Church of Saint George

Sofia, Bulgaria

The Church of Saint George is a Late Antique red brick rotunda in Sofia, Bulgaria. Built in the early 4th century as Roman baths, it became a church inside the walls of Serdica, capital of ancient Dacia Mediterranea during the Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire. The Early Christian church is considered the oldest building in modern Sofia and belongs to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

The building, a cylindrical domed structure built on a square base, is famous for the 12th-, 13th-, and 14th-century frescoes inside the central dome. Three layers of frescoes have been discovered, the earliest dating back to the 10th century. Frescoes of 22 prophets over 2 metres tall crown the dome. Painted over during the Ottoman period, when the building was used as a mosque, these frescoes were only uncovered and restored in the 20th century.

Outstanding among all the murals is the one from the 10th century, created most probably during the reign of the emperors Simeon I the Great, Peter I and Samuil. The soulful human face of an angel, painted under the dome, is unique and one of the most influential examples of the high mastery of Bulgarian artistic school of the golden age of the First Bulgarian Empire.

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Founded: 4th century AD
Category: Religious sites in Bulgaria

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kaitlin Maurer (7 months ago)
Super awesome place and gorgeous fresco inside! It does not cost any money to visit and It took a little bit to find being surrounded by other buildings.The ladies inside the church were extremely friendly. No photos are allowed inside of the church and so you must go see the fresco in person.
Seah Shao Jun Nigel (8 months ago)
The Rotunda Church is a great summary of Bulgaria's history, from the Roman times to the Communist era and now our modern days. It was built initially as a Roman bath, then converted into a church. During the rules of the Ottomans, it was a mosque and then it became a church again when Bulgaria gained independence. Then during the Communist days, the government buildings were built around it so that this religious building will not be in public eyes, which I believe helped it survive till today. It is free and uniquely positioned. Come in and walk to get a beautiful look at the church
CK Cheong (10 months ago)
Church with interesting structure and layout. Believed to be the oldest building in Sofia. Would be better if it is not blocked by the surrounding buildings and accorded the status it deserved
Georges Younes (2 years ago)
Surrounded by much taller and much newer government buildings, St. George Rotunda Church is one of the most remarkable structures in Sofia. Originally built as a Roman Bath in the 4th century, this red brick building was converted into a church, became a mosque during the rule of the Ottomans and was reconsecrated as an Orthodox Church when Bulgaria regained its independence. There are beautiful frescoes inside. They had been painted over by the Ottomans and rediscovered and restored in the 20th century. Behind and around the building, there are remains of the old Roman city. Walk around to get a sense of the history of the place and for beautiful perspectives of the church.
Ally Hunter (2 years ago)
Super awesome place and gorgeous fresco inside! It does not cost any money to visit and I highly recommend that you do so. It’s beautifully situated inside the walls of government buildings I believe? There is even a restaurant close to the rotunda if you’re looking for a bite to eat while looking at the church. The ladies inside the church were extremely friendly and welcoming. No photos are allowed inside of the church and so you must go see the fresco in person.
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