Emerging around a hot mineral spring, at the crossroads of crucial routes connecting Western Europe with Asia Minor and the Middle East and the Baltic with the Aegean, the city of Sofia has seen and remembered much. A millennial permanence that very few European cities can boast.
In the New Stone Age (Neolithic), 6th – 5th millennium BC, the closest among the many prehistoric settlements in the Sofia field was in today’s Slatina district. Remains of the next Copper Stone Age (Chalcolithic), IV – III millennium BC, have already been discovered much closer to today’s capital centre, on the now lowered terrace near Knyaz Alexander Battenberg Square, where the buildings of the National Art Gallery and the National Ethnographic Institute with Museum are located.
The ancient Neolithic settlements and the Thracian city that grew out of them, which emerged around the thermal springs that are still preserved today, were later named Serdica by the Romans – i.e. the city of the Serdites, after the Thracian tribe that inhabited it. Although few, finds from this era attest to the presence of a thriving Thracian settlement in the area between the CUM and the Sheraton Hotel. This era marked the beginning of Sofia’s historic city centre, which has not changed its location to this day.
In its centuries-long development, Sofia has always played an important role in the history of the Bulgarian lands as a centre, a natural crossroads of the roads connecting the East with the West, as well as the countries to the north of Bulgaria with those to the south of it. A unique city that grows but does not age and has a history of more than 7000 years.