Sofia ( SOH-fee-ə, SOF-; Bulgarian: Со́фия, romanized: Sofiya, IPA: [ˈsɔfijɐ] (listen)) is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria. The city is at the foot of Vitosha Mountain in the western part of the country. Being in the centre of the Balkans, it is midway between the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea, and closest to the Aegean Sea.Sofia has been an area of human habitation since at least 7000 BC. The recorded history of Sofia begins with the attestation of the conquest of Serdica by the Roman Republic in 29 BC from the Celtic tribe Serdi, raided by Huns in 343–347 AD and 447 AD, conquered by Visigoths in 376–382 AD, conquered by Avars and Slavs in 617 AD, and on 9 April 809 Serdica was surrendered to Krum of Bulgaria. In 1018, the Byzantines ended Bulgarian rule, while in 1040 it was shortly restored. The town was conquered by the Pechenegs in 1048 and 1078, by the Magyars and Serbs in 1183, and by the Crusaders in 1095 and 1190. The rule of the Second Bulgarian Empire lasted from 1194 until its conquest by the Ottomans in 1382. From 1520 to 1836, Sofia was the regional capital of Rumelia Eyalet, the Ottoman Empire's key province in Europe. Bulgarian rule was restored in 1878. During World War II, Sofia was bombarded by the UK and US Air Forces and at the end of the war, it was seized by the Soviet Army. Being Bulgaria's primate city, Sofia is a hometown of many of the major local universities, cultural institutions and commercial companies. Sofia is one of the top 10 best places for start-up businesses in the world, especially in information technologies. Sofia was Europe's most affordable capital to visit in 2013.The population of Sofia declined down from 70,000 in the late 18th century, through 19,000 in 1870, to 11,649 in 1878 and began increasing. Sofia hosts some 1.23 million residents within a territory of 492 km2, a concentration of 17.5% of the country population within the 200th percentile of the country territory. The urban area of Sofia hosts some 1.54 million residents within 5723 km², which comprises Sofia City Province and parts of Sofia Province (Dragoman, Slivnitsa, Kostinbrod, Bozhurishte, Svoge, Elin Pelin, Gorna Malina, Ihtiman, Kostenets) and Pernik Province (Pernik, Radomir), representing 5.16% of the country territory. The metropolitan area of Sofia is based upon one hour of car travel time, stretches internationally and includes Dimitrovgrad in Serbia. Unlike most European metropolitan areas, it is not to be defined as a substantially functional metropolitan area, but is of the type with "limited variety of functions". The metropolitan region of Sofia is inhabited by a population of 1.68 million and is made up of the whole provinces Sofia City, Sofia and Pernik, comprising more than 10,000 km².The main religion in Sofia is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, but there are also Protestant and Catholic communities. The most well-knownOorthodox churches are Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and St Nedelya Church, the most important Protestant churches are Awakening Church and Zoe Sofia, and the biggest Catholic church is Cathedral of St Joseph.
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