Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria. Sofia is the 14th largest city in the European Union with population of more than 1.3 million people. The city is located at the foot of Vitosha Mountain in the western part of the country, within less than 50 kilometres drive from the Serbian border. Its location in the centre of the Balkan peninsula means that it is the midway between the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea, whereas the Aegean Sea is the closest to it.
Sofia has been an area of human habitation since at least 7000 BCE. Many of the major universities, cultural institutions and commercial companies of Bulgaria are concentrated in Sofia. Sofia is Europe's most affordable capital to visit as of 2013.
Sofia as a capital is the location of all Bulgarian state authorities - executive, legislative, judiciary, the headquarters of all parties and the delegation of the European Commission. This includes the Parliament, the Presidency, the Council of Ministers and all the ministries, supreme courts and the Constitutional Court of Bulgaria.
Increasingly, Sofia is becoming an outsourcing destination for multinational companies, among them IBM, Hewlett-Packard, SAP, Siemens, Software AG. Bulgaria Air, PPD, the national airline of Bulgaria, has its head office on the grounds of Sofia Airport. From 2007 to 2011, the city attracted a cumulative total of $11,6 billion in foreign direct investment.
In January 2015 Sofia was ranked 30th out of 300 global cities in terms of combined growth in employment and real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in 2013-2014. This was the highest rank amongst cities in Southeast Europе.The real GDP (PPP) per capita growth was 2.5% to $33,105 (28,456 euro) and the employment went up by 3.4% to 962,400 in 2013-2014.
With its developing infrastructure and strategic location, Sofia is a major hub for international railway and automobile transport. Three of the ten Pan-European Transport Corridors cross the city: IV, VIII and X. All major types of transport (except water) are represented in the city. The Central Railway Station is the primary hub for domestic and international rail transport. Sofia has 186 kilometres of railway lines. Sofia Airport handled 3,815,158 passengers in 2014. Public transport is well-developed with bus (2,380 km network), tram (308 km) network, and trolleybus (193 km network), lines running in all areas of the city. The Sofia Metro became operational in 1998, and now has two lines and 34 stations.
Sofia concentrates a significant portion of the national higher education capacity, including 109,000 university and college students and 22 of Bulgaria's 51 higher education establishments.
Other institutions of national significance, such as the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) and the SS. Cyril and Methodius National Library are located in Sofia. BAS is the centrepiece of scientific research in Bulgaria, employing more than 4,500 scientists in various institutes, including the Bulgarian Space Agency.
BATTI Sofia was established in 2015 with the idea to create regional community of innovation support and technology professionals, to promote high standards in the provision of innovation support and technology transfer services to SMEs, NGOs, public sector, universities, etc. and to share professional experience and good practice, with a view to developing the knowledge economy, improving quality of life and boosting the wealth creation process in Sofia and the Sofia region.