LIVING IN SOFIA
The currency of Bulgaria is 1 lev (BGN). The exchange rate is tied to the Euro. (1Euro= 1.95583 BGN )
The capital of the Republic of Bulgaria is Sofia. It is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Nowadays ruins of ancient Sofia can be seen in the city centre.
Today Sofia is a modern European city with a population of about 2 000 000 people.Besides the 14 big universities there are several smaller ones.The oldest university in Bulgaria is also in Sofia. This is the University of Sofia „St Kliment Ohridski”, founded in 1888. At present Sofia University is rated between 201 and 250 place in TIMES HIGNER EDUCATION BRICS &EMERGING ECONOMIES . More than 20 000 students are educated there every year.
The city offers a rich palette of opportunities for recreation and entertainment. There is Sofia opera and ballet, over 10 theatres, 3 cinema complexes, each with several halls. In the malls there are cinema halls in which world premieres are shown.The prices vary between 8 to 15 BGN. Students are entitled to discounts.
There are well-planned parks in the city.В The biggest of them, Boris’ Gardens has the area of 3.02 square kilometres. It was established to honour the crown prince Boris, when he became 1 year old. There are open tennis courts, tables for tennis, and small and big goals football pitches, which have minimal use charges.
During the winter Ariana lake at the entrance of Boris’ Gardens becomes the biggest ice-rink.
There are a lot of museums and art galleries in Sofia. Some of them are: The National Historical Museum, The Archaeological Museum, The Museum of Sofia, The Ethnographic museum, The National Art Gallery, The National Gallery of Foreign Art, which some people call The Bulgarian Louvre. The ticket price varies between 5 to 10 BGN (2.50 to 5 Euros) .There are student discounts.
The mountain of Vitosha rises near Sofia. It offers wonderful opportunities for tourism during the summer and ski sports during the winter. A 6270 metre long gondola lift with a capacity of 1500 people per hour and 1077 metres denivelation links it to the city. A return ticket costs 10 BGN (5 Euros ) out of the ski season and 15 BGN (7.50 Euros) during the ski season. There are student discounts.
The ski run Vitoshko lale is lit during the night and offers night down slope skiing.
Bulgaria is third in the world in Internet distribution and speed. There is FREE WiFi and Internet in the buildings of the malls, universities, many restaurants and cafes, in the cars of some taxi companies, in the metrostations, in the downtown pedestrian zone, in Zaimov park, in Boris’ Garden and in many other places in the city. The mobile operators offer various packages 4G internet at a maximum speed. There also providers of are high speed Internet and optic cable digit TV with more than 200 programmes.
A well organized public transport functions in the city
The transport network consists of trams, trolley-buses, buses, two metro diameters (the third is under construction), mini-buses, and taxis. A single ticket costs 1.60 BGN (0.80 Euro), a voucher ticket costs 12 BGN (6 Euros) , a day ticket for the whole public transport network – 4 BGN (2 Euros). A monthly card for the whole public transport network, including the underground, costs 50 BGN (25Euros), but students have a 60 % discount.
The price of a taxi service per kilometer ranges from 0.77 to 0.89 BGN (0.38 to 0.45 Euros ).Some more prices:
A cinema ticket– from 8 to 15 BGN (from 4 to 8 Euros). Students have discounts.
A return gondola lift ticket for Vitosha mountain out of the ski season costs 10 BGN (5 Euros) while during the ski season it is 15 BGN (7.50 Euros). Students have discounts.
There are canteens in all Bulgarian universities where students can have meals at extremely low prices. In supermarkets there are prepared meals at very low prices. If you prefer to eat out, Sofia offers a huge variety of European, Balkan, Asian and local cuisine restaurants. The prices are not high. You can compare them with those of some popular meals in other countries.You can buy a hotdog for 1.80 BGN(0.90 Euros) a doner kebap – 2.50-5.00 BGN.(1.25-2.50 Euros). A Big Mac costs 4.20 BGN (2.10 Euros), a DOMINOS pizza delivered to your place – from 7 to 12 BGN (3.50 – 6 Euros ), KFC chicken – from 3.99 to 8.49 BGN( 2 – 4.25 Euros ).
A loaf of commonly consumed bread costs about 1 BGN (0.50 Euros). A kilogram of chicken meat costs about 6 BGN (3 Euros), beef – about 10 BGN (5 Euros). A cup of coffee costs from 0.50 BGN (0.25 Euros) to 2 BGN (1 Euro) depending on the category of the restaurant.
All universities have dormitories which offer rooms with one or two beds. The rents are reasonable and vary depending on whether the bills – water, electricity, heating, lift service, and bed linen change are included. At DLTIS a single room costs 220 Euros and a twin bedroom costs 120 Euros including the bills for electricity, water, heating, lift service, and bed linen laundry services. In Sofia there is a great supply of one -, two-, three-bedroom flats to rent. The rents vary depending on the size and the location of the flat. In this case overhead expenses are not included in the rent and are paid separately. You can contact a real estate’s office to help you choose the best flat for you. In this case you will have to pay a commission amounting to half the rent. The rents are negotiated in Euros.Average prices:
A one-bedroom furnished flat – from 250 to 350 Euros, or above.A two-room furnished flat – from 300 to 450 Euros , or above.A three-room furnished flat – from 500 to 800 Euros, or above.Some of the real estate agencies have websites in English:
www.imoti.net; www.bokar-imoti.com; www.yavlena_sofia.imoti.net; www.mirela.bg
A metro and a bus line service connect Sofia airport to the city. From it there are flights to a number of destinations in Europe, Asia and Africa. There is also a regular bus service to towns in Northern Greece, Athens, Beograd, Nish, Odrin, and Istanbul. There is railway transport to Istanbul, Thessaloniki, Nish, and Beograd. Students can have a discount when they use railway transport.