Despot Alexius Slav was a Bulgarian independent autocrat of the 12-th and 13-th century and a descendant of the Asen dynasty. There were many mountain fortresses under his authority as well as the Western and Central Rhodopes and the most part of Macedonia to the east of the river Srtuma.
Despot Alexius conflicted with Tzar Boril. Ne fought against Boril together with the Despotate of Epirus, extending the territory of his state. In 1211 he captured the fortress of Melnik, where he moved his capital from Tsepina in 1215 and became an autocrat. During his reign Melnik passed through an economic and cultural upsurge. In Melnik Despot Slav even had his own royal court.
Despot Alexius Slav was famous for his charity awards to monasteries. The Rozhensky Monastery was also granted financial aid from his side.
Unfortunately because of numerous wars, the Slavova Fortress was not preserved. But its ruins still atract tourists from different countries. Now the ruins are situated not far from Melnik on the St Nicholas hill. You can reach there by foot. Dilapidated, but still majestic stone walls remind us of distant glorious days of strong and prosperous town of Melnik.
According to local inhabitants in 1915 here Yane Sandanski passes by with his horse before being ambushed and killed on his way to Gotse Delchev.