Alexander Nevsky Cathedral | Sofia, Bulgaria

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This cross-domed Orthodox basilica was one of the monuments that initially sparked my interest in photography and of course, I eventually developed a longing to visit Sofia. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in the capital of Bulgaria, is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox churches in the world and incorporates different architectural elements from across Europe.

Often, whilst choosing a photo location for my following trip, I would think about the southern and eastern European countries. They have so much to offer and I still believe that they have not yet been discovered by the photography community. A  glimpse on Google images of Sofia, Bulgaria convinced me that there would be so much potential in photographing the city.

St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral stands in the heart of Sofia. When we visited, it was a sunny autumn day and there was hardly any traffic in the main squares and streets surrounding the church. I could easily stand in the middle of an alley to capture the side of the Cathedral. The sun was already reflecting in a golden setting, soon to set behind the mountains around the city. From the neighbouring café, there was pleasant music that caught my ears and while waiting for a shutter, I just couldn’t stop my gaze in admiration of the basilica stylings.

I have always admired the byzantine and neo-byzantine architecture. It has something unique… something independent, in my opinion. The Sofia Cathedral is one of the finest representatives of neo-byzantine architecture, which was the most popular style in the late 19th and early 20th Century in Eastern Orthodox countries. An example of this architectural style is present in previous images taken of the Podgorica Cathedral.

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia was mainly constructed in 1904 and 1912. What I found fascinating was that some of the elements of this orthodox church were made in my homeland. The lighting fixtures were created in Munich, the elements of the gate were manufactured in Berlin and the entire construction of the gate took place in Vienna. The mosaics, though, were created in Venice. Personally, the incorporating of so many elements from different countries in Sofia’s Cathedral, became, in my opinion, a symbolic union between the different European cultures.

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