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Melnik, Bulgaria, a city where historic landmarks are everywhere

Christian Fernsby |
Melnik is the smallest city in Bulgaria, in fact, it’s only able to maintain its status as an incorporated city in honorary fashion, due to the city’s storied history.

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In fact, nearly 100 of its, barely more than ruins, buildings are designated historic landmarks.

Founded more than 1,000 years ago in the 9th century, Melnik has changed hands numerous times. The number of residents in this tiny Bulgarian hamlet is 385 and they says they are the luckiest people on Earth.

The remote city is nestled in the Pirin Mountains, making travel difficult for but locals swear by this quiet and reserved isolation.

Melnik has developed a robust and celebrated winemaking tradition, that most ancient of crafts, and one which is perfectly suited for its agrarian surroundings.

Melnik is famous for the medieval Rozhen Monastery which is a ten minute drive or a pleasant hike from Melnik. There are frescoes, stained glass windows, unique carvings, and buildings from the many different historical periods.

Throughout Bulgaria the monasteries remain compelling because of their crucial role in preserving and spreading Bulgarian literacy, culture and identity.

While near the monastery, don’t miss a short walk to the viewpoint over the Rozhen pyramids, one of the most beautiful formations in the area.

Be sure to check out the wine museum located on the main street which is the only street in Melnik. Fo $3 you can wander around taste wines and rakia.

Of all once over 70 churches in town, 3 are still functioning. One of the most important ones is the church St. Antony, the only one dedicated to this saint in Bulgaria.

Melnik is about a 2.5 hour drive from Sofia and there is a regular afternoon bus to Melnik.

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