The Memorial Temple “St. Alexander Nevsky” is one of the biggest attractions in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia. The huge cathedral, the second largest on the Balkans after the cathedral “Saint Sava” in the Serbian capital Belgrade, was built in a Neo-Byzantine style. It took approximately three decades to be completely finished. The construction began on March 3rd, 1882 (during the late 19th century) with an official first stone laid ceremony and finished in the early 20th century, in 1912.
The idea of building a memorial church was offered during the first National Assembly after the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule.
The future temple was intended to be a symbol of all the Bulgarian and Russian soldiers that lost their lives in the Russo-Turkish War.
Initially, for the construction of the future Orthodox cathedral was selected the architectural project of the Bulgarian architect Ivan Bogomilov.
After his death, however, the important task was assigned to the Russian architects Alexander Pomerantsev, Alexander Smirnov and Alexander Yakovlev.
The majestic building now stands at a height of 53 meters above the square of “St.Alexander Nevsky” in one of the busiest and most modern parts of the city, in the center of Sofia. It covers an area of 3,170 square meters and can accept thousands of visitors.
The cathedral was built of stone, and its domes are gold plated. The church is the center of the Orthodox faith and the seat of the Bulgarian Patriarch.
At the request of Russia, the Memorial Temple “St. Alexander Nevsky” is named after the great knyaz who ruled between 1252 and 1263 the Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal, which was part of the so-called Kievan Rus.
The interior of the cathedral is very impressive, decorated with highly esteemed imported marble, precious icons and frescoes. From inside the dome of the “St.Alexander Nevsky” cathedral is written in gold letters the prayer “Our Father”.
The crypt of the Memorial Temple, which is under the ground, keep the most valuable exhibits in the cathedral, and some of them date back more than 1,000 years.
The beautiful Orthodox temple is one of the most ornate in the country. During the Christian holidays the liturgies that are held here attract tens of thousands of laymen.
When to visit the church “St. Alexander Nevsky? The temple is open every day from 7:00am to 5:30pm. The opening hours of the crypt does not fully coincide with these of the cathedral.
The crypt is open between 10:30am and 6:00pm during the summer season. The opening hours in winter are respectively from 10:00am to 5:30pm.
How to get there? The Memorial Temple “St. Alexander Nevsky” is located in one the most central and neuralgic points of Sofia. For this reason most public transport routes pass through the area of the cathedral.