Rupite “St. Petka of Bulgaria”,
The memorial temple “St. Petka of Bulgaria”, built in 1994 is situated in the locality of Rupite. The locality is mostly famous as a place related to the prophet Vanga, and by this it attracts thousands of worshippers and tourists. Vangeliya Gushterova (1911 – 1996), is the full name of the prophet, was famous around the whole world with her multiple prophecies which had come true. According to a legend, Vanga lost her sight in her early childhood years in a storm, but during the accident she had a vision, which gave her the unique abilities. In the last years of her life, Vanga lived in a small house in the Rupite, because according to her relatives she considered the area an energy source and collected her powers from it. The church was built by monetary means, provided by Vanga, and it is notable for its wall paintings.
Rozhen Monastery of the Nativity of the Mother of God
s the biggest monastery in the Pirin Mountains in southwestern Bulgaria, nestled in the Melnik Earth Pyramids. It is one of the few medieval Bulgarian monasteries well preserved until today.
The earliest archaeological evidence of medieval life at the place is a grave with a few coins and decorations from the time of Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos (1259–1282). Some other items also date to the 13th century while the marble frieze above the central gate of the church dates to the 13th or 14th century. A couple of new buildings were constructed in the monastery at the time of Despot Alexius Slav. The earliest written source testifying to the monastery’s existence is a note on a chant book from 1551, today in the Great Lavra library on Mount Athos.
The smallest town in Bulgaria (208 residents), Melnik, is nested in the south slopes of Pirin, among sand pyramids with queer forms. The finds from the antiquity discovered upon the archaeological diggings testify for its centuries-old history. The first written pieces of evidence for the Melnik Fortress refer to the beginning of the 11th century. The first settlers on the territory of contemporary Melnik were the Thracians, and more particularly the Thracian tribe Maedi, of which the legendary rebel Spartacus originated. A few centuries later, the Romans lived on this ground. This proves the ancient Roman bridge, which is still preserved in the town of Melnik. The Slavs, who were consequently residing on this territory, had called their settlement Melnik, because of the surrounding sand pyramids. The name comes from the Slavonic word “Mel”, which means white clay, crayon.
In 1215 Melnik turned into a capital of an independent feudal principality, ruled by Despot Alexius Slav. The ruins of his fortress are preserved to the present days, near the town.