Meet the Locals in Razlog Valley
Cultural and Sightseeing
Razlog valley. Razlog is located about 160 kilometres (99 miles) from Sofia, and it is situated in a valley between three mountains – the Rila, Pirin and Rodopi. This unique location provides a great variety of cultures, traditions, landscapes and typical food. Dobarsko is a small village not far from Razlog. The Church of Theodore Tyro and Theodore Stratelates is built in 1614 and painted in 1672. The church is included in the list of the 100 national tourist attractions for its abundance of original frescoes and icons, some of which are interpreted as portraying Jesus in a rocket. The holy spring in the churchyard is said to be curative and indeed the one that cured Samuil’s soldiers that founded the village, as depicted in one fresco. A small swastika and a cross on the eastern wall are the only items in the exterior that show that the small stone building is a religious temple. The frescoes were cleaned up and partially restored in 1974-1978, and the church is a national monument of culture. Razlog is very close (10 min by car) to Bansko whose old town is charming with its cobblestone streets and local tavernas. It offers a great variety of hiking trails, and it is often visited by mountain trekkers and skiers in the winter.
Melnik is a declared architectural reserve. It became a part of the First Bulgarian Empire under the rule of Khan Presian I (836-852) and prospered greatly in the period. Melnik became the capital of an independent feudal principality governed by Despot Alexius Slav in 1209 and had an economic and cultural prosperity. The town continued to flourish under Tsar Ivan Assen ІІ because of the duty-free trade with Dubrovnik (ruled by Venetians). In the late 18th century, the town had 1300 houses, seventy churches and a population of some 20, 000 people.
The Rozhen Monastery of the Nativity of the Mother of God is the biggest monastery in the Pirin Mountains in south-western Bulgaria. It is one of the few medieval Bulgarian monasteries well preserved until today.
The tour will include: after a two hours drive you will reach the most visited UNESCO site in Bulgaria – the Rila Monastery with its beautiful frescoes and wonderful mountain landscape as a background.he visit there takes two hours. For lunch, you will be able to try the local speciality – fresh grilled trout. Later you will have a drive to a small village in Razlog Valley where you will meet a local family and check-in in their own house. If you wish, you can have a donkey ride around the village all the way to the water well. In the evening our hosts will show how they prepare their food, how they live and will perform for you national singing and dancing. They will serve you home made food and a glass of rakia (grape brandy) to welcome you and invite you to join their dances. In the morning after a nice breakfast, you will visit the church in Dobarsko. Then you will head to Melnik and spend the rest of the day. The walk into the town is fairly short, some steep steps and streets will take you first to the ruins of the flourishing Medieval period of the town and then to Kordopoulov’s family house, where you will learn about 19th century Melnik history, people, grapes, wine making and you will see a real wine cave. You will taste some wine also of course. You can have lunch in Melnik itself or on the way to nearby Rozhen Monastery (another 15 minute drive). At the Monastery you will enjoy a beautiful view of sandstone rocks and mountains.
Recommended period: All year round.
Walking time: 2h 30m approximately.
Special Requirements: Comfortable shoes.