Zhenski Pazar Market is the oldest market in Sofia. Established soon after Bulgaria’s liberation from Ottoman rule, it underwent turbulent development to gradually become the most influential and prestigious trading centre in Sofia in the 20th century. Situated in the central part of Sofia, between two large boulevards – “Todor Alexandrov“ and “Slivnitsa“, near the Lion’s Bridge, it is now the living history of the development of trading relations in downtown Sofia. The old urban architecture, combined with modern pavilions and stalls, selling fresh food, vegetables and other foodstuffs, create a unique atmosphere and a sense of authenticity and history, which went along the development of this trading centre.
In 2014 a part of Zhenski Pazar Market was renovated, as “Vazrazhdane Markets“ EAD invested BGN 8.2 million for the reconstruction, as 80% of the funding came from the European Initiative “Jessica” and the rest was own financing.
The market always offers fresh food, and its visitors can always rely on advice from the traders and direct contact with Bulgarian farmers and manufacturers. The multicultural urban environment in the area further enriches the market environment, enabling visitors to choose from abundant imported products from the Middle East, Arabian spices and products, or have a meal at one of the restaurants, offering exotic food.
Abundant fast-food restaurants and cafés provide visitors with a nice place to rest, while expert traders fill their shopping bags with the products needed. The market has a playground, which is a significant advantage for families with kids.
Zhenski Pazar Market is referred to as an “Area of Tolerance“, due to the close proximity of temples of all the official religious communities in Bulgaria. Here you can find one of the oldest churches in Sofia – “Saints Cyril and Methodius“, where visitors and residents of the air can witness the daily offices or a festive liturgy, during one of the Christina feasts. The “Banya bashi” Mosque, and the Central Synagogue of Sofia are also located near the market.
The “Serdika“ Gallery at Zhenski Pazar Market is the only art gallery successfully operating at an open-air trading area in Sofia. The Gallery exhibits painting, prints, photography, and organizes art workshops, concerts , book presentations, meetings with artists and public figures.
Zhenski Pazar Market is a permanent tourist destination, and the interest in it is provoked by the vibrancy of the merchants and their merchandise and the authenticity of the urban architecture. Every day it is visited by numerous guests of Bulgaria and its capital city, who take with them some of the typical Bulgarian souvenirs and products, but also the fond memory of a well-spent day.