As an ancient Thracian settlement, Serdica formed the basis of what is now the Bulgarian capital Sofia. Most likely, the name Serdica derives from the tribe Serdi that used to inhabit fortified Serdica. Because of its location on various trade routes, Serdica has always been a point of interest for many rulers and their tribes. Obviously, the region's mineral springs made it an attractive place to settle down as well. Just to name a few; the city has been under reign of Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great, Emperor Diocletian and Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. The city was destroyed by the huns and rebuilt and later demolished by Slavs for several times. Even though it was a middle-sized city for the time, it was an architectural wonder. It featured an amphitheatre, a church, walls for the city's defence including watchtowers pointing in all four directions.
Serdica was thought to have had a central city forum below the current Sveta Nedelya square. However, last year it became clear again that only so little is known about the layers of antiquity that Sofia rests on. During excavations in 2015 at Sveta Nedelya square, instead of the remains of a forum, archaeologists stumbled upon the ruins of an enormous building. Various artefacts, such as padlocks and even a silver coin treasure were excavated. The treasure moves around from museum to museum so make sure to check the following pages: the Permanent Exhibitions and Temporary Exhibitions.
One of the exposition's highlights is an 8.000 year old 'frog-like' swastika that was found in Sofia's area Slatina in 2015. It was most probably included in the foundations of a house. Amphibians used to be a symbol of fertility. Various similar swastikas have been found: in Mursalevo (Kyustendil, Western Bulgaria), Kardzhali (Southern Bulgaria) and Thessaly (Northern Greece). I do not want to derive from the subject Serdica any further but this just goes to show that such discoveries are still done on a frequent basis and that the search for historical evidence is very much active.
It can be said that over the years and during the construction of Sofia, Serdica has been 'tucked away' a bit. It even used to be covered almost completely during the rapid urbanisation and expansion of Sofia. Over the years, some streets and squares were uncovered to show Serdica the light of day again. In many subtle ways, Serdica has become a part of the city's appearance again. The most obvious example is next to metro station Serdica. Many remains are clearly pointing back to what once was a fierce city. Who looks further can find several other examples of where Serdica makes an appearance. These are shown in the map below.
St. George's Church and a Roman street besides it. Oldest building in Sofia, built in 4th Century by the Romans.
Underpass with remains and part of a Roman road.
The central part of Serdica that has been excavated next to Serdica metro station. Inside the metro station near the 'Central Halls', on metro line Nadezhda - Lozenets, there is an excavation before the cash desk.
In the basement of market hall 'Central Halls' is an excavation.
Behind the Banya Bashi mosque and right east of the mineral water fountains, are remains of walls of Serdica.
Hotel Arena di Serdica has a part of the ancient amphitheatre inside. Free to visit.
Church of St. Sofia. Basement has ancient tombs. I found it most interesting and devoted an album to the sight below.
Busts and columns from Serdica are part of the Doctor's Garden Park landscape.
National Institute and Museum of Archeology. Some artefacts are in the museum's front yard as well.