Sofia marks 143 years since becoming the capital of Bulgaria

Monday, 03 April 2023

On April 3, 1879, Sofia was declared the capital of Bulgaria. The proposal was made by one of the first Bulgarian historiographers, co-founder of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Prof. Marin Drinov. Prof. Drinov's motives are mostly related to the city's strategic location. His proposal was unanimously accepted by the founding National Assembly in Tarnovo.

When Sofia became the capital, the city had 11,694 inhabitants, 2 schools, 10 inns, 120 shops and 3,306 houses. According to the first official census of Sofia residents in 1880, the inhabitants of Sofia were 20,856. Of them, 11,395 were born in the city, and the remaining 9,106 came from other places. Some of the most prominent architects and builders of their time were involved in the construction of the new capital. Sofia is rapidly changing its appearance - iconic buildings were built, which are still the pride of our city today. In just a few years, the population increased almost tenfold, Turkish alleys were replaced by paved streets, administrative buildings, churches, schools, parks were built. A modern sewage system is being built, 1/3 of Sofia's first budget from 1879 goes for lighting. Sofia was lit up with electricity on November 1, 1900, and on January 1, 1901, the first electric trams started running. The city garden is the oldest park in Sofia. Today, the population of the capital is 1,386,779 people, according to data from SRAS (The Civil Registration and Administrative Services General Directorate ) as of 2022, which represents 17.5% of the population of Bulgaria. Sofia is the main administrative, industrial, transport, cultural and educational center of the country, with 1/6 of industrial production concentrated there. The capital region covers 38 settlements, 1.2% of the country's territory, and 1/5 of Bulgaria's workforce is concentrated there.