Melnik is the smallest town in Bulgaria. It is located in a mountainous area in southwestern foot of the Pirin Mountains. Surrounded by phenomenal sand pyramids, Melnik has retained the atmosphere of traditional Bulgarian life and culture – picturesque houses with tiled roofs, narrow stone streets, wineries and pubs. The unique atmosphere of the town is complemented by the Melnik river flowing through the main street. In 1968 Melnik was officially declared as an architectural reserve and 96 of its buildings are cultural monuments.
Although small, Melnik has plenty of sites. Here one can admire the Melnik Pyramids, which are impressive natural sand pyramids in various forms; many architectural landmarks such as “Kordopulov house”, “Pashova house”, “Despot Slav” fortress and several churches.
“Rozhen” Monastey is located only 7km. east of Melnik. It is is the biggest monastery in the Pirin Mountains and one of the few medieval Bulgarian monasteries well preserved until today. Near Melnik is the protected area called “Rupite”, together with the monumental church “St. Petka”. This place is considered as holy because here the famous Bulgarian medium Baba Vanga lived and was buried. In this area one can also visit the National Park – Museum “Samuil fortress”.
*Hotel Melnik organizes trips to Rozhen monastery, Rupite and Samuil fortress. Contact us for more information.
Melnik Sand Pyramids
- Melnik pyramids were officially announced as a natural phenomenon in 1960. They are an impressive natural wonder which is believed to be formed by soil erosion. Melnik pyramids are still in process of shaping and their look and shape changes over time. They have various forms resembling pyramids, mushrooms, cones, needles, etc.
- Kordopulov house was built in 1754 and is one of the biggest revival houses in Bulgaria. Originally the house was built for production and storage of wine and belonged to the rich and known Greek family Kordopoulos.
The house consists of four floors, two of which are made of stone, and wine cellar. The characteristic Melnik wine cellar is dug into the rock to form a 150m – long underground tunnel for wine storage. It can take 300 tons of wine. On the upper floors of the house one can see antique furniture and walls decorated with various elements and woodcarvings. Some of the windows are made of Venetian glass. The Kordopulov house is included in the “100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria.
Historical Museum of Melnik
- Until recently, the museum was located in Pashova house (which was built in 1815), but now it has its own building. Exhibitions in the museum focus on several main topics – the history of the region of Melnik from ancient times till today, ethnographic exhibition, photos and objects that trace the development of local wine productions through the centuries.
- Despot Alexius Slav was a Bulgarian independent autocrat of the 12-th and 13-th century and a descendant of the Asen dynasty. There were many mountain fortresses under his authority as well as the Western and Central Rhodopes and big part of Eastern Macedonia. Unfortunately because of numerous wars, the Slavova Fortress was not preserved. But the ruins of its majestic stone walls still can be seen at St Nicholas hill near Melnik.
St Nicholas Church
- The Church of St Nicholas the Miracle Worker in Melnik was built of stones and flat bricks. There is a water spring in the yard of the church. There is a fragment from the original frescos on the northern wall of the church. The church was painted by Lazar Zograph Melnichanin. His image is still preserved on the holy doors of the old iconostasis. There are authentic icons kept in the church. Those icons are great examples of Melnik painting school and are of extraordinary artistic value.
The Church of St Nicholas the Miracle Worker was built in the 13th century but it was reconstructed many times during the centuries. Today it is one of the few functioning churches in Melnik. Other interesting churches that can be visited in the town are St Nikola, St Anthony, Sts Peter and Paul, St John the Baptist Church. One can also visit the ruins of several monasteries.
- The Rozhen Monastery of the Nativity of the Mother of God is the biggest monastery in the Pirin Mountains and is one of the few medieval Bulgarian monasteries well preserved until today. The monastery is functioning and is listed in the “100 Tourist Sites of Bulgaria”. There is no data when the monastery was built because in the end of 7th century a big fire destroyed the library and damaged the monastery buildings. According to Aton resources it was built in 890. The earliest archaeological evidence of medieval life at the place is a grave with a few coins and decorations from the time of Byzantine Empire
Famous Bulgarian revolutionary Yane Sandanski’s grave is located near the monastery. He was buried in “Sts Cyril and Methodius” church, built between 1912-1914 years on his own initiative.