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The city of Sofia (Bulgarian: София), at the foot of the Vitosha mountain, has a population of 1,178,579 (2001est), and is the capital of the Republic of Bulgaria in Southeastern Europe.


Founded seven thousand years ago, Sofia is the second oldest capital city in Europe. It has been given several names in the course of history and the remnants of the old cities can still be seen today.

Sofia was originally a Thracian settlement named Sardica, named after the Thracian tribe of Serdi. It was captured by Rome in AD 29 and became the capital of Dacia Mediterranea province. It was destroyed by the Huns in 447. The city was rebuilt by Byzantine Emperor Justinian I and renamed Triaditsa. Known as Sredets under the Bulgars, it was renamed Sofia in 1376. Sofia was taken by the Ottomans in 1382 and became the capital of the Turkish province of Rumelia. Sofia was taken by the Russians in 1878, and became the capital of an independent Bulgaria in 1879. During World War II the Russians captured Sofia and Bulgaria from the pro-German government.

There are 16 universities in the city, among which Sofia University, founded in 1889. It is the see of an Eastern Orthodox metropolitan and of a Roman Catholic diocese. Landmarks include the Church of St. George, the Church of St. Sofia, the Banya Bashi, and the Alexander Nevski Cathedral.

The manufacturing sector of the economy includes metal products, textiles, rubber and leather goods.

See also: List of cities in Bulgaria

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