Founded in 7000 BC and re-built over Roman Empire ruins, Sofia is home to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral–one of the world’s biggest Orthodox cathedrals noted for its gold-plated domes and sophisticated artwork.
Sofia is Europe’s fourth-highest capital city, elevated 1,804 feet (550 meters) above sea level. Located in southeastern Europe, In addition, Bulgaria’s capital city has the severest air pollution readings for any capital city of a country belonging to the European Union.
Research website numbeo ranks Sofia in the bottom third compared to the 250 cities evaluated on its overall quality of life index at June 2020. Sofia scored poorly on index factors such as health care (lowest 18%), pollution (worst 22%) and purchasing power (weakest 33%). On the positive side, Sofia rated relatively well on traffic commute time (fastest 30%) and cost of living (lowest 35%).
Europe’s second-leading IT hub, Sofia is home to a vibrant information technology sector. Sofia provides a base serving the regional tech needs of multinationals such as Coco Cola, Hewlett-Packard and credit-reporting firm Experian.
Sofia was recognized by the Guinness World Records as where Konsul Ltd Mayonnaise Kraissi created the largest pot of mayonnaise ever. The record condiment weighed 488.54 pounds (221.6 kilograms) celebrating the company’s 25th anniversary.
Another Guinness World Record was set in Bulgaria’s capital city as the site for the largest parade of Ford motor cars. The parade stretched 12.43 miles (20 kilometers) and involved 1,527 cars.
From an international trade perspective, Bulgaria exported US$33.9 billion worth of products around the globe in 2019. Its most valuable exports include refined petroleum oils (7.4% of Bulgaria’s global total), drugs and medicines (3.1%), refined copper and alloys (3%), wheat and meslin (2.9%), unrefined copper anodes (2.3%), precious-metal ores and concentrates (1.8%), insulated wire or cable (1.7%), corn (1.4%), biodiesel (1.3%), sunflower seeds (also 1.3%), and electrical energy (1.2%) according to the International Trade Centre.
Capital Facts for Sofia, Bulgaria: Quick Reference
Below, you will find 10 of the most famous people born in Sofia, Bulgaria.
- Stefan Sofiyanski, former mayor (born Nov. 7, 1951)
- Andrea, pop singer (born Jan. 23, 1987)
- Lazar Angelov, competitive body builder (born Sep. 22, 1984)
- Nina Dobrev, actress (born Jan. 9, 1989)
- Stanislav Ianevski, actor (born May 16, 1985)
- KrisKo, award-winning DJ (born May 11, 1988)
- Kubrat Pulev, heavyweight boxer (born May 4, 1981)
- Ivet Lalova, Olympic gold medal sprinter (born May 18, 1984)
- Mira Aroyo, pianist (born Jul. 11, 1977)
- Alex Maleev, cartoonist (born Sep. 30, 1971)
- Stoyanka Mutafova, actress (born Feb. 2, 1922)
Note: Data for our Famous People tab was sourced from Google searches mostly targeting published Wikipedia articles specific to each person’s name.
Demonym(s) for a Sofia resident: Sofian (Sofien)
Population: 1,280,968 (Sofia) at August 11, 2020
Density: 6,742 people per square mile (2,604 per square kilometer)
Population: 6,942,486 (Bulgaria) at August 11, 2020
Density: 166 people per square mile (64 per square kilometer)
Median age for all Bulgaria: 44.6 years old
GDP: US$171.2 billion for 2019 (Bulgaria)
GDP per person: $24,595
Note: The above country-level GDP metrics are on a Purchasing Power Parity basis and are in U.S. dollars. Credible city GDP statistics for Sofia were unavailable.
Official currency used in Sofia: Bulgarian lev
Capital landmarks: National Historical Museum, National Art Gallery, Saint Alexander Nevski Cathedral, Church of St. George, Boyana Church, Saint Nedelja Church and the Buyuk-Djarna Mosque archaeological museum
Brookings Institution, Global Metro Monitor Report (includes GDP data).
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Europe: Bulgaria.
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Field Listing: Major Urban Areas.
CityMetric, Where are largest cities in the world? 2015 edition.
Demographia, World Urban Area, 12th Annual Edition.
Guinness World Records, Largest parade of Ford cars.
Guinness World Records, Largest pot of mayonnaise.
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Numbeo, Quality of Life Index by City.
Official Government Website, Sofia Municipality.
Wikimedia Commons, City Flags.
Note: Some city flags were unavailable. If so, attribution belongs to Wikimedia Commons for pertinent country flags.
WorldOMeter, Bulgaria Population.
World Population Review, Sofia Population.
On March 3, 1878 Bulgaria became an autonomous principality within the Ottoman Empire. Today Bulgarians celebrate Liberation Day as a public holiday each March 3.
Bulgaria’s capital Sofia covers an area measuring 190 square miles (492 square kilometers). An estimated 1.3 million people lived in the city as of August 11, 2020.
At the country level, Bulgaria’s land area extends over 41,915 square miles (108,560 square kilometers). The nation’s population count was 6.9 million inhabitants at August 2020.
Population density is more concentrated within Sofia averaging 6,742 Sofians per square mile (2,604 per square kilometer).
Zooming out to Bulgaria’s overall land boundaries, population density drops to an average 166 residents per square mile (64 per square kilometer).