Sofia, 6 December, 2012. According to the latest Quality of Living Index published by the U.S. consulting firm Mercer, Sofia ranks 113th out of 221 cities worldwide, making it the lowest ranking EU city.
Although modern rental apartments are available in Sofia, many older buildings are badly maintained with plaster falling off the walls, holes in the roof or unsafe balconies.
Air pollution is one of the factors included in the Quality of Life Index, Sofia has two thermal power plants within city limits, traffic, domestic heating add more pollutants.
Officially, the facility is still open, but it has been years since a sports event has taken place here.
Like many other recreational facilities in the Bulgarian capital, the playground suffer from poor maintenance and general neglect.
Although waste disposal mostly works satisfactory, sometimes heaps of refuse are overlooked and left to rot for several days.
Because the health services in Bulgaria are generally cash-strapped and staff is underpaid, simple maintenance and cleaning tasks are often left undone.
Maintenance of roads in Sofia and Bulgaria in general is notoriously inefficient, as a consequence potholes as deep as 30 centimeters appear every spring in the lesser roads, some remain unfilled.
(All Images Copyright 2012 © by Johann Brandstätter/ JB Photography)
The survey includes 39 factors such as housing, recreation, public transport, waste disposal and air pollution, to name a few. Looking at the images in the slide show it is easy to understand why Sofia is considered one of the least desirable EU city to live in.
I took all images in the course of one afternoon and I did not have to look too hard to find ample motives to show the reason for the ranking. Most disturbing was a look into the Tsaritsa Johanna Hospital where some of the views are outright scary.