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Melnik is a town in Blagoevgrad Province, southwestern Bulgaria, in the southwestern Pirin Mountains, about 440 m above sea level. The town is an architectural reserve and 96 of its buildings are cultural monuments. With a population of 385, it is the smallest town in Bulgaria, retaining its city status today for historical reasons.

The unique architecture of Melnik make it a popular tourist destination. In addition, the town has been famous for producing strong wine since at least 1346. The local wine from the varietal Broad Leave Melnik Vine was reportedly a favourite of Winston Churchill's. Lately, the area of Melnik is enjoying a revival of vine growing and wine making. Several new, modern wineries have been built and operate

Interesting architectural landmarks include the Byzantine House, the Kordopulov House, the Pashov House which houses the Historical Museum of Melnik and the Pasha's House, built by Ibrahim Bey.

The area around Melnik is strikingly eroded, particularly the enormous area of cliff that serves as a backdrop to the town. This area, covering some 17 km² near Melnik, Kurlanovo and Rozhen, has been called the Melnik Badlands. The hills in this area can rise up to 100 metres (330 ft) high.The unique formations, which can resemble giant mushrooms, ancient towers, and obelisks, were formed when heavy rain eroded the sand and clay the hills are composed of.(from Wikipedia).

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Additional Photos by Piotr Fagasiewicz (PiotrF) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 4763 W: 2 N: 8674] (41754)
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