The Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is an Orthodox church built in honor to Alexander II, also known as “Tsar the Liberator” because in 1878 his army liberated Bulgaria from the 5-year occupation of the Ottoman Empire and was named after him.

The temple is one of the symbols of Sofia and gives the spiritual and cultural outlook to the city.

The main stone was laid in 1882 at an elaborate ceremony and the construction was completed in 1912.

As the old tradition says, in the temple foundation there is a metal box with the names of the members of the then government. The temple’s design was made by architect Professor Alexander Pomerantsev.

At present the “St. Alexander Nevsky” cathedral is the second largest church on the Balkan peninsula after the St. Sava Cathedral (Serbia) and it serves as the cathedral church of the Bulgarian patriarch.

It is an impressive five-nave church in Neo-Byzantine style – cross-domed basilica featuring an emphasized central dome. It occupies an area of 3170 sq. m. and can hold up to 5000 people. Its exquisite decoration inside consists of Italian marble, Brazilian onyx, alabaster, etc.

The main dome is 45 m high. The central dome has the Lord’s Prayer inscribed around it, with thin gold letters.

The bell tower reaches almost 53 m and there are 12 bells with a total weight of 23 tons and they are made in Moscow.

In the temple’s basement is the Crypt where one can find alphabetically arranged around 300 items, mainly icons but also wall painting fragments and stamp patterns.

The items date from the 9th century up until the 19th century. The collection is the most representative one reflecting the development of icon painting on Bulgarian soil.

In 1924 the cathedral was proclaimed a monument of culture.