GOTSE DELCHEV, MELNIK & ROZHEN MONASTERY:
The town of Gotse Delchev has a unique Mediterranean ambience and bears the name of Macedonia's greatest revolutionary who was born in Kilkis in northern Greece, buried in Rila Monastery, but subsequently interred in a tomb in Skopje. The History Museum contains folk costumes and relics from the ancient Roman town of Necropolis and Nestrum and The Rifat Bei Kashta has relics and artifacts explaining the lifestyle and crafts from the National Revival Period.
Melnik is reached by driving across the southern Pirin mountains, a journey where a camcorder or camera is a 'must'! Melnik is the smallest town in Bulgaria, now with 300 inhabitants but in 1880 the population was 20000. It is famous for its sand-hills that have eroded to produce the famous Melnik "pyramids". Even more notable are its noble red wine, made from the small dark red
Melnik Broad Grape, that was a favourite of Sir Winston Churchill, and the white Keratsuda wine that slowly changes colour when the bottle is opened!
|Kordopulov House; the interior, and a stained window|
The town hides in a steep-sided, small ravine with the impressive houses seemingly exploding out of the ravine sides.
Kordopulov House, formally the home of a rich merchant, provides insight of the former lifestyle, a mixture of Bulgarian and Turkish influence, and contains wine cellars carved into the hillside.
Rozhen Monastery has a wonderful, unadorned, Simplistic charm and downhill is the church of Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodii with the grave of Yane Sandanski, the famous Macedonian freedom fighter.