Where in the world is Sandanski-Melnik & furthermore, why would I visit? That’s a simple enough question, with no simple answer.
Sandanski and Melnik are two cities in the Blagoevgrad Province of Bulgaria. The former, a city of just less than 40,000 residents is quite a bit bigger than Melnik; and is well-known for its mineral water springs. Oh, lovely–who doesn’t enjoy one of those?
Melnik, on the other hand, is a history lover’s dream city. Yes, Melnik is still a city even though it has less than 400 residents (all for historical reasons I’m told).
It appears the question to be, not whether to visit Sandansi-Melnik, but which one to visit first?
I’ll go with this, because Sandanski has relaxing mineral springs, I’ll save them for after I’ve worn myself out with all the sightseeing in Melnik.
Melnik’s landmark is the Ancient Roman Bridge, so named because it’s a real Roman bridge. Other architectural gems in town are the Byzantine House (12/13th century), the 19th century Pashov House that’s the Local History Museum, St. Nicholas Church (13th century), Church of Sts. Peter & Paul, and the Kordoulov House with its exceptionally large wine cellar.
Oh, c’mon, try some great Bulgarian wines. They’ve been making it here from the mid-14th century, so practice makes perfect. It’s been said that Winston Churchill was a fan; maybe you’ll be one too.
Melnik’s countryside is really spectacular, and most noted for its sand pyramids. They stretch around the city for about 12 miles in all directions–so pick a direction & go.
But, you might want to head towards Sandanski, which sits at the bottom of the Pirin Mountain along the Sandanska Bistritsa River. The weather’s great here in this part of Bulgaria, adding to the spa-like feel of the city.
After spending a few days hiking and sightseeing around Melnik, you’ve definitely earned a day soaking in its healing waters. Now I ask you, why wouldn’t you want to visit Sandanski-Melnik?