Sofia, Bulgaria

St. George's Rotunda, Sofia, Bulgaria

The oldest church, and indeed the oldest building, in Sofia – St. George’s Rotunda dates to the early 4th Century AD when the Romans built a temple here at the centre of their city of Serdica.

When Christianity arrived the temple was converted into a red brick rotunda church, considered to be amongst the very oldest of church buildings in Europe (one of those things that it is difficult to prove in favour of any particular structure).

The church is best known for its frescoes that are painted around the inside of the Dome. The earliest surviving fragments are 10th Century, but the majority date to the 12th-14th Centuries. The Ottomans painted over these frescoes when they turned St. George’s Rotunda into a mosque and the frescoes were not uncovered again until early in the 20th Century.

Today the church sits oddly in a courtyard between 18th Century buildings including the Sheraton Hotel.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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