Melnik (Melnik), lying barely 20 km north of the border with Greece, located in Bulgarian Macedonia. The steep sand rocks emerging from outside the city give it an unusual appearance. Initially, it was inhabited by Thracian tribes, in Roman times it became a center of trade, and in the Middle Ages a stronghold. From IX w. Mełnik is famous for the production of red wine, which was aging, just like today, in cellars carved in the rocks. And then the Mełnicki wine could be poured into an apron and brought to the household. It did not leak – it was so thick. The Genoese had them for the price, Venetians and Castilians. Unfortunately, phylloxera destroyed vineyards at the beginning of the century, causing a sharp regression in the production of the drink.
East to West, on both sides of the river which is a tributary of the Mełiszka, the main road of Mełnik runs. Around houses and ruins, on both sides of the valley, alleys and paths stretch upwards.
Walking through the cobbled streets, among the charming buildings of Mełnik, no need to bother, to find numerous wine cellars, but after visiting them you can feel a significant disturbance in the coordination of movements. Near the entrance to the city there is the 18th-century Paszowa House, which houses the Historical Museum (no regular opening hours). To get to Kordopułowo Kyszta (Kordopułow's house, built in 1754 r.), once the seat of one of the most eminent merchant families in Mełnik, you have to climb to the southeastern part of the town. There is a large cellar in the basement of the house, where the wine was stored (250 thousand. liters!). The oldest house in Mełnik and Bulgaria is Bojarskata Kyszta (boyar house) z XIII w.
Mełnik during the Byzantine Empire was a place… shipments. Here the rebellious Byzantines lived in exile, who have disrespected their ruler. And drawing on your wealth, they lived well together – they drank wine from Melnica and walked staggeringly among the enormous mushrooms, monstrous flowers, terrifying beasts in the colors of pink, red and yellow – for these are the shapes and colors of the rocks around the town.
East of Mełnik, The trail to the Rożenski Monastery leads along a parched rocky area (7 km), founded at the beginning of the 10th century. The current building was erected in 1600 r. Icons have been preserved, frescoes and glass paintings from the 16th and 17th centuries. There are also ruins of a fortress built at the beginning of the 13th century. by the boyar Alexei Slava, to which Mełnik belonged, and built in 1756 r. church of St.. Nicholas the Wonderworker. In the village of Rożen, 10 minutes walk from the monastery, there is a country inn (mechana). Who doesn't want a round trip, take the bus between Mełnik and Rożen.
Bed and breakfast
There are no problems with renting a room in Mełnik: you should look for the word free standing (free rooms) or Chastni Kvarni (private accommodation), placed in the windows of houses. In summer, tourist agencies open their offices here. Look for them on the western end of the town's main street.
The Manczewi family rents rooms (8 $ from person) in a nice house in the north of the city. There is an inn on the ground floor of the building. The nearby Czinarite mechana is one of the best restaurants in Mełnik.
To Mełnik from Sofia-Owcz Kupeł every day Fr. 14.30 the bus departs. Also, Fr. 6.30 bus to Riłski Monastery. There you should change to the bus (or hitchhike) to the town of Rila, from where one of the hourly buses will take you to Blagoevgrad. There is a bus going from Blagoevgrad to Mełnik. The entire trip can be completed before the evening.
From Mełnik to Sofia, Fr. 18.30 the evening express bus departs. You can also take a bus to Sandanski and take one of the afternoon trains to Sofia.
SANDANSKI – It is a balneological health resort situated on Bistrica, has a rich history: the settlement was founded by the Trak family, soldiers-veterans of the first Roman legion settled here. There are ruins of an early Byzantine basilica from the 6th century. (Even the colorful mosaics on the floor have survived). As was the custom, and here a Christian temple was built on the ruins of a pagan temple. Church of St. Wracz (Holy Doctor) was built on the site of the ancient temple of Asclepius, the god of medicine from Thrace (of course the Greeks had usurped it, and then the Romans, zwąc Eskulapem). The famous gladiator Spartacus also came from the Thracian land, who greatly troubled the Romans, triggering the slave uprising (73-71 r. p.n.e.). There is a magnificent monument in the town of Sandanski, evoking gladiator's struggle with Crassus' legions.
Behind Mełnik, at the foot of the Bełasica range, lies Petricz, Bulgarian heat pole. The annual average temperature remains within the range of 13 do 15°C. Medieval ruins of the stronghold have been preserved.