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St John the Baptist Church

St John the Baptist Church (in Bulgarian - tsarkva "Sveti Yoan Predtecha") is situated in the northwestern part of Melnik on the right bank of Melnishka river. This church is also known as the Church "Sveti Yani". Locals name it like that.

John the Baptist (also known as John the Forerunner) in Christianity is honoured as the prophet who predicted coming of the Messiah. He was the precursor of Jesus, preached christening of penance, christened Jesus Christ and was beheaded after that. It is interesting that the historicity of John the Baptist is not denied even by atheistic Soviet scientists.

St John the Baptist Church in Melnik was built in the 18-th - 19-th centuries. It is a national cultural monument and is a part of cultural and historical reserve "Melnik". The church has reach wall paintings. The columns are decorated with coloured garlands and bouquets, over the iconostasis you can see circling birds and a colored rooster, on the Episcopal throne there are doves and colorful peacocks. The iconostasis and royal gates are of great artistic value. The remarkable collection of icons is also unique. A part of them were done by the painters Lazar Argirov and Yakov Nikolay.

This temple unlike other churches has two rows of balconies. One of them was for the girls and another one for the women. The boys and the men used to stand downstairs.

Nowadays St John the Baptist Church is functioning and serves as a cemetery church of the town.

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Interesting facts

In socialist times the town has been included in the compulsory program of excursions for pupils.