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Ovcha Kupel

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“Ovcha Kupel”, a neighborhood nestled in the “Ovcha Kupel” district of Sofia Municipality, is a vibrant community with a rich history dating back to its construction in 1914. The district’s name is tied to thermal water that surfaced after an earthquake in 1858, a phenomenon observed by shepherds who led their flocks to bathe willingly in the marshy meadows. This origin story led to the literal translation of “sheep bath.”

The heart of the neighborhood features the renowned “Slavia” stadium, constructed in the early 1960s, serving as the home ground for the football team PFC “Slavia.” A significant date for residents is September 6, celebrated as a neighborhood holiday marked by gatherings featuring stages, tables, merry-go-rounds, and rides.

Historically, Ovcha Kupel grew around the bathhouse, evolving into a resort area with a balneocomplex and a rehabilitation hospital that opens a small beach during the summer months. The therapeutic hot springs further contribute to the neighborhood’s allure, echoing its historical connection to thermal water.

The eastern part of the district houses the community center, initially opened in 1922 and later named after Nikola Vaptsarov. This region witnessed the construction of the “Kirov” technical school in 1963, now located in the northeast corner of its yard.

The western expansion of Ovcha Kupel includes the residential complex, “Sheep’s Fountain” 1 and 2, constructed during the socialist era. This complex comprises large-panel residential buildings and blocks designed according to the “large area formwork” system, reflecting the architectural trends of the time. Mini parks and a children’s amusement park contribute to the neighborhood’s livability.

Transport and infrastructure play a crucial role in Ovcha Kupel’s connectivity. Trams 5 and 11, along with buses 11, 59, 60, 73, 102, 103, 107, and 111, traverse the area. The Sofia Metro’s third diameter (line M3) features four stations in Ovcha Kupel – “Ovcha Kupel,” “Mizia/NBU,” “Ovcha Kupel II,” and “Gorna Banya,” connecting to the Gorna Banya railway station.

The neighborhood’s eastern border aligns with the 3rd Sofia Ring Road (Ovcha Kupel Blvd.), while the Sofia Ring Road bounds it to the west. Tsar Boris III Blvd. marks the southern boundary, and President Lincoln Blvd. defines the northern edge. Despite being 6 km from the city center, Ovcha Kupel faces infrastructural challenges, leading to frequent traffic jams around the area.

Efforts to enhance mobility include the construction of bicycle lanes along Tsar Boris III Blvd. and Montevideo St., catering to the evolving transportation needs of the community. Ovcha Kupel, with its blend of historical charm and modern amenities, continues to be a dynamic and evolving neighborhood within the city of Sofia.

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