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Doctors’ garden – sense the intellectual vibe of Sofia
In latest years Sofia has become more and more famous destination for young intellectuals and free artists from all over Europe. This is partly due to some very special places in the city where the cultural energy is so strong that even sitting there gives you unique positive sensation.   
So, let me tell you about such a place. There is a small square - piece of green heaven in downtown Sofia. Surrounded by Shipka str., San Stefano str., Oborishte str., and Krakra str., Doktorska Gradina (Doctors’ Garden) is a small park that has become young people’s favourite place in the city.
[u]Doktorska Gradina[/u] is one of the oldest parks in the country. It was shaped in 1889 around an older monument of fallen medics in the [u]Russo-Turkish war[/u] from 1877-1878. That monument still stands in the very centre of the park and it also gave the name for it. Around the monument there is a little square where the alleys that lead to the four parts of the park begin.
 
The park was recently renovated and is constantly kept in great shape – the grass is always trimmed, the benches are clean. One group of people that frequents the park is little children who run around and play in the specially organized areas, and their parents/grandparents. You will see the same people going there every day with their kids and this has created a tangible family vibe between them. Often parents will decide to throw their kids’ birthday parties in the park, and this is no surprise as they feel at home there. Parents usually spend a lot of time with their kids in the park and Doktorska Gradina is very convenient for that also because whenever you feel like having a bite you can take the kids to a nice nearby place like [u]O!Shipka[/u] restaurant or [u]Fly Bar[/u]. Both have delicious lunch offers and outdoor gardens as well, with enough room for your family and your friends, making them the preferred places to be in such occasions.
Right next to Doktorska Gradina there is a building of massive importance – the [u]Sofia University[/u]. You can often see students in groups hanging around in the park. As it is well known – the future is in the hands of the young, and it is great that young minds have such a place where they can go and discuss all kind of topics in peace. If you just listen to the noise around you while you walk in the park, you will hear young people talking about philosophy or literature for example, or about social issues… Sometimes this happens in English, because of the communication with international students that visit the university on Erasmus+, for instance. [u]Doktorska Garden[/u] is a place where students gather to share their ideas for the future, and often what you need for a great idea is simply the right environment. Their discussions sometimes lead them to another secluded, thought-inspiring place where they can also have a drink while they flesh out ideas – a café called [u]Union of the Architects[/u], which is nearby, on [u]Krakra str[/u].
Of course students are not always engaged in discussing heavy matters and tough subjects. No, as any normal human beings they enjoy having fun, so don’t be surprised when you hear loud laughter, cheer and music from one of the little hut-like buildings in the park - it’s the students, they are celebrating passing an exam, or someone’s birthday. You can always find a reason to have a good time when you’re young and with your friends, so let’s not analyze their motivation for that any further. Sometimes on the way to Doktorska Gradina, students will have a cup of coffee or a fresh juice at [u]Bar de Rouge[/u], which is in between the University and the park. Once they decide to leave the park and go somewhere else, students are faced with a wide range of bars and cafés to go to. A popular choice is is [u]Jimmy’s[/u], where you can have a drink, but most notably – you can have really, really good ice cream, and it seems that is something students appreciate. It is worth noting, though, that others go to a very small place called Café Toni, once again just across Shipka str. This is a café that can easily become your place, a place where you and your friends feel at home. Nearby is also the famous [u]Park Bar[/u], where you can meet a lot of other people from around the world as you enjoy the casual but stylish atmosphere of the place. The large windows overlook the park and are always open when the weather is good, trading atmosphere with the relaxing green view across the street.
The mix of different people that visit the park also includes people working in the offices nearby. Some of them will have their lunch breaks there; others will be carrying a [u]Cakey Bakey[/u] bag of treats for their office for a job well done. You can also enjoy the improvised jam sessions from the musical school students that just need to cross [u]Oborishte str[/u]. to get to the park and have fun.
The old buildings (some which are now embassies) give off a romantic feel to the vivid spirit of the area. The genuinely beautiful Oborishte str. is perfect for having a walk because of these reasons, and what is even better is that you can dart into any of the intersecting little streets and bump into a lovely place to have a drink or amazing food. Many prefer visiting [u]Atelier[/u] on 16 Asen Zlatarov str. where you can have a glass of wine under the sounds of French jazz bands, while you enjoy the paintings and photographs that hang on the walls.
The amount of different people that visit Doktorska Gradina and the surrounding area in 24 hours is staggering. Many have found their own particular use of the place as it is a very functional due to its location near important buildings, offices and restaurants/cafes. Others simply come to enjoy the nature and the relaxing vibe of the park. If you also want to find your place in the area, you could ask for directions our friendly receptionist at Budapest Hotel. Or if you are more familiar with the area, follow these directions: walk for 9-10 min from Budapest Hotel until you get to Stochna Gara Square. From there get on trolleybus number 9 and travel for 5 stops and in 15 minutes you will reach the Sofia University where you should get off. Go down Shipka str. and let the search begin.
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