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An owl – representing wisdom – is perched on her outstretched left arm.
The compact downtown district is where you'll spend most of your time.
Take a view The 19th-floor Pri Orlite restaurant (12) at 11 Dyakon Ignatiy Street (00 359 ; priorlite.com) offers good panoramic views of the city.
Sip a coffee (4 lev/£1.70) and savour the sight of Sofia sitting snugly against a backdrop of snow-capped Mount Vitosha (13), 18km to the south.
Dining with the locals There's not a stainless steel food warmer in sight at Buffet (18) at 44 Ekzarh Yosif Street (00 359 ).
Less than a year old, this charming restaurant provides a rustic setting, with vintage furniture and movie posters from the 1930s. Regional cuisine can also be sampled at Grozd (19) at 21 Tsar Osvoboditel Boulevard (00 359 ), an upmarket restaurant across town, which has given old Bulgarian recipes a modern makeover.
The bite-sized Bulgarian capital – one of Europe's cheapest to stay in – is built upon ancient foundations of culture and history.
Standing among the striking Stalinist-era architecture are ancient Byzantine masterpieces, built during the 500 years of Ottoman rule, as well as ruins of a Roman metropolis.
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Finish across the road at the fifth-century brick Basilica of Saint Sophia (11) at 2 Paris Street (00 359 ; 7am-6pm daily; free).