Sofia – a University City

 

Sofia is located in the Sofia Valley, with an altitude of about 550 meters on a territory of 1,311 sq. km, populated areas and urbanized territories occupying 245.5 sq. km, agricultural land - 509 sq. km, forest areas - 466.5 sq. km, mining areas - 40.5 sq. km, territories for transportation and infrastructure - 20.6 sq. km and watercourses and water areas - about 40 sq. km.

The history of Sofia dates back seven thousand years ago, which is unique to Europe, placing Bulgaria's capital among the most ancient cities. To this day, objects from the Neolithic Era - remains of the Stone and Bronze Age, can be found in the city center. It is believed that the ancient people settled down in this place for its abundance of warm mineral springs. Most of them are in today's city center - near the old mineral bath, around the Presidency, in Lozenets district, in Gorna Banya and Knyazhevo neighborhoods. Their temperature ranges from 21° C to 42° C, and they are known for their healing properties.

The first tribe that inhabited the field is the Thracian tribe Serdi. They gave the first name of the city – Serdika. About 500 years B.C., the Odrisses - a well-known ethnicity, founded its kingdom. For a short time in the IV century B.C., the town became a possession of Philip and his son Alexander the Macedonian. Only once, in ’29 A.D., the city was conquered by the Roman legions during the reign of Emperor Trajan (98-117) and became the center of an administrative area. Its name was changed to Ulpia Serdika and was the central city in the area. Towers, walls, baths, administrative and religious buildings, civil basilica and a bouleuterion (a large amphitheater) were built in the city. In the II century, Serdika became the center of Lower Dacia province and prospered for about a century and a half, so rightly Emperor Constantine the Great called Serdika “my Rome”. The city is small but magnificent in terms of urban planning and architecture, rich in entertainment and social life. Serdika blossomed once more under the reign of Emperor Justinian when it was surrounded by massive walls, parts of which can be still seen today.

Sofia is the first Bulgarian university city. Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" is the first Bulgarian institution of higher education. Its history is the embodiment and legacy of centuries of culture and the enlightenment for the Bulgarian people. The idea of ​​establishing a Higher School was conceived during the Renaissance.

     

It all began in 1880, with the adoption of a Basic Law on Schools in the Bulgarian Principality by the National Assembly. The law states: "after the completion of the course of the true and classical high schools to open a Bulgarian higher school (university), covering the legal, philosophical, natural, medical and technical sciences".

     

Today, there are twenty-two universities in Sofia (about 1/3 of the universities in the country), including Sofia University, medical universities, economics universities and many others.  Thanks to many annual seminars and congresses organized here, academic life is dynamic, engaging not only students and professors from Sofia and the state but also overseas. The students in Sofia have at their disposal dormitories, most of which located in a separate neighborhood - Student's Town, with its infrastructure and management meeting their specific needs. There is a sufficient number of canteens to provide nourishment to the students during the working days. There are many places for relaxation - cafeterias and restaurants, sports facilities like swimming pools, gyms, football fields, volleyball playgrounds, and so on. The vibrant atmosphere of the neighborhood, located at the foot of Vitosha Mountain, also contributes to a healthy lifestyle.