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SOFIA (Bulgarian Sredetz, the middle ...

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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 345 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SOFIA (Bulgarian Sredetz, the middle town, a name now little used), the capital of Bulgaria, situated almost in the centre of an upland plain, about 1700 ft. above sea-level, between the Western Balkans on the N. and Mt Vitosh on the S. Pop. (1907) 82,187. Two small tributaries of the river Isker, the Perlovetz and the Eleshnitza or Boyana, flow respectively on the east and west sides of the town. Since 188o the city has been almost entirely renovated in the " European " style; the narrow tortuous lanes and mean houses of the Turkish epoch have almost disappeared, and a new town with straight parallel streets has been constructed in the eastern suburb. The oldest building in Sofia is the little round chapel of St George in the Jewish quarter—originally, it is said, a Roman temple; then a church, then a mosque, and now a church once more. Of the principal mosques the large Buyuk Djamfa, with nine metal cupolas, has become the National Museum; the Tcherna Djamfa or Black Mosque, latterly used as a prison, has been transformed into a handsome church; the Banyabashi Djamfa, with its picturesque minaret, is still used by Moslem worshippers. Close to the last-named in the centre of the town, are the public baths with hot springs (temperature .117° F ). In the cathedral or church of Sveti Kral (the Saint King), a modern building, are preserved the remains of the Servian king Stefan Urosh II A large new cathedral dedicated to St Alexander Nevski was in course of construction in 1907; the foundation stone was taken from the church of St Sophia. The palace of the prince, occupying the site of the Turkish konak was built by Prince Alexander in 188o-1882; it has been greatly enlarged by King Ferdinand. In front of the palace is the public garden or Alexander Park. The theatre, the largest in south-eastern Europe, was completed in 1906. Other important buildings are the Sobranye, or parliament house, the palace of the synod, the ministries of war and commerce, the university with the national printing press, the national library, the officers' club and several large military structures. A small
End of Article: SOFIA (Bulgarian Sredetz, the middle town, a name now little used)
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