Brick church with domes against a blue sky
Bulgaria,  History,  Postcards from the road

A postcard from Sofia

Is it ever OK to be late? It’s something I try my very best to avoid, but occasionally it can be a good thing, as in the case of Boris III of Bulgaria.

This is the Hagia Nedelja church. The previous church on this spot was destroyed in a terrorist plot in 1925 to assassinate the king, Boris III. He was attending the funeral service of General Konstantin Georgiev, who had been killed in an assault two days previously, on 14 April of that year. The group from the Bulgarian Communist Party knew that in killing such a high powered general they would ensure that a funeral would be held here, in the city’s most important church, and would be attended by all the VIPs, including the king. So they plotted to blow up the church’s roof during the service. The king survived, however, having arrived late for the ceremony, but around 200 innocent people were killed.

The church that stands here today was built between 1927 and 1933, but is just the last of several to occupy the site. The first was a wooden church, probably built in the 10th century and remaining wooden right through to the middle of the 19th century, unlike most other churches in the city. Its stone replacement was opened in 1867 and renovated in 1898, with new domes being added. It is that church that was blown up by the terrorist group; this is, as I said, its replacement.


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