Ringed by mountains, Sofia is an attractive European city of tree lined boulevards and Balconied buildings designed by 19th century Russian and Viennese architects. The city’s compactness and diversity make it a great introduction to Bulgaria. A popular day trip from Sofia is to Rila Monastery, 75 miles to the south, which is one of the most significant cultural monuments in Bulgaria, set dramatically within beautiful alpine mountains and included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. The first monastery was founded here by followers of the Bulgarian hermit, St John of Rila, in the tenth century.
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