The monastery has a six angle pattern with a yard, surrounded by residential buildings. The buildings were constructed in different periods, the diningroom,farmbuidlings and bone vault being the oldest. Besides the waalpaintings the monastery is weel known for the stain glass and woodcarvings. The icon of Mary is one of the few copies of a sacred iron, owned by a widow of Greece. During rthe Byzantine rule the widow threw the icon in the waters to avoid it getting destroyed by the Byzantines. The icon didn’t sink gut floated for years until it in 999 reached the Iviron monastery in Greece.
The moanstery offers no food nor accommodation. But 500 meters down the road you find a restaurant and guesthouse.
The monastery is the biggest sanctuary in the Pirin mountains. The name “rozhen” has nothing to do with “roses” but it comes from the Bulgarian word Rozhdenie, which means birth and refers to the name of the monasteries church, the Birth of the Virgin church. Under the reign of Despot Slav the monastery gor extended with a number of buildings and after it had been destroyed by the Turks it got renovated from 1715 on. The church got completely renovated in 1732.
Sandanski can be visited for a half day, when you are on your way to Melnik by bus or train (the trainstation is 5 kilomteres outside the towncentre). It could also be a good alternative for nightlife if you want more than Melnik offers. The place is known for being the birthplace of Spartacus who led the rebellion of the slaves in 74 Before Christ. From the busstation you walk north to the ploshta Bulgaria, where the tourist info is located. From that square head to the right at the pleasant boulevard Makedonia, where you find lots of cozy pubs. This street comes out at a hughe city park with terraces, a lake, a summer theater and mineral baths. A street, parallel at the boulevard is the Gotse Delchev street, here the Sveti Georgi church is located, the towns main attraction. This church is build in 1861 and it is the oldest church in town.
The Rozhen monastery, also known as the Birth of Virgin Mary monastery is situated 6 kilometres north of Melnik. You can hike to there. The complex is build in 1217 originally but nothing is left from the original buildings. In the 16 th century the monastery was rebuild, but the Ottomans ruined the place. What you now can see is from the 18 th century. The 17 th century Nativity of the Virgin Mary church has old murals of the 18 th century and great woodcarvings. Beautifull is the courtyard with it vine and panorama over the rocks. Near the monastery is also the closed St Kiril and Metodii Church with its grave of Yana Sandanski, the revolutionist. Hiking from Melnik to the monastery starts at the trail that leaves from the Boyaskata Kashta ruins, but you better take the bus, cuz this trail has no shadow and its hot walking there in summer. Admission is free, but give a small donation. Filming is not allowed. its open till 7 pm
Rupite is an area located in the Sandansko – Petrich valley. It is 20 km to the southwest of Melnik.
The closest town is Petrich, about 8 km northeast of Rupite.
If you ask most of the Bulgarians, they would know about Rupite although it is a rather small village. The reason is that this is where the home and the grave of the famous Bulgarian fortune teller Vanga is.
She believed that the whole area of Rupite has a special cosmic energy.
After her death a church was built next to her grave. It is called “St. Petka”. The last thing you can tall about this church that t is a typical orthodoxal one. As a whole find the church itself unpleasent place to visit. Usually churches makes me feel comfortable but not this one. What I especially dslike are the fresques. The were painted by a Bulgarian artist called Svetlin Roussev. He was quite a popular artist during the time of comunism.
Rupite attracts vistors not only because of Vanga but because of the beauty of the nature and the mineral springs. Also, I was told that Rupite has a wide variety of flora and fauna. Suposedly, you will find here the widest variety of snakes in Bulgaria.
I decided to have a walk in the morning, so I went out from Despot Slav Hotel and kept walking u the street, I passed the Krdlupulou's House and reached a hotel under costruction. There was a road turning right, so I kept walking, after about 10 min walk the road disappeared. There was only tiny path left. I walked further the path and reached the ruins of the church that you see on the picture.
It is a charming place completely off the beaten path. I would recommend you visit it :)
What surprised me was that there were stones piled around. When I went to the Histrical museum later that day the lady working there told me that the people from Melnik will rebuilt the church within the next years.
I noticed that most of the people who were carying cameras and looked like tourist tend t walk only on the main streets and never turn left or right.
So, here is my recommendation, don't skip the side streets they are as beautiful as the main street.
Here is a picture of such a place :) If you are not too lazy, click on the picture to elarge it. I trly enjoyed the scene, so I decided to share it with you :)
The impressive rock formations near the town of Melnik can be seen far away after you turn from the highway Sofia-Kulata (E-79) into direction of Melnik.