Rozhen monasterynear Melnik is the biggest sanctuary in the Pirin region and one of the few medieval Bulgarian monasteries that are well preserved until today. According to sources kept in Mount Athos (Greece), it was founded in 890 A.D. The church of the monastery – the Nativity of Mary (Sveto Rozhdestvo Bogorodichno) – later gave its name to the nearby village of Rozhen. In the 17th century, it was burnt down but then rebuilt in the early 18th century. The church was fully completed in 1732. The monastery reached its apogee in the 19th century when it served as a regional spiritual centre and possessed a lot of land in the surrounding area. The famous local revolutionary Yane Sandanski put an end to the heyday of the monastery when, together with his entourage, he seized its land. The grave of Yane Sandanski is near the monastery.
Melnik The smallest town in Bulgaria (208 people), Melnik, is nestled on the southern slopes of Pirin, among sand pyramids with queer forms. Located in the municipality of Sandanski, region of Blagoevgrad, 175 km south of Sofia and only 30 km from the border with Greece. The ancient artefacts found in the excavations attest to its centuries-old history. The earliest written information about the Melnik Fortress refers to the beginning of the 11th century. The first settlers on the territory of contemporary Melnik were the Thracians and, particularly, the Thracian tribe Medi, from which the legendary rebel Spartacus originated. Several centuries later, Romans lived on the land. This is proved by the ancient Roman bridge that is still preserved in the town of Melnik. Slavs, who subsequently inhabited the territory, called their settlement Melnik because of the surrounding sand pyramids. The name comes from the Slavic word mel which means white clay, chalk. Declared to be a natural and architectural reserve, Melnik attracts thousands of tourists annually. The wine made from the unique Bulgarian grape variety Shiroka melnishka loza (Wide-leaf Melnik Vine) has great quality and aromas of ripe cherry and herbs, and in the presence of oak, it develops nuances of tobacco and leather. It is one of the attractions of the town and the region and attracts many admirers from around the world. You can taste it in one of the wine houses and cellars in the town and around it. The combination of good wine and excellent local cuisine makes Melnik an excellent destination for gourmet and wine tourism as well as a destination that offers many interesting sights to its guests. There are various accommodation options: from luxury hotels to cozy guest houses.