Alexander Nevsky Catedral
The St. Alexander Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral Stauropigial Memorial-Church rises in the center of Sofia, in a big square bearing its name. The Cathedral represents the material expression of gratitude of the Bulgarian people for the remarkable self sacriftee of the 200,000 Russian heroes who by their unprecedented valour, resolution and boundless fraternal love, at the price of their blood and life, in the Russo-Turkish Liberation War (1877-1878) broke the chains of the neany five century Ottoman bondage and gaven the pepole their priceless freedom.
The magnificent St. Alexander Nevsky Memorial Church, built to the designs of architect Pomerantsev from 1904 to 1912, is one of the finest pieces of 20th century architecture in Sofia. The interior is just as splendid in materials and craftsmanship: Italian marble, Brazilian onyx, African alabaster, frescoes and woodcarvings by the best Bulgarian and Russian artists.
The underground crypt has an impressive collection of icons. The exposition opened in 1964 and features icons from across Bulgaria that are among the 9th to 18th century masterpieces in the Balkans.
The St. Alexander Nevsky Memorial-Church is an impressive five nave basilica of a cruciform domed type with basic Byzantine style elements, influenced in some parts by eastern models. Its builtup area is 3,170sq.m . and its total volume about 86,000sq.m. Its external length is 73.50m. and the width 50.52m. From the pavement level to the tower cross, the height of the memorial-church is 50.52 m, that of the central dome 46.27m and of the roof bridge 28m. The main dome has a commanding position over a number of half-domes, rounded and straight on the apses of the church which lend it impressive stateliness. It is balanced by the lighter, soaring tower which gives the entire edifice the character of a monument.
On the eastern side of the monitorial-church there are three altar apses, the central one of which, in comparison with the two lateral, projects and forms a semicircle. Over this apse, from a slightly receding point, rises the semispherical part of the main body of the church. There are similar projections, one on the southern side and another on the northern. Over the semidoms of these projections, on a broad cylindrical drum rests the main dome in the shape of an inverted bowl. Its diameter measures 18 m.
On the western side of the main three-door vaulted entrance of the northern rises the bell tower which ends in a dome. The latter is placed on threefold columns, between which there are wide apertures. Through them one sees the twelve bells, the largest of which is weighs 11,758 kg, the second largest 6,002 kg, the third 2,911 kg and the smallest 10 kg. On a nice and calm day the ringing of the largest bell is heard as far as 30km from Sofia. Below the bells ,it a considerable height over the main entrance is placed the mosaic icon of St. Alexander Nevsky by the Bulgarian artist Professor Anton Mitov.
The interior'of the St. AIexander Nevsky Patriarchal Cathedral Memorial-Church strikes one with its dimensions, the harmony of its architectural lines, its spaciousness and rich artistic decoration. The inside represents three naves and two aisles, the central nave considerably wider and lateral ones. Its central part is placed between four massive pillars which support the drum of the main dome through triangular spherical surfaces. All three naves are connected by high arches while smaller arches link them with the aisles.