Melnik – Tiny Village of Legendary Wine


I like wine … Maybe you do, too?

So when I saw a pic of this lovely village amid escarpments – along with the fact that it’s a famous wine making place, I knew I had to get here.

melnik old homes
Today, many homes double as family-run taverns and shops for the local wine, and / or as restaurants and guesthouses. However, Menlik caters mostly to the domestic market; a perfect lovers retreat on the weekend.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m no wine snob. Not an expert. Nor wealthy or foolish to pay the prices that impress.

But here, and in the Balkans 5+ euros buys something quite drinkable.

Kordopulov wine merchant House interior -Melnek Bulgaria
Guestroom of the wonderful Kordopulov House – built in 1754, now a museum – but once belonging to one of Melnik’s foremost wine merchants.

And beyond my stable favorites  – Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot – I am happy to try it all.

traditional-melnik- stone house-bulgaria
The traditional house where I stayed for a couple of days.

The grand red wine in Melnik is ‘Shiroka Mehichka Loza’

A wine that was the toast of Europe – including royal patronage – for over 600 years.

The wine cellar tunnels of the Kordopulov House.

However good this sounds or however pretty Melnik looks, it’s story hasn’t always been roses and wine.

Near Melnik are the ruins—mostly just walls—of the Medieval Slavova Krepost Fortress.

Melnik is officially Bulgaria’s smallest village with just 385 people

Tragedy struck this booming town of 20,000 people during the Balkans Wars (1912-13), when Melnik was razed.

It never recovered.

Houses, and what were 70 churches, are mostly ruins.

Kordopulov House, one of the grander houses in the village.

To quote the info from the Kordopulov House Museum:

The home of the famous Melnik Kordopulov Family, who were trading wine across Europe, including Venice. The murder of Manol Kordopulov, one of the family’s heirs, on 27 October 1912, during the Balkan War, was followed by the assassination of 30 more people from this area. Shortly after, Melnik was torched.

Looking down on—part of—Melnik from the pyramid-shaped hills surrounding the village. (Note: the ruins of a church in center).

Travels in Bulgaria – 2015

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