Monday, August 7, 2017

The Hidden Rotunda Gem




Hidden gem - that's what they call the little reddish brick circular church St. George (Sveti Georgi) in Sofia. Hidden, because it's practically tucked away in the  backyard of the Presidency building and what used to be Sheraton Hotel (now Sofia Balkan Hotel). Although central, it's  a bit difficult to find, as it is not seen from the street. I went through an arch passage in the presidential building and then had to descend several stairs to get to it.


the church as seen from the arch passage way

The church , considered the oldest building in Sofia, is charming, both outside and inside. I visited it twice as I have a weak spot for round structures ,and this one is particularly attractive and interesting. Photography of the interior is forbidden; there's a tiny souvenir shop inside selling photos of the beautiful icons and frescoes seen on the church's walls /dome, and some religious artifacts.



entrance to the church

This little church definitely has it all: architecture( low and simple, in  contrast to the communist style tall buildings surrounding it),religion (orthodox,still in use as a place of worship), history(dates back to the 4th century), archeology (it stands amid ruins of the ancient Roman town Serdica).

Roman ruins in the church's garden

It is now bordered  on one side by a cafe-restaurant named Rotunda and on the other side, across the entrance, by a souvenir/art gallery shop - both intended for the many tourists and locals that visit the place.


the Rotunda restaurant

                              souvenir shop across the church's entrance

When inside or outside it, one feels a kind of serenity/peacefulness overcoming him/her, and  senses the presence of  Divinity all over the place. A 'must see' in Sofia.

peacefulness



24 comments:

  1. It looks like a pizza oven! Small and hidden indeed. A real gem.

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  2. If you say so.. I hardly know what a pizza oven looks like. I know many visitors fall in love with this little church. That includes me, who should perhaps fall in love only with synagogues, as I'm of jewish faith.

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  3. I would love to visit some day. It is so lovely. Thank you Duta for sharing.

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  4. If you ever happen to be in Sofia (Serdika is the original name), do look for this central yet hidden little church. You won't regret and won't forget it.

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  5. Yay! The comments are working! I stopped by yesterday but the comments wouldn't work for me. This is a lovely little church. I think what you fall in love with DUTA is the peacefulness. Like you say, you sense the Divinity. I would love to visit! Of course we have so many beautiful missions up and down the California coastline and I've only visited 2, so I guess I should start here!

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    1. Whenever I publish a new post, the comment box disappears. I constantly forget about this issue, and only after a day or two, when I see no comment at all, I begin to suspect and go check the settings.

      You're right; if you happen to be inside or outside this church(which is not at street level) at a certain segment of the day when there are few visitors, you feel a great peacefulness falling upon you, and it's a very pleasant feeling.

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  6. There is nothing like tapping into that peace. It looks like a lovely building to worship in. I like the cafe behind it too! And those cobble stone streets, so interesting and old. Yeah, I visited yesterday morning and couldn't leave a comment. But I was thinking of you!

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    1. I noticed there were no sharp smells coming from the cafe-restaurant; perhaps out of respect for the church and its visitors, odors are neutralized and food is carefully chosen.

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  7. What a gorgeous church I like the round features as well. The restaurant looks good too and the little dolls inside the tourist shops.

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    1. Indeed, the whole spot(church, cafe, souvenir shop) is worth a visit.
      The garden of the church with its Roman remains attracts them all: worshippers, children, archeology freaks.

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  8. Duta, the architecture of this church is very unique. The restaurant and souvenir shop sounds charming. When the girls travel, they love to go to mass at the old cathedrals. It is quite an experience for them. Is that you sitting there in the last picture? It's nice to see our blog friend's faces once in awhile. : )

    ~Sheri

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    1. I must say any circular structure is to me unique. But as I wrote in the post - this one has it all.
      Yes, that's me sitting there.

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  9. What a delightful tour! Thank you for taking us! Lovely building, and you look wonderful!

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  10. I am always so excited when I drop by your blog and am able to experience these virtual tours. You explain so well.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Your words flatter me. Hope my other readers also think I explain things well.

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  11. I must not have commented when I came here before. I like the rotunda building. The arch on the church is so pretty! Nice to see Sofia

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    1. What's there not to like. Arches and round structures are beautiful everywhere, anytime.

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  12. Oh gosh I wish I could visit. I love places that give an aura of peacefulness and I enjoy shops that have religious artifacts. I usually buy something as a reminder of that peace. Thanks for sharing.

    Cindy

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    1. Taking your picture there is also a good reminder and memento of the place and its atmosphere.

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  13. Very interesting, Duta! Definitely small and hidden and it would be great to visit it. So serene and interesting architecture. Thanks for the tour, I would love to go there one of these days. Thanks for sharing@

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    1. Hi Pam,
      If you ever are in Europe, don't skip Sofia! It's cheap and has several worth- seeing attractions such as the Rotunda church.

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  14. what an amazing place! I love the archways, so pretty.

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  15. I THINK SO TOO, AND I'M VERY FOND OF ARCHWAYS.

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