Reopened in May 2000, after years of neglect and 3 years of restoration work, the Tsentralni Hali offers a clean, well-organised, modern version of the bazaar shopping experience.
It is a building with typical pre-World War I architecture, glass roof and a clock tower. Stalls on ground level around the café sell a range of delicious local food. On the upper level there are a couple of salad bars and fast food restaurants with a large seating area. It is a nice place to stop off for a coffee or eating between sightseeing.
Zhenski Pazar (Women’s Market), at only a few minutes walking distance from Tsentralni hali, is an intensely crowded place where you can find everything – from fruit and vegetables to cheap fake designer-label clothes and car parts. Peasants from the surrounding countryside arrive here early each morning to sell their products, and it’s one of the few places in Sofia where the pulse of the old Balkans can still be felt. The atmosphere is chaotic and a bit dirty but fun. Don’t miss it but be very careful with your bag and money.