Municipality of Sofia - Scredec District
#6 “Lege” str., PO Box 1040
Tel. (++359 – 2 ) 987 78 11
Fax: (++359 – 2 ) 986 18 37
“Sredets” District is located in the central part of the city and it is one of the 24 territorial administrations of the Metropolitan Municipality. Its size is 304 hectars and the number of its citizens is 40 000. Sredets is one of the ancient names of our capital city, named like this due to its inner location during the First Bulgarian Empire, when during the Spring of 809 Khan Krum conquered it and it became a Bulgarian town.
A part of the sanctuary “Serdica – Sredets – Sofia”, the Roman forum under St. Nedelja Square, fortress walls from the time of the Empire of Konstantine the Great, who said “Serdica is my second Rome”, could be seen in the District. Here the oldest building is situated – The St. George Rotunda, built in 4th century, the perfect shape of which is an object of admiration even nowadays. In 1469 the relic of St. Ivan Rilski were exhibited in it for 6 days during their transportation from Turnovo to the Rila Monastery. This event, related to the Bulgarian saint and protector, according to the writers of books about the saints’ life Vladislav Gramatik and others, who even though clarify his birth place as the village of Skrino, claim that “His home land is the town of Sredets”. This makes Sredets even more famous not only among the Orthodox society, but also in the Middle Europe. The St. Nedelja Church, still known as “St. Kral” is considered an important site of interest in the capital city, due to the fact that there the relic of the Serbian King Stefan Milutin are preserved. The grave of the Bulgarian Ezarkh Josef I is there. Near are the churches of “St. Petka”, called also “St. Parashkeva”, popular with the believe that the spring there has a curative effect. Not far away are also “St. Nikolay Mirlikliiski”, The Sofia Bishop’s Residence and St. St. Sedmochislenitsi”.
According to the chronical of St Nedelja Church in 1825 some funds were saved to pay a salary to the teacher in the municipal school named Joncho. In 1839 in Sofia Zahari Krusha from Samokov introduced the method of mutual teaching between the schoolchildren and in 1849 in the yard of the same church a two-storey building of the new school has been constructed. In 1857 a school with class levels is established and its principal teacher has become Sava Filaretov.
One of the most famous buildings in the District is the resting place of the beylerbey, which is located in the Northern part of the current public garden – it burned in 1816 and it was renovated in 1873. After the Liberation it was turned into a Royal’s Palace, and today it houses the National Art Gallery and the National Ethnography Museum. In “Lege” street, at the place where the current Town Hall of the District is, the resting place of Osman Nuri, the last Turkish commandant of Sofia, was situated.
After the Liberation, the District of Sredets consisted of several heighbourhoods (mahala), such as “Jazandjiiska Mahala” between Garibaldi Square and Alabin Street, “Bash Cheshma Mahala” between Solunska Street and Khan Asparuh Street, “Kafene Bashi Mahala” near Slaveikov Square, “Sheh Mahala” south-east to the “St. St. Sedmochislenitsi” Church, “Algina Mahala” – near G.S.Rakovski Street, etc. each of those neighbourhoods initially has exercised a certain self-governance.
In 1879 the first urban development plan of Sofia was drawn up by the city engineer S. Adamie and approved by Knjaz Batenberg /Batenberg’s plan/. It changed the outline of the city and in a great extent shaped the appearance of today’s “Sredets” District. Some of the most prominent architects and builders left their style in city’s architecture - arch. Konstantin Jovanovich – architect from Vienna and Bulgarian by origin, he is a designer of the National Assembly building. The first architect of the city – the Czech Antonin /Adolf/ Kolar was a designer of the Ministry of War, Bulgaria Hotel, The Military Club and other buildings. And the Swiss Hermann Meier was a designer of Slavjanska Beseda Chitalishte (chitalishte is a community centre i.e. place where people organize volunteer workshops in theatre, art, music, etc.), the buildings of the Bulgarian Academy of Science and the Bulgarian National Bank, as well as the mausoleum of Knjaz Alexander Batenberg, The Austrian Friedrich Grunanger is a designer of the Theological Academy (Faculty of Theology) and he took part in the renovation of the Royal Palace. Kiril Marichkov, graduated in Germany, was a designer of the National Revenew Agency in #4 Lege Street and the building in #2 Saborna Street, the former Imperial Hotel. Arch. Jordan Milanov, born in the town of Elena and graduated in architecture in Vienna, did the final design of the Rector’s office of Sofia University and it is a chief engineer of its construction.
The donor activities and charity of the outstanding figures of the Bulgarian national revival and of their admirable successors were widely practiced. This highly humane and volunteer tradition had its prominent representatives, who, together with other famous and some less known our compatriots, made an extremely valuable contribution for the increase and enrichment of the overall lifestyle and prosperity of Bulgaria and of its capital city. Their efforts helped to educate staff and professionals to be employed in administration, in the economic, cultural and educational fields, to build up educational hubs, to send some intelligent Bulgarian children to study abroad.
The first greatest donor is Ivan Nikolaevich Denkouglu. With his help and through the fund established after his name, the first modern school was built in Sofia, later named after his name. The two brothers Hristo and Evlogy Georgievi, who cherished the history of the Bulgarian nation, finish the wreath of their philanthropic activities performed for decades, by granting to the Bulgarian state a huge sum of money and a real estate with the size of 10 134 sq.m. for the construction of the first University in Bulgaria – The Sofia University. Jana Petrova Stojanovich, graduated from the first alumni of First Sofia Girls’High School and Konstantina Peichinovska, student of the same High School donated a great amount of money for their favourite Gymnasium and for the organization of free of charge school canteen at it. Racho Dimchev, Ivan Evstratiev Geshov, Jordanka Filaretova, Georgi Gubidelnikov and other donors established around 100 charity funds and an association to provide support to their fellow-citizens and to provide the required facilities and equipment.
The territory covered by “Sredets” District is not large in size, but it is a real administrative, political, cultural, educational, religious, commercial, business and sport center of the capital city. On its territory the buildings of the National Assembly, the President Administration Offices, 20 premises of central institutions, among which 9 Ministries, 20 Banks and more than 20 educational, cultural, scientific and sport institutions, such as: Bulgarian Academy of Science, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ochridski”, “Ivan Vazov” National Theatre, “Salsa i Smjah” Theatre, The Theatre of Satire, The Teatre of the Bulgarian Army and other theatres, The Drama Academy, Bulgaria Concert Hall, National Museums of Archeology and Ethnography, National Natural Science Museum, National Ecclesiastical and History Museum, National Archeological Museum, National Museum of Literature and other museums of literature of our writers, National Art Gallery, Sofia Art Gallery, a number of private galleries, The Metropolitan Library. The 8 schools take an important place in the life of the District: 127th “Ivan Denkouglu” High School, 7th “St.St. Sedmochislenitsi” High School /the former First Sofia Girls’High School/, 6th “Graf Ignatiev” Primary School, 38th “Vassil Aprilov” Primary School with more than a century years old history, as well as 9th French Language School “Alphonse de Lamartin”, 12th “Tsar Ivan Assen II” High School, 133rd “Alexander S. Pushkin” High School and the National Art School for Fine Arts “Ilija Petrov”, which have educated several generations of prominent figures and creators who made a valuable contribution to the development of the country. The Five Community Centers (chitalishte) – The National Chitalishte for the Blind People “Lui Brile”, the oldest Sofia Chitalishte “Sofiiska Beseda”, Public Chitalishte “Anton Strashimirov”, the Student Chitalishte “St. Kliment Ochridski”, and “St. Sofia” also contributed to the cultural progress of the District residents. The role of the 4 kindergardens, of the open-space book market - Slaveikov Square, the 4 churches, the sport facilities and playgrounds – the stadiums of “Vassil Levsky”, “CSKA”, and “Junak”, “Maria Luisa” swimming complex, the metropolitan cycling track, Boris Garden – the green riches of the capital city, should also be underlined. Around 1000 non-governmental organizations and bodies, domestic and foreign representative offices, hotels, restaurants also function on the territory of “Sredets” District. The premises of the Bulgarian National Television, Bulgarian News Agency, Sofia Press Agency, the editor’s offices of central newspapers and radio programmes are also situated on the District territory.
The premises of 18 foreign diplomatic missions and 4 cultural institutes – the Russian, the Hungarian, the French and the Czech are situated on the territory of “Sredets” District.
Preferred for walks and business contacts are some of the biggest and most beautiful boulevards and streets, such as “Vitosha”, “Patriarh Evtimii”, “Vassil Levsky”, “Tsar Osvoboditel” /”The Tsar”/, “G.S.Rakovski” /the street of the teatres/ and many others. A special place has the symbolic gates of the city “The Eagles Bridge” /”Orlov Most”/. There, after the Liberation the population met the exiles from Diyarbakir and in their honour the Monument of Liberty of the Bulgarian Spirit, with the symbols of the fly of the impressive eagles, alighted on the four pylons was erected.
Those sights of the town make “Sredets” District an attractive centre for many domestic and foreign tourists.