One of the oldest capitals in Europe
Signs of life date back as early as 1st millennium BCE. Inhabited by Thracians and later incorporated into the Roman Empire, after the 6th century AD, Sofia became home to Slavs, ruled by the Byzantium before becoming part of the Bulgarian kingdom.
Capital Since 1879
Sofia became the capital after a heated vote in the first post- independence Bulgarian Parliament. The other contenders were Veliko Tarnovo, Plovdiv, and Rousse. Sofia was not a clear favorite. It won by just two votes.
Hot Mineral Springs
Sofia Valley boasts more than 30 mineral springs, most hotter than 33°C (91.4°F) and low in mineralization, making the water perfect for consumption (after proper cooling at least). The hot mineral springs in the very center of the city, next to the building of the Central Mineral Baths, have been used since antiquity.
Sofia is not the original name of the city. Throughout history, it has been known to have at least three other names: Serdica, Triadica and Sredets. Since the 14th century Sofia is named after one of its oldest churches, the basilica St. Sofia.
The City of Yellow Brick Roads
The unique ceramic pavement that covers much of Sofia's central part was specially produced in a brick factory near Budapest over 100 years ago. Today the expression "yellow bricks" has come to mean city center.
You probably got the name wrong
Locals pronounce the name of their city with the emphasis on the first syllable.
If pronounced with emphasis on the last (as many foreigners do), it becomes a popular female name.
Relocation to the capital
During Communism, people were not allowed to permanently relocate to the capital (and other big cities) at will. Marriage to a local or accepting a Sofia-based factory job were about the only two ways to permanently move to the capital.
Sofia sits in a highly seismic zone.The last strong earthquake was felt in May, 2012 (5.6 magnitude). Numerous smaller ones are almost part of daily life.
At 550 m above sea level, Sofia is one of the highest capitals in Europe - after Andorra la Vella (1,023 m), San Marino (749 m), Madrid (667 m), and Pristina (652 m) - sitting at the base of Vitosha Mountain, a convenient place to hike, mountain bike and ski.
For close to five centuries, Sofia was the capital of the Ottoman Empire’s European province. It was the seat of the Ottoman administration and the stronghold of the Ottoman army in the region. Many architectural remains of the time still stand.