The smallest town in Bulgaria is located in the southwest foothills of The Pirin mountains. Surrounded by the phenomenal sand pyramids Melnic has kept the atmosphere of the traditional Bulgarian life and culture – picturesque tile-roofed houses,narrow cobbled streets, wineries and taverns. The river Melnishka which runs through the town adds to the unique atmosphere.Melnik has been announced a town-museum since 1968.Though small Melnik is rich in landmarks – the natural phenomenon MELNIK PYRAMIDS, the architectural landmarks Kordopulova house,Pashova house,the Despot Slav fortress and a few old churches.
One of the biggest and oldest monasteries in Bulgaria,the Rozhen monastery,is only 7 km. away to the east.You can also visit RUPITE nearby as well as the ST. PETKA BULGARSKA temple-monument and the national park-museum SAMUILOVA FORTRESS. They are both included in the 100 NATIONAL TOURIST SITES list.
It is the largest monastery in the Pirin region and one of the very few medieval Bulgarian monasteries which are quite well preserved.It is open and operating and subject to the Nevrokop eparchy. There is no information of the exact date of the monastery construction because a big fire destroyed the monastery buildings and the archieve at the end of the 17th century.According to Aton documents it was build in 890. Greek manuscripts prove its existence in the 13th century and Byzantine coins from the same period were found during excavation work there. The monastery is a part of the 100 national tourist sites list. The grave of the Bulgarian revolutionary Yane Sandanski can be found some 200 km away to the east of the monastery. He has been buried near the St St Kiril and Metodii church built on his initative in 1912-1914 period.
Also called TSINTSAROVATA HOUSE,it was built in 1754 and it is the biggest Renaissance house in the Balkan peninsula. It has been specially built for wine producing, storage and trading and belonged to the rich Greek Kordopulos family.
THE MELNIK PYRAMIDS
They can be found near the smallest town of Bulgaria – Melnik. They are among the most interesting natural landmarks in the country. They are rock formations spreading around an area of 50 square km.
The Melnik pyramids were announced a natural landmark in 1960 and are divided into 3 parts – Melnishki, Karlanovski and Rozhenski.
MELNIK HISTORICAL MUSEUM
Housed in Pashovata kashta until recently now it has its own separate building. The exposure there underline several basic subjects – the history of Melnik and the region, ethnography, photos and objects associated with the development of the wine producing through the ages.
THE DESPOT SLAV FORTRESS
Despot Alexii Slav was an independent Bulgarian ruler in the 12th-13th century.He originates from Asenevtsi dynasty.Many other mountain fortresses have been under his rule – the western and central Rodopi and a large part of East Macedoniato the east of Struma river.Unfortunately due to the many wars the Despot Slav has been destroyed but the ruins of its stone walls can still be seen in the Sveti Nikola hill in the south of Melnik.
SVETI NIKOLAI CHUDOTVORETS CHURCH
This metropolitan church was build of stones and thin bricks. There is a small mountain water fountain in its yard. There is an ancient fragment of the original wall-painting on the northside wall. The church has been painted by Lazar Zograph Melnichanin and his image can be seen on the old iconostasis. Authentic and much valuable icons are also stored
there and they are a unique example of the Melnik and the region painting school.
The church was built in the 13th century but has been rebuilt and expanded many times through the ages. Today it is one of the very few operating churches in Melnik. You can see other churches in the town such as St Nikola, St Antonii, St Petar and Pavel etc. as well as the ruins of several monasteries.
ST BOGORODITSA SPILEOTISA
Also known as St Zona is a medieval monastery belonging now to the Nevrokop eparchy of the Bulgarian Orthodox church. The monastery, announced a cultural monument of national importance, is located only a kilometer away from the centre of Melnik.
Located just 2 km to the east in Kozhuh it is one of the largest ancient cities along the Struma river. The Latin inscription from 308 found there proves the existence of the ancient city Heraclea Sintika close to the village of Rupite.
It is an ancient city in the present-day southwest Bulgaria. The ruins are located in the village of Rupite, Petrich district in the south part of Djonkov peak in the volcanic tor called Kozhuh.
In ancient times the city has been the centre of Sintika inhabited by the Sinti Tracian tribe mentioned by Homer, Herodotus and Tukidid.
Scientists have been arguing about its location for more than 100 years and has finally been located in Rupite by Associate Professor Georgi Mitrev from the Plovdiv University after spotting a big inscription in Latin which he translated, commented and published.It is about a letter by the emperor Galerii Maximin Dayafrom the year 308 answering a citizens’ request for restoring their lost rights.
It is the largest town in the foothills of the Pirin mountain. It is located in the Blagoevgrad region and is the administrative centre of Sandanski municipality. It has been named after the famous Bulgarian revolutionary Yane Sandanski. Spartacus – the leader of the most massive uprising in antiquity- is thought to have lived there. The Spartcus monument is one of the symbols of the town. Sandanski is a universally recognized nature sanatorium for treating diseases of the respiratory system.