Melnik is the smallest and one of the most fascinating towns-museums, situated in Southwestern Bulgaria. Nestled amongst the lowest southwestern fold of Pirin. The town is situated at the distance of 24 km from the town of Sandanski and is linked through an asphalt road (12km) to the international road Sofia-Athens.
Melnik is a blend of unique nature - the cliffs clustered around the houses on the hills, history, culture and wine. The silent white houses, one upon the other, with beautiful bay-windows and silent yards, buried in greenery and tranquility of an aged glory and prosperity arise nothing but admiration. The climate of Melnik is favorable for medical treatment of chronic pulmonary, kidney and rheumatic disorders.
Melnik is not only history and architecture – it is wine too. Original cellars are excavated in the sand pyramids, which surround the town on all sides, and there the famous Melnik wine ripens, matures and is preserved. Nowhere else can one find this technology. Neighboring Turkey like far away France and Spain chose the taste of this delicious, dark-red, matured wine.
Very few people know that the picturesque town, snuggled between the hills today, was an important economic center once, with more than 25 000 inhabitants, about 1300 houses and more than 70 churches.
Perhaps, it was the ancient Thracians that laid the foundations of the city. The cobbled streets have witnessed in a row the feet of Slavs, Bulgarians, Greeks, Romans, Turks…
The old Melnik houses are impressive with their architecture in conformity with the laws of nature, with their wealth, with their wine cellars, with the Bulgarian sense of practicality and beauty.
The more popular of them are:
Kordopoulov's House - the biggest residential building on the Balkan Peninsula from the Revival Period, in possession of extraordinary mural paintings and an enormous wine-cellar, the Bolyar House - the oldest preserved residential building in our country, Pashov house - turned nowadays into a town museum of history.
The ruins of St.Nikola Monastery of the 12 th century, the Slav Fortress of the 13 th – 14 th centuries, the Roman Bridge, the ancient Turkish bath are of interest, too as well as the ruins of several churches, which in the old times added to 75 in number.
Melnik is situated among the whimsical sand pyramids – some of the most fascinating natural phenomena on the Balkans. On the area of 17 sq. km millennia-long erosion has chiseled this unusual world. Depending on the strength of your imagination, you could see in them obelisks, ancient towers, giant mushrooms... etc.
There are regular bus connection with Petrich, Blagoevgrad and Sofia. The nearest railway station, Damyanitsa, on the Sofia-Koulata railway line is at the distance of 12km.
The Rojen Monastery is not far from the town (6 km), it was a center of Christian faith and arts. 20 km northeast one can find Rupite.