Zona B-5, a residential complex in Sofia, stands as a testament to the pinnacle of socialist construction, showcasing a blend of EPK and brick construction technologies. Nestled at the corner of Alexander Stamboliyski Blvd and Opalchenska St, this complex is colloquially known as “The Zona,” forming a cohesive urban ensemble alongside its neighboring districts, Zona B-18 and Zona B-19, collectively referred to as “The Zonas.”
Situated near Russian Monument Square, Zona B-5 enjoys a central location in Sofia. It shares borders with the Krasna Polyana district to the south, the Razsadnika district to the west, and Zona B-18 to the north. Major thoroughfares like “Gen. Blvd. M. D. Skobelev,” “Alexander Stamboliyski” Blvd, and “Todor Aleksandrov” Blvd crisscross the neighborhood, ensuring well-connected access to the wider city.
Architecture and Urban Planning:
The construction of Zona B-5 commenced in the 1980s, envisioning an elite and modern neighborhood catering to the housing needs of the artistic and creative intelligentsia. The architectural landscape boasts multi-story, high-quality blocks, with additional brick cooperatives along Alexander Stamboliyski Blvd. In the early 21st century, the addition of new residential and office buildings between Todor Aleksandrov Blvd. and Alexander Stamboliyski Blvd further enriched the architectural diversity.
Despite its dense urban development, the neighborhood prioritizes green spaces, featuring well-landscaped and expansive inter-block areas, underground garages, tunnels, and passages. This meticulous urban planning contributes to the neighborhood’s popularity for video and photo shoots.
Economy, Education, Healthcare:
The Mall of Sofia shopping center, located at the corner of Alexander Stamboliyski Blvd. and Opalchenska St., serves as a commercial hub with modern shops, a cinema, fast-food establishments, and restaurants. Chain stores such as LIDL, “Billa,” and KAM, along with numerous neighborhood shops, cater to residents’ daily needs. The iconic Thin Red Line bar adds a distinctive touch to the local social scene.
Zona B-5 boasts four schools, including the 30th Secondary School, the Vocational High School of Mechanical Engineering, and the Private Profiled High School with Intensive Study of Foreign Languages “Language World.” Additionally, two kindergartens, “Kuiki” and “Lilia,” contribute to the educational infrastructure. The Center for Eastern Languages and Cultures (CIEC) and the “Confucius” Institute in Sofia further enhance the neighborhood’s cultural and educational offerings.
In 2014, the redevelopment of a section of the neighborhood began, transforming the former inner city station “Serdika” into the Vazrazhdane Park. Financed by the JESSICA program of the European Union, this park includes the emblematic fortified circus area. Simultaneously, the “Sport Sofia 2000” complex undergoes expansion, introducing additional sports facilities. Notably, a swimming complex utilizing the local mineral spring was constructed in the fall of 2019, adding a recreational dimension to the park.
In essence, Zona B-5 emerges as a dynamic urban space, blending historical influences with contemporary amenities, creating a vibrant and well-integrated community within the heart of Sofia.