Text version

The underground museum under the "St. Sofia" church provokes unprecedented audience interest

The underground museum under the "St. Sofia" church provokes unprecedented audience interest

The number of those who want to explore the ancient necropolis under the "St. Sofia" church continues to be huge. A month after its opening people patiently wait for their turn to visit the unique museum, located in an active Orthodox Christian church. On the four underground levels below the basilica visitors can see 56 tombs and four churches, one of which dates back to the 4th century AD. Visits are scheduled for groups of up to 8 people and the tour lasts about 20 minutes. The exhibition includes multimedia presentations with interesting footage of the history of the ancient temple. Of interest are authentic artifacts and finds as well as the magnificent Byzantine mosaic floor of the fourth century with images of cypresses and pigeons. Open for visitors is also the tomb of Honorius - a clergyman in Serdica (one of the previous names of the Bulgarian capital Sofia), located at the entrance of the current church.
The Basilica of "St. Sofia" (6th century AD) was built over the remains of several older churches from the time of the Roman Empire, which were destroyed during the invasions of Goths and Huns. During the second century it was the site of a Roman amphitheater. The cruciform basilica is provided with a narthex, three ships and a three-side apse. The still acting "St. Sofia" church, like the church with the same name (the Hagia Sophia Church in Constantinople (now Istanbul)), is dedicated to the "Wisdom of God" - the name of the young Jesus Christ. It is namely the Son of God, and not the martyr Sofia, who became patron of the contemporary Bulgarian capital as early as in the 14th century.
Today the basilica "St. Sofia" is one of the most significant early Christian monuments in South Eastern Europe with global significance.