The famous writer of adventure novels Carl May wrote about the Bulgarian town of Melnik at the end of the 19th century. In 1888 the writer published the series “Through the depths of the Balkans” and he described the hard life of the Bulgarian folk in the Ottoman Empire.
Carl May wrote for the First Bulgarian Kingdom
Melnik and Bulgaria are mentioned several times. The favorite of generations of teenagers, writer Carl May described Bulgarians as honest, sincere, and thrifty people, and his heroine, symbolizing Bulgaria, is Anka – a poor local girl. Although the writer has never been to Bulgaria, he showed enviable historical and geographical knowledge. In his novel, Carl May wrote for the First Bulgarian Kingdom: “It is known that during the reign of King Simeon, who ruled from 888 to 927, the kingdom reached its greatest limits. Trade, art, and science were intensively developed, and in many places, the search for precious metals has begun. The power of Tsar Simeon reached in the West approximately to today’s city of Prizren… ”.
Various legends have been told about Melnik. Today it is the smallest Bulgarian town with only 177 inhabitants (according to data from 2019). The area was once inhabited by the Thracian tribes Medi. They produced wonderful wine in the era before Christ. But since the Middle Ages Melnik became really famous for the wine from the old Bulgarian variety Shiroka Melnishka Loza. Thanks to its wine, Melnik is becoming a thriving commercial center. Nowadays, the Shiroka Melnishka Loza variety is considered very local limited, as it grows only in the valley of the Struma River. The distinctive features of Melnik wine are the sparkling red color, dense taste, pleasant freshness, coming from an incredible bouquet of aromas, in which tobacco, leather, and fruits are felt.
Melnik is the smallest Bulgarian town
Melnik also impresses with its well-maintained houses in the typical 18th century Revival style. One of them is the Kordopulova House, built-in 1754 by a wealthy Greek merchant, who used to be a member of the Kordopulos family. The house has impressive interior architecture with extremely beautiful decorations of frescoes, stained glass, and carvings. In the basement of the house, there is a typical Melnik cellar. It is carved in the form of a tunnel in the rock and the wine barrels are stored inside. The rock pyramids above Melnik are a must-see if you have decided to stay in the town for more than a delicious meal and tasting a glass of nice wine. The pyramids are located about 100 meters above the city and have bizarre shapes – rock mushrooms, swords, cones, Egyptian pyramids. In the 1950s, the pyramids were declared a natural landmark.