Stefan Atanasov Aladzhov is a former Bulgarian football defender. In his career, he played for Levski Sofia. In 1970 Aladzhov was named Bulgarian Footballer of the Year. For the Bulgaria national football team he played in two editions of the FIFA World Cup, in 1970 and in 1974, he was manager of Chornomorets Odessa between 11 April and 10 June 2007. Levski Sofia Bulgarian champion: 1968, 1970, 1974, 1977, 1979 Bulgarian cup winner: 1970, 1971, 1976, 1977, 1979 Bulgarian Footballer of the Year: 1970 Profile at fifa.com Profile at LevskiSofia.info
PFC Botev Plovdiv
Professional Football Club Botev Plovdiv known as Botev Plovdiv or Botev, is the oldest continuously existing Bulgarian association football club. The club was established on 11 March 1912 by a group of students in Plovdiv, its home ground, the Hristo Botev Stadium is located in the residential quarter of Kamenitza and is under reconstruction. Therefore, home matches are temporarily played at Botev 1912 Football Complex in Komatevo; the team competes in First League, the top division of the Bulgarian football league system. Named in honour of the Bulgarian national hero Hristo Botev, the club has won two Bulgarian championships, three Bulgarian Cups, one Bulgarian Supercup and one Balkans Cup; the club has reached the Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals once. In addition, Botev has been a runner-up in the domestic league twice and has reached the Bulgarian Cup final twelve times. In the years before A Group was created, the team participated in the local Plovdiv championship, claiming it six times.
Botev Plovdiv is the oldest still existing football club in Bulgaria. Stoyan Puhtev became president, Nenko Penelov was the vice-president, Petar Delev secretary and Tenyo Rusev steward. Rusev named it "Botev" in honor of the Bulgarian national hero Hristo Botev. Since the club's name has been changed for political reasons several times: Botev, DNV, DNA, SKNA, Botev and Trakia; the current name is Botev Plovdiv. The club's colours and black, were adopted in 1917. In 1920, the team won the unofficial football championship of Plovdiv. On August 30, 1925, the canaries played their first official international match against the Turkish Fenerbahçe. In the next year, the team led by the coach and captain Nikola Shterev, won the first official trophy, the Cup of Plovdiv. Botev Plovdiv became National League champions for the first time in 1929, winning the final against Levski Sofia; the canaries won with 1:0 the final game in Sofia. The goal scored Nikola Shterev. Key players during this period included Nikola Shterev, Stancho Prodanov, Vangel Kaundzhiev and Mihail Kostov, who played for the national team.
In 1951, Botev Plovdiv joined the newly created Bulgarian A PFG. Despite being relegated in 1953 to the Bulgarian B PFG, in 1954 the club won promotion for the top division. 1956 was successful for the team, which finished 3rd in the domestic league and qualified for the final of the Bulgarian Cup, where Botev faced Levski Sofia. The final match was lost by the canaries with 2:5. In the next few years, the local municipality decided to build a new venue for the sports club; the construction for the sports complex, started on July 21, 1959 and was built in a period of two years. The new stadium was named Hristo Botev, in honor of the national hero; the sport venue was inaugurated with a friendly match between Botev and Steaua Bucureşti, won by the canaries with 3:0 in front of 20,000 spectators. In 1961 Botev finished 3rd for second time in the club's history; this championship marked the first appearance of the club's most important player Dinko Dermendzhiev and the beginning of Botev's golden age.
Dermendzhiev holds Botev's overall appearances record, playing in 447 matches for the club. Second is Viden Apostolov with 429 matches and third is Petar Zehtinski with 351. Botev's all-time leading scorer is Dermendzhiev, who scored 194 goals at his period in the club. Kostadin Kostadinov is the Botev's second highest scorer with 106 goals and third is Atanas Pashev with 100 goals. Under the leadership of Dinko Dermendzhiev, Botev won their first Bulgarian Cup in 1962, beating Dunav Rousse 3–0 at Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia on 12 August. In the 1962–63 season Botev reached the quarter-final of the Cup Winners' Cup by eliminating Steaua Bucureşti and Shamrock Rovers before losing to Atlético Madrid 1–5 on aggregate. In the same season the team finished runners-up in A PFG with 40 points, only 3 less than the first, Spartak Plovdiv. In 1967 Botev became champions for the second time; the championship team featured several notable players, such as Viden Apostolov, Georgi Popov and Rayko Stoynov, with Vasil Spasov as head coach.
Botev represented Bulgaria in the 1967–68 European Champions Cup where they lost in the first round to Rapid Bucureşti after 2:0 win in Plovdiv and 0–3 loss in Romania. A five years in 1972, the team became winner of the Balkans Cup for the first time, playing against Yugoslavian Velež Mostar after two spectacular final matches to take the cup. In 1981, the club's forward Georgi Slavkov won the club's highest individual achievement, the European Golden Shoe after finishing as Europe's top domestic scorer with 31 goals; the same year, the team won its second Bulgarian Cup, after a win against Pirin Blagoevgrad. This period was successful for the club. Botev finished 3rd in the A PFG, in 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 2nd in 1986. In this year the team finished with 41 points, only 2 less than the first, Beroe, in spite of the 8–1 win against Beroe in the direct match. Many of the club's most notable stars played around this time, such as Antim Pehlivanov, Dimitar Vichev, Atanas Pashev, Dimitar Mladenov, Zapryan Rakov, Blagoy Bangev and Petar Zehtinski were part of the rank and file of the notable Golden Team.
An important achievement of that period was the 1985 Cup Winners' Cup campaign, when Botev qualified for the second round of the tournament. The team secured a 2–0 victory against the German powerhouse Bayern Munich. On November 7, 1984, in front of more than 45
Bulgarian Footballer of the Year
Bulgarian Footballer of the Year is an annual title awarded to the best Bulgarian association football player of the year. The award has been given since 1961, the winner is elected by authorized journalists from the leading Bulgarian media. 2011 was the first year with a vote held online by fans. The poll has been organized by the Futbol newspaper, the Start newspaper, the Futbol newspaper and Start magazine; the footballers to have won the award the most times are Dimitar Berbatov, Hristo Stoichkov, Hristo Bonev and Ivelin Popov. The clubs with the most winners are Levski CSKA Sofia with 11 each. A PFG Player of the Season A PFG Young Player of the Season Bulgarian Sportsperson of the Year Paytashev, Rumen. Svetovna Futbolna Entsiklopediya. Sofia: KK Trud. p. 383. ISBN 954-528-201-0
The Bulgarian Cup is a Bulgarian annual football competition. It is the country's main cup competition and all registered Bulgarian football teams take part in it; the tournament's format is single-elimination, with all matches being one-legged, except the semi-finals. The competition's winner gets the right to take part in the UEFA Europa League. If the winner has secured a place through the Bulgarian A Professional Football Group, the team that has come fourth in the championship substitutes it; the competition has been dominated by Sofia-based teams. The Sofia teams have won together a total number of 61 titles; the three most successful teams are CSKA Sofia and Slavia Sofia. The most recent winner of the Bulgarian Cup is Slavia Sofia, who beat Levski Sofia 4–2 on penalties in the 2018 Bulgarian Cup Final; the Bulgarian Cup as a domestic cup knock-out tournament, has its roots in several tournaments held in Bulgaria through the early 20th century or successively starting in the 1910s with regional Sofia competitions.
The first Bulgarian national tournament was the Tsar's Cup. The competition is recognized as the foundation of the modern domestic cup by the Bulgarian Football Union. From 1924 until 1937 the tournament was the de facto state championship to determine the Bulgarian national football champions and winners of the tournament for those years are recognized as such by the BFU); the trophy was decided over a series of direct knock-out matches in which the champions of the country's oblasts played in one-legged single-elimination rounds. In 1937 the first national league was created to determine the football champion of Bulgaria; the tournament for the Tsar's Cup, remained a prestigious competition in the country. The winners of the trophy between 1938 and 1942 are recognized as domestic cup holders by the BFU; the competition was not held between 1942 and 1945 due to World War II and only returned in 1946. Bulgaria was now under Communist rule, reformed their football league structure and competitions along the lines of other Soviet states.
The new Central Football Committee created the Soviet Army Cup in time for the 1945-46 season. For the remainder of the communist period in Bulgaria, an annual two-legged knock-out tournament was held; the tournament had a national scope but included only top tier clubs. It served as the primary means of qualification to the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup between 1960 and 1982. In 1981, in honour of the 1300th anniversary of the country, another national knock-out football tournament took place awarding the winner the Cup of Bulgaria; the tournament for the Cup of the Soviet Army lost its importance due to the success of the Bulgarian Cup and in 1983 it ceded primacy to the new competition. The Bulgarian Football Union recognises the historic winners of the Soviet Army Cup as official domestic cup holders for the seasons between 1945–46 and 1981–82, while holders of the Bulgarian Cup are the official domestic cup holders from 1982-83 onwards. Levski Sofia, as the club to have won the Soviet Army Cup most times, were awarded the original trophy to keep in their collection.
The Bulgarian Cup tournament is divided in two phases - the Final phase. In this phase are participating teams from the four groups of the amateur division V AFG and teams from Bulgarian A Regional Football Group. In this phase are participating the teams that have won their matches in the Qualification phase, with the 20 teams from the two groups of B PFG and 16 teams from A PFG; the team from a lower league division is the home team. In matches between teams from same division the home team is determined by lot. Round 1 - 32 teams participate (the teams that have won their matches in the Qualification phase, with the 20 teams from the two groups of B PFG. Round 2 - 32 teams participate. Round 3 - 16 teams participate. Quarter-finals - 8 teams participate. Semi-finals. Final. From 1997 to 2011 the Bulgarian Cup is sponsored by the American car manufacturer Ford and its official distributor in Bulgaria Moto-Pfohe. From season 2011–12 the Bulgarian Cup is sponsored by the Bulgarian Corporate Commercial Bank.
The performance of various clubs is shown in the following tables: Tsar's Cup is the first name of the present tournament Bulgarian Cup. Notes: In 1981–82 the Winner of Cup of the Soviet Army, Lokomotiv Sofia still qualified for the next edition of 1982–83 European Cup Winners' Cup. From 1982 -- 83 onward. Notes: From 1981 until 1990 there were two Cup tournaments. In 1981 the Cup of Bulgaria was not a serious tournament because only 4 teams took part: CSKA Sofia, Slavia Sofia, Levski Sofia and Botev Plovdiv, it was part of the commemorations for 1300 years of Bulgaria. UEFA doesn't recognize as official the 1981 and 1982 tournaments of the Bulgarian Cup and doesn't recognize as official the Cup of the Soviet Army; this fact has been acknowledged by the article of a football statistician. Its significant that the participants in the 1981–82 European Cup Winners' Cup and 1982–83 European Cup Winners' Cup are teams who won the last two Official Cups of the Soviet Army - Botev Plovdiv and Lokomotiv Sofia.
- Clubs representing Bulgarian B Professional F
Fussballclub Zürich abbreviated to FC Zürich or FCZ, is a Swiss football club based in the city of Zürich that plays in the Super League, the first tier in the Swiss football league system. The club has won the Swiss Super League 12 times and the Swiss Cup 10 times; the club won the 2009 Swiss Super League and last won the Swiss Cup in 2018. They play their home games at the Letzigrund in Zürich. For the women's team see FC Zürich Frauen; the club was founded in summer 1896 by former members of the two local clubs FC Turicum and FC Excelsior. The official founding date was set at 1 August 1896. One of the founding members was the FC Barcelona founder, Joan Gamper and playing for FC Excelsior and its successor between 1894 and 1897; the new club played its first game on 30 August 1896 on Velorennbahn Hardau in Zürich against FC Phönix St. Gallen with a 3:3 draw. In 1898, FC Excelsior merged with FC Zürich and local club FC Victoria joined shortly thereafter; the club played its first game in 1896 with the colors white.
After that colors were changed to red and white also to differentiate oneself from rivals Grasshopper Club Zürich. When Grasshopper Club temporarily retired from the championship in 1909, FCZ returned to the official colors blue and white and has maintained them since. Zürich won its first title in the Swiss Serie A in 1901–02, but did not win it again until 1923–24; until the 1930s, the club's sporting remit included rowing, boxing and handball, but focused on football. Between 1925 and 1960, Zürich were in the "wilderness years," devoid of success; the club struggled to keep in the top flight and were relegated from the Super League in 1933–34, playing in the 1. Liga until 1941. In 1940–41, they returned to the Nationalliga, where they stayed until their relegation in 1945–46, they were back in the Nationalliga A in 1947–48 and stayed in the top flight until relegated once more in 1956–57. They were promoted from the Nationalliga B to contest the 1958–59 Nationalliga A, finishing in third place.
This period was known as the "Golden Years" by the FCZ faithful. At this time, the club was run by the legendary President Edwin Nägeli and had players such as Köbi Kuhn, Fritz Künzli, Ilija Katić, René Botteron, many more. Zürich won seven championships in the years 1963, 1966, 1968, 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1981, they won the Swiss Cup five times in 1966, 1970, 1972, 1973, in 1976. FCZ had some success in Europe getting to the semi-finals of the European Cup 1963–64, before losing to Real Madrid and reaching the semi-finals in the European Cup 1976–77, where they lost to Liverpool. Following the club's league title in 1981, the club went into a decline and in 1988 they were relegated to the Nationalliga B. Zürich returned to the top league in 1990; the club were beaten by Roma. The club won the Swiss Cup in 2000, beating Lausanne in the final and in 2005 beating Luzern. On 13 May 2006, FCZ ended their 25 years wait for a league title with a dramatic final day victory against FC Basel to win the Super League.
They won thanks to a goal scored in the 93rd minute by Iulian Filipescu. The goal secured the title on goal difference over FC Basel. In 2006–07, they won the league. In 2008 the local women's team FFC Zürich Seebach was combined with FC Zürich and started playing under the name FC Zürich Frauen in the Swiss national league. FC Zürich Frauen is 2nd in the alltime table only behind FFC Bern. In the 2007–08 season, FCZ finished in third place. In the 2008 -- 09 season, they won the league. 2009 they qualified for the first time in the club's history for the group-stage of the UEFA Champions League. In the 2010–11 season FCZ finished second; the following seasons they finished in mid-table positions. FCZ won the Swiss Cup 2014 with a 2:0 victory after extra time against FC Basel. In the 2015–16 season the club finished last, one point behind FC Lugano and was relegated to the Swiss Challenge League. Four days after the final game of the season FCZ won the Swiss Cup 2016 beating FC Lugano 1:0. In the 2016–17 season FC Zürich won the Challenge League ahead of Neuchâtel Xamax and returned after one year to the Super League.
In the 2017–2018 season they finished 4th. On 27 May 2018 they won the Swiss Cup for the tenth time, beating BSC Young Boys 2:1. Swiss Super League Winners: 1901–02, 1923–24, 1962–63, 1965–66, 1967–68, 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1980–81, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2008–09 Swiss Cup Winners: 1965–66, 1969–70, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1975–76, 1999–2000, 2004–05, 2013–14, 2015–16, 2017–18 Swiss League Cup Winners: 1980–81 European Champions Cup Semi-finalists: 1963–64, 1976–77 Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy Fourth place: 1911 Grasshopper from Zürich, FC Basel are the main rivals of FCZ. Due to the intense rivalry, these matches are so-called high-risk fixtures, with an increased police presence in and around the stadium. Since its inception, FCZ has always had a fiery relationship with neighbouring club Grasshopper over sporting supremacy in the city. Grasshoppers are known as the club of the elite and FCZ are known as the club of the workers; this fixture is known as the only true major local derby in Swiss professional football.
Before the last round of the 2005–06 Swiss Super League, Zürich were three points behind FC Basel in the league table. The last game of the season was contested by these two clubs vying for the league title at St. Jakob Park, Basel. Alhassane Keita scored the first goal for Zürich. In the second half, Mladen Petrić equalised. FC Basel were seconds away from the title when i
Bulgaria national football team
The Bulgaria national football team is an association football team of Bulgaria. It is fielded by the Bulgarian Football Union, a member association of UEFA; the team's home stadium is the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia and Petar Hubchev is the current national manager. Their best achievements are – reaching the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 1994, reaching the Summer Olympics final in 1968, quarter-finals at the UEFA Euro 1968, along with winning four Balkan Cup titles. Although defeating strong top ranked teams in many international friendlies throughout the years, the team's strength has fallen. In result, Bulgaria has failed to qualify for any major tournament since 2004; the Bulgarian national football team was formed in 1922. In 1923, The Bulgarian Football Union was formed and the team's first match was held in Vienna on 21 May 1924, which resulted in a 0–0 draw against Austria. Bulgaria had qualified for the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay, but had to withdraw due to strong tropical storms and hurricanes on the Atlantic Ocean at that time.
Despite this unfortunate event, Bulgaria’s power would overtime grow and reach its maximum peak within the next 60 years. Bulgaria's first qualification to a World Cup came 1930 when they qualified for the 1930 World Cup in Uruguay; the national team had to cancel their entry due to flight delays caused by tropical storms and hurricanes on the Atlantic Ocean. There original group stage opponents were set as Brazil and Bolivia; this was a major disappointment to the national side. Bulgaria’s next entrance to a world cup would come 32 years when they qualified for the 1962 World Cup in Chile. After their disappointment of not being able to compete in their first world cup, the Bulgarian side sadly could not qualify for any major tournament for nearly 30 years. Luck was not on their side as they would narrowly fall short of qualification on numerous occasions; the national team had gone on a streak of finishing 2nd or 3rd in their qualifying groups along with proceeding to the play offs, but in the end, failing to qualify.
Despite their qualifying problems, the national side did manage to defeat many great teams during memorable international friendlies during those years. It seemed as if the only tournaments they managed to qualify for were smaller tournaments, such as the Balkan Cup, which they won four times. After their long stretch of absence, their time of international revival had come; the national side had qualified for the World Cup for the second time, in Chile, 1962. Bulgaria qualified for the World Cup for the second time in its history in 1962 and followed that up with consecutive appearances in 1966, 1970 and 1974; the team, did not have much success and finished in third place in their group three out of the four times. The team qualified for its first UEFA European Championship in 1968 and went on to win their group with impressive wins over Norway and Portugal before losing to eventual champions and hosts Italy in a two-legged quarter-final. Bulgaria lost the second by a 2-0 score to lose 4-3 on aggregate.
They remained the only team to have defeated the eventual champions, before their surprising quarter-final finish. At the 1968 Summer Olympics, the team won the silver medal, they finished first in Group D by defeating Thailand 7–0, Guatemala 2–1, drawing 2–2 against Czechoslovakia. They advanced to the quarter-finals by defeating Israel and the semi-finals by defeating favored hosts Mexico. In the Olympic Final, the team was defeated by Hungary, in what many would say was a hard fought match for both sides. Despite winning the tournament two times in 1931 and 1932, the Bulgaria national team added two more Balkan Cup trophies to their case as they went on to win the tournament in 1973 and 1976. In both 1973 and 1976, Bulgaria had used their previous world cup experience to create a tactical team; this paid off quite well, as they had many decisive victories over Hungary, Turkey, Poland and Romania. In fact, the team won the 1976 Balkan Cup by beating Romania in the two-legged final 1–0 and 3–2.
Bulgaria qualified for their second world cup. Bulgaria was drawn in a tough group with tough opponents England, power house Argentina and super power house Hungary. Bulgaria opened up their campaign with a narrow 0-1 loss to Argentina. On, misery had struck, as Bulgaria would lose their second group match by a 1-6 score to Hungary. Bulgaria's hopes of qualifying were over; the national side impressively drew with future 1966 World Cup Champions England 0-0 and finished fourth in the group with only one point. As 4 years passed, so did another chance of world cup success. Bulgaria qualified for their second straight world cup, they were drawn into an tougher group compared to the previous world cup. They were placed in the group of death with super powers Hungary and Brazil, with Pele at the helm. Bulgaria opened their campaign match with a 0-2 loss to Brazil thanks to two free kick goals by Pele and Garrincha. On Bulgaria carried on with a 0-3 loss to Euseibo's Portugal. Bulgaria, once again with no chance of next round qualification, finished their last match with a 1-3 loss to Hungary.
Bulgaria once again finished fourth with zero points in the group. This being Bulgaria’s worst world cup performance yet. After their poor world cup performance, Bulgaria was determined to redeem themselves. Bulgaria was drawn in a tough group with Scandinavian Giants Norway and Sweden along with legend Euseibo's Portugal. Bulgaria started off well with a 4-2 win over Norway, they would add to their winni
Sofia 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 Balkan peninsula, it is midway between the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea, 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, on 9th April, 809 Serdica was surrendered to Krum of Bulgaria. In 1018, the Byzantines ended Bulgarian rule; the town was conquered by the Pechenegs in 1048 and 1078, by the Magyars and Serbs in 1183, 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 in information technologies, according to Bulgarian National Television. 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 and Pernik Province, 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 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 and Pernik, comprising more than 10,000 km². For the longest time the city possessed a Thracian name, derived from the tribe Serdi, who were either of Thracian, Celtic, or mixed Thracian-Celtic origin; the emperor Marcus Ulpius Traianus gave the city the combinative name of Ulpia Serdica. It seems that the first written mention of Serdica was made during his reign and the last mention was in the 19th century in a Bulgarian text. Other names given to Sofia, such as Serdonpolis and Triaditza, were mentioned by Byzantine Greek sources or coins; the Slavic name Sredets, related to "middle" and to the city's earliest name, first appeared on paper in an 11th-century text.
The city was called Atralisa by the Arab traveller Idrisi and Strelisa, Stralitsa or Stralitsion by the Crusaders. The name Sofia comes from the Saint Sofia Church, as opposed to the prevailing Slavic origin of Bulgarian cities and towns; the origin is in the Greek word sophia "wisdom", which may derive from the Egyptian word sbÅ "teach, learn or wise" provided b oftentimes turns into ph in Egyptian to Greek translations. The earliest works where this latest name is registered are the duplicate of the Gospel of Serdica, in a dialogue between two salesmen from Dubrovnik around 1359, in the 14th-century Vitosha Charter of Bulgarian tsar Ivan Shishman and in a Ragusan merchant's notes of 1376. In these documents the city is called Sofia, but at the same time the region and the city's inhabitants are still called Sredecheski, which continued until the 20th century; the city became somehow popular to the Ottomans by the name Sofya. In 1879 there was a dispute about what the name of the new Bulgarian capital should be, when the citizens created a committee of famous people, insisting for the Slavic name.
A compromise arose, officialisation of Sofia for the nationwide institutions, while legitimating the title Sredets for the administrative and church institutions, before the latter was abandoned through the years. The city's name is pronounced by Bulgarians with a stress on the'o', in contrast with the tendency of foreigners to place the stress on'i'; the female given name "Sofia" is pronounced by Bulgarians with a stress on the'i'. Sofia City Province has an area of 1344 km2. Sofia's development as a significant settlement owes much to its central position in the Balkans, it is situated in western Bulgaria, at the northern foot of the Vitosha mountain, in the Sofia Valley, surrounded by the Balkan mountains to the north. The valley has an average altitude of 550 metres. Unlike most European capitals, Sofia does not have any large rivers or bridges, but is surrounded by comparatively high mountains on all sides. Three mountain passes lead to the city, which have been key roads since antiquity, Vitosha being the watershed between Black and Aegean Seas.
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