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The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Built in Neo-Byzantine style, it serves as the cathedral church of the Patriarch of Bulgaria and is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world, as well as one of Sofia’s symbols and primary tourist attractions. The Cathedral occupies an area of 3,170 square metres (34,100 sq ft) and can hold 10,000 people inside. It is the biggest cathedral located on the Balkan Peninsula.
The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a cross-domed basilica featuring an emphasized central dome. The cathedral’s gold-plated dome is 45 m high (148 ft), with the bell tower reaching 53 metres (174 ft).The temple has 12 bells with total weight of 23 tons, the heaviest weighing 12 tons. The interior is decorated with Italian marble in various colours, Brazilian onyx, alabaster, and other luxurious materials.
The construction of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral started in 1882, when the foundation stone was laid, but most of it was built between 1904 and 1912. Saint Alexander Nevsky was a Russian prince. The cathedral was created in honour to the Russian soldiers who died during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, as a result of which Bulgaria was liberated from Ottoman rule.
The cathedral was designed by Alexander Pomerantsev, aided by Alexander Smirnov and Alexander Yakovlev, as the initial 1884-1885 project of Ivan Bogomolov was radically changed by Pomerantsev. The final design was finished in 1898, and the construction and decoration were done by a team of Bulgarian, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and other European artists, architects and workers, including the aforementioned architects.
The marble parts and the lighting fixtures were created in Munich, the metal elements for the gates in Berlin, while the gates themselves were manufactured in Karl Bamberg’s factory in Vienna, and the mosaics were shipped from Venice.
The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was proclaimed a monument of culture in 1924.