Church of St Nicholas the Miracle-Worker
Metropolitan church of St Nicholas the Miracle-Worker is situated in the south-eastern part of Melnik close to the center of the town.
Saint Nicholas in Christianity is considered a miracle-worker, protector of sailors, travelers, merchants and children. He is famous for his charity activities as well as for protection of calumniated and innocent convicted people. According to the legend Nicholas wanted to help one poor nobleman to marry off his daughter. He stealthily placed two bags with gold under his windows and threw several coins in his chimney. That’s how the tradition to make presents for Christmas was born.
The Church of St Nicholas the Miracle-Worker in Melnik is built of stones and flat bricks. There is a water spring in the yard of the church (in bulgarian it is called cheshma). On the northern wall above the doors there still remain some elements of original wall paintings. The church was painted by Lazar Zograph Melnichanin. His image is still preserved on the holy doors of the old iconostasis. The paintings of Melnik’s churches have inimitable style which differs from main painting schools of Renaissance period. There are unique icons kept in the church. Those icons are great examples of Melnik painting school and are of extraordinary artistic value.
The Church of St Nicholas the Miracle-Worker was built in the 13-th century. But at that time its appearance was very different. In the Middle Ages the building of the church was not big. During several centuries it was rebuilt and expanded many times. And in 1756 the church got the look which is very similar to the today’s appearance. The inscription on the sanctuary wall in the eastern part of the church proves that. In 1895 the building was destroyed by fire, but at the beginning of the 20-th century it was reconstructed again with help of National Institute of Cultural Monuments. Today this is one of a few functioning churches in Melnik.