Rotunda of St. George
Standing in the courtyard of the Sheraton Sofia Hotel Balkan, the tiny sunken redbrick Rotunda of St. George is the oldest preserved building in the city, built in the 4th century, as a Roman temple. Partly destroyed by the Huns, it was rebuilt as a church by Justinian, in the sixth century. The Turks converted the rotunda into a mosque, until it was finally reinstated as a church. Careful restoration work has revealed three layers of exquisite medieval frescoes – some dating from as early as the 10th century – which had been hidden by plaster during the 500 years of Ottoman rule. The impressive cupola bears a 14th-century portrait of Christ the Pantocrator, surrounded by four angels and symbols of the Evangelists.
Beneath, 12th-century fresco work depicts 22 prophets holding scrolls, with texts alternately in Bulgarian and Greek. To the east lie excavated foundations of an octagonal-shaped Roman public building and paved street.
Opening hours: Daily 08:00-17:00 (winter); daily 08:00-18:00 (summer); liturgy 09:00 h every day.
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