Culture & Events
Sofia certainly takes culture seriously. In keeping with European tradition, Sofians enjoy ballet, opera and theatre. These are of such high quality and low price, visitors are advised to have a look, despite language difficulties. The city’s official arts centre, National Palace of Culture (NDK), is a colossal modern structure incorporating concert halls, exhibition spaces, congress facilities and the Lumiere Cinema. Most major cultural events take place here. The box office is to the left of the main entrance.
The Bulgaria Hall and Bulgaria Chamber Hall is the top venue symphonic concerts and boasts a showpiece pipe organ. The National Radio Orchestra is highly recommended. Sofia National Opera hosts the main opera and ballet performances in one of Sofia’s most impressive buildings. The foyers, balconies and main hall are painted with scenes from various well known operas. Finally, Eastern Orthodox Church services offer a perfect opportunity to hear highly skilled choirs chanting amid incense and flickering candles.
The theatre season runs from early October to late June. Naturally, plays are staged in Bulgarian but the high standard of the performances can make a visit to the theatre a memorable experience. Tickets cost 5-10 BGN. Ivan Vazov National Theatre is an impressive neo-classical building and home to the national theatre company. Works by eminent Bulgarians and classical writers are staged here. Sofia is famous for a sophisticated puppet tradition and it is not all geared for children – Kuklen Teatar (Central Puppet Theatre), gives regular performances for all ages.
Sofia Music Weeks run through late May to late July. The programme features classical music, attracting international soloists and ensembles, as well as ballet. The International Jazz Festival takes place in November, attracting local musicians and performers from all over the world. The Music Evenings, in early-December, draw Bulgarian classical musicians.
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