The various people and cultures that have inhabited the Balkan Peninsula throughout the centuries left their typical features in all the spheres of life. The diversity of religions is among them. That’s why Bulgaria is famous for its tolerance towards people confessing different religions. There is no other capital in the world at the very centre of which you can see an Orthodox church, a Synagogue and a Mosque, situated one next to the other.
The primary religion in Bulgaria is the Eastern Orthodoxy. It is characterized by its continuity with the apostolic creed, its liturgy, its sacred art and its autonomous national churches headed by patriarchs. Bulgaria adopted the Orthodoxy in 865 during the reign of Khan Boris I (852-889). The greatest church in our land is the Patriarchal cathedral St. Alexander Nevski in Sofia.
The Islam on the Balkans has been strongly influenced by the local Christian culture. Bulgaria has preserved unique monuments of Islamic art: the largest mosque in Bulgaria – Tombul camii in Shumen dating from 1744; the oldest preserved mosque – Imaret camii in Plovdiv (1445), etc.
It was introduced to Bulgaria after the fall of the Ottoman rule in our lands and the settling of traders and Saxon miners in today's Northwestern and Southwestern Bulgaria. Today, the greatest presence of Catholics in our lands is in Plovdiv and Svishtov regions. The biggest Catholic cathedral in Bulgaria is the one in Sofia. It is the second biggest cathedral after the one in Hungary. The ex - head of Roman-Catholic Church - Pope John Paul II visited Bulgaria in 2002.
The first synagogues in Bulgaria appeared after the massive settling of Jews in the 15th century. You can see the well – preserved synagogues in Samokov, Sofia and Plovdiv. The one in Sofia is the largest synagogue in Europe and it is built in 1909.
In 1918 the theologian Peter Dunov created a movement which presents religious mystic teaching that focuses on the reincarnation of souls and spirituality of objects. The members of the "White Brotherhood" performed the so - called paneurithmics dance – greeting the sun with song, music and gymnastics on a specific day in August in the region of the Seven Rila Lakes.