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Rozhensky Monastery

Rozhensky Monastery is the largest orthodox cloister in Pirinsky region. The monastery has been kept safe till nowadays and is being visited by numerous tourists from different countries.

It is not known for sure when Rozhensky Monastery was built. At the end of the 17-th century huge fire broke out and has burnt the Monastery’s archive. According to the Athos sources it was built in 890. Indirect proofs points to existance of the monastery in the 13-th century. Rozhenski Monastery is mentioned in greek manuscript, and there were also some Byzantine coins of the 13-th century discovered during excavation.

After the fire in the 17-th century the monastery was greatly damaged. It was reconstructed in the 18-th century thanks to the financial help of reach bulgarians from all over the country.

The prosperity of the monastery falls on the 19-th century. The Rozhensky Monastery becomes the spiritual omphalos of the Pirinsky region. During this time the monastery owns large territories in the neighbourhood. The monastery’s church - St. Nativity of the Virgin Mary (in bulgarian it sounds like "Rozhdestvo Bogorodichno") gives name to a nearby village - Rozhen.

Rozhensky Monastery is functioning and is one of the 100 national tourist places in Bulgaria. Its construction reminds a medieval fortress. Its entrance is an arc with a massive wooden door. There is grapes growing in the yard. In the middle of the yard the monastery’s church is situated. On the perimeter of the walls there are 3 floors of monastic cells with long galleries and monastic refectory. The floors are wooden. They are very old but kept safe. The church of St. Nativity of the Virgin Mary is quite old. It was supposedly built in the 16-th century. Small church chapel has its own carved iconostasis which is an artistic value  of the monastery.

Not far from the monastery there is the tomb of the bulgarian national hero Yane Sandanski. Sandanski’s detachment was fighting against turkish invaders during the Balkan War. It played an important role in the liberation of Melnik. There are Yane Sandanski’s words written on his tombstone: "To live means to fight. A slave fights for freedom, a free person - for perfection."

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Interesting facts

Melnik is famous for its incredible red wine from Shiroka Melnishka. This is an old red grape variety that can grow only in southwestern Bulgaria near Melnik, Sandanski and Petrich in the valley of the Struma River. All attempts of it to be moved to other regions of Bulgaria or abroad were unsuccessful. This makes it a unique variety.