Tranquil atmosphere, beautiful piece of architecture, Sofia tour guide

A tour guide is the person who makes your experience with a different culture, in a different country, more interesting and better understood. A Sofia tour guide with their local (not only) knowledge for the capital of Bulgaria, is surely here to share it with you.

Not a very big church was St Nikolai Sofijski Church inaugarated on Dec 3 1900. First, came the idea for it. Then, came the difficulties with making the plans, getting permission for building it, raising funds, the construction itself… Eventually, after 20 years, the church was completed. And the result is a small and very beautiful church that attracts with its serene atmosphere.

The church is located on Pirotska Street, in the neighbourhood of Uc Bunar (Uc Bunar means Three Wells), in downtown Sofia. There is a lovely green garden with lots of flowers around the church. Some 300 m away is the grave of the patron of the church – Saint Nikolai Sofijiski (St Nikolai of Sofia).

Sofia tour guide tells about a saint

St Nikolai Sofijiski is a Christian saint who lived in the 16th century in Sofia, Bulgaria and is considered a martyr in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Back then, Bulgaria was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. St Nikolai Sofijiski was a Bulgarian, born in Greece. He was a very honest person who worked hard as a shoemaker. Nikolai Sofijiski moved to Sofia where he started making good money. Nevertheless, he never forgot his devotion to help the poor and the prisoners. Soon, Nikolai’s qualities and good heart made Sofians love him. They made him marry a local girl so they could keep him in Sofia.

Sofia tour guideNikolai Sofijiski was once again an object of envy in Sofia. Because of that, he had to leave for Romania. He couldn’t, though, stay long there and went back to Sofia. Nikolai loved his wife and children and needed to be next to them. He was 45 by that time. Being immediately noticed for his qualities by the Turkish people of the day, Nikolai Sofijiski was several times forced to change his religion.

He was once invited to lunch where after having fallen asleep (due to a sleeping pill in his drink) he was circumcised. When he woke up and understood what had happened to him, he escaped and didn’t leave his house for a year.

Nikolai Sofijiski grave

One day Nikolai was invited to visit the mosque, but he absolutely refused. He was arrested and taken to the prison. There he was tormented severely. A Turkish hit his head really badly with wood. The night Nikolai Sofijiski prayed with all his heart. God heard his prayers and healed him. Everybody admired the miracle. Saint Nikolai Sofijiski was found not guilty of anything by the judge (‘kadi’ in Turkish). Nevertheless, the crowd was not happy with the judge’s decision. It took him out of Sofia (at that time that was the Uc Bunar area), where he was killed with stones on 17 May 1555.

Sofia tour guide mentioned the grave of St Nikolai Sofijiski. At the beginning of the 70’s of XX century, a small chapel had been erected where the grave is. The chapel is open every day of the week in the early afternoon.

(A note by the author) How far we can go for our religion?!

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