The town of Melnik is located in Blagoevgrad Province in southwestern Bulgaria. The small town is build in the Pirin Mountains on 440 meters above the sea level. The Blagoevgrad Province is close to the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia. The main Bulgarian airport is also in Sofia, which is a huge advantage for every tourist that wants to go on a trip to Melnik. There is a highway between Sofia and Blagoevgrad so your trip will be fairly fast and safe. Most other landmarks in Bulgaria are hidden in the mountains and the roads that lead to them are in horrible condition. Even though that Bulgaria is full with landmarks, the infrastructure of the country is still not on a top level. Be prepare for a bit bumpy roads that lead to wonderful landmarks.
The whole town of Melnik is an architectural reserve which is unique and not too many people can say that they had been in architectural reserve that is as big as a town. The population of the town is a little bit under 400 people. Melnik holds the title city only because of historical reasons. With its size and population, the city of Melnik is the smallest city in Bulgaria.
Just like many other places in Bulgaria, Melnik was also home of the Thracians. More specifically the Thracian Tribe called Medi. Later on, after the Thracians; the Romans also left their marks in Melnik. The most famous landmark in Melnik – the Ancient Roman Bridge had been built by the Roman Empire. The fascinating thing is that this bridge is still preserved and you can go and check it out. Melnik received its name from the Slavs that lived around this area of Bulgaria. In Bulgarian the word “mel” means white clay, this plus the fact that the town is surrounded by sand formations were the two reasons for which the Slavs named the town Melnik. The first time when Melnik became part of Bulgaria was during the ages of Khan Presian I, around year 845. Later on the town developed under the guidence of the famous Tsar Ivan Asen II. Just like whole Bulgaria, Melnik was also captured by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. During the Ottoman ages the town was left aside and did not develop a lot. Luckily the Ottomans did not destroy the historic places in Melnik and gave us a chance to enjoy the wonderful history and architecture of the region. Until 1912, Melnik was part of Turkey.
After the First Balkan War the town become part of Bulgaria. If you decide to visit Melnik you should also check the Rozhen Monastery that is few kilometers away from the town. The locals are also proud with the gorgeous sand pyramids that are standing around the area. Make sure that you try the local wine. The locals will be happy to share their home made wines and beverages with international tourists. For many people that are from Melnik, their wine is much better than the French and Spanish wines.
After you arrive in Sofia you must take the highway to Blagoevgrad. From Blagoevgrad there are plenty of street signs that lead to the town of Melnik