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Lying at the foot of the snow-capped Vitosha Mountain, Bulgaria's capital has long been an important city. In 2016 the archaeological complex of Ancient Serdica, an open-air museum in the heart of Sofia, was completed after the recent discovery of its amphitheatre and much else during work on a new metro. Serdica was the name of the Thracian tribe that had an earlier settlement here. The city fell to the Eastern Roman Empire, and its earliest existing church is St George’s, dating from the 4th century. The 6th century Saint Sofia Church was transformed into a mosque under the Ottomans, who arrived in 1382, but was abandoned in the 19th century after an earthquake and before independence in 1878. The largest and oldest surviving Ottoman mosque Koca Mahmut Paşa Camii, dating from 1494, now houses the National Archaeological Museum. The golden Thracian treasures, as well as Byzantine artworks, can be seen in the National Museum of History.
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