St. George Rotunda – Sofia, Bulgaria
In the courtyard area behind the Sheraton Hotel, can be found St. George Rotunda. This round red brick church is set among the excavations of ancient roman ruins. Built in the 4th century, when Sofia was known as Serdica, this very well preserved rotunda church of St. George is considered the oldest building in Sofia. It was destroyed by the Huns, then rebuilt and turned into a mosque by the Ottomans.
Restoration work has revealed three layers of medieval frescoes, which had been hidden by plaster since the sixteenth century. Historians and archeologists believe that these frescoes date to the middle of 10th century and portray 22 prophets. The impressive cupola bears a 14th century portrait of Christ, surrounded by four angels.
To the east lie excavated foundations of the Roman settlement of Serdica. There are also remains of a 2nd century street and other Byzantine ruins.
At present, the church is a museum, under the protection of UNESCO.