral one can buy handmade textiles and antiques in a small flea market.

External links

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Dan Millard
3 March 2017
Iconic, beautiful church is a must-see sight for any visitor to Sofia. In many ways, more impressive outside than in, but still worth sticking your head In for a few peaceful minutes!
Peter Sabev
10 June 2013
The cathedral occupies an area of 3,170 square metres (34,100 sq ft) and can hold 10,000 people inside. It is the second biggest cathedral on the Balkans after the Cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade.
National Geographic Traveller (UK)
This huge Orthodox temple was built during the euphoria after Bulgaria was freed from Turkish control. A century of smoking candles gives its ornate frescoes the semblance of faded medieval survivors
Doc Druzsin
5 February 2018
If you guys have the chance to have a short visit to Sofia, Bulgaria, believe me it’s worth doing it, going around the Cathedral and entering for some silent minutes, it is a must!
Juanxito Gómez
7 August 2018
Second biggest cathedral in the Balkan. No doubts that it's and amazing place for visit. It has free entrance. Also inside is so beautiful.
Murad.
11 March 2018
Müthiş bir yapı. İçeride fotoğraf çekilme 10 leva :) Kesinlikle gezilmesi lazım.
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