Route: Dobrinishte – highway Struma – Melnik – village of Rozhen (Rozhen monastery) – village of Zlatolist

Distance: 100 km., 6 km. from Melnik and from the village of Zlatolist, 15 km. from the city of Sandanski

The Virgin is especially revered in the Christian pantheon of the Bulgarians. They see in her the image of the mother, trust in her and worship her with the most expensive gifts, gold and silver. She is called Gatekeeper – opening the door to the heart of God, Omilyayuschaya – loving, Guide – showing the true path, Shirshaya nebes or Wider than the heavens. The Mother of God is a Life-creating source and a symbol of purity and virtue.

September 8 – Nativity of the Virgin

There are not a few feasts of the Mother of God during the calendar year. In honor of one of them – the Nativity, the Nativity Monastery was built on the outskirts of the village of Rozhen, Melnishko.

The holy places have one distinctive feature – they are built in places distinguished by divine beauty and natural harmony. Places where prayer and contemplation bring elevation, humility, hope and spiritual joy.

The Rozhen monastery was built on the southern slope of Pirin, on a low hill that is illuminated by the sun all day long. If you are prepared for a mountain, you can climb to the monastery from the village of Rozhen along a nice forest path. It is good to know that the asphalt road is often closed by sand drifts during rain and is prohibited for buses.

The monastery is well fortified with high white walls. Above the entrance is the image of the Nativity. The iron gate guards the marks of bullets and raids. During the Ottoman rule, the monastery was not only a spiritual center, but also a nest of komites.

The exact date of the foundation of the Rozhen Monastery is not known. There are indications of the existence of a church in this place as early as the 9th century. The monastery was probably founded in the 13th century, during the time of Despot Slav, the ruler of Melnik and nephew of the Bulgarian king Kaloyan (1197-1207). The main church, the monastery refectory and some residential buildings date from the 16th century. Over time, the monastery suffered invasions and fires, but was always rebuilt..

It is notable for the beautiful interior decoration of the church, the wood carving by Debar masters and the icon shrine “St. The Virgin Gatekeeper”.

The monastery is active. It opens its doors every morning at 8 o’clock for mass. Rooms are provided for pilgrims. It has a museum collection of valuable icons, religious objects, donations from pilgrims and an ethnographic collection of costumes and needlework from Southwestern Bulgaria.

“Prayer is hope and hope is prayer”

Include in your program the visit of the church “St. Georgi” in the village of Zlatolist /at a distance of 6 km./. The place carries the sanctity of Venerable Stoina, her faith and prayer. Venerable Stoina was born in 1883. in Sersko and has a fate similar to the prophetess Vanga. She healed with sincere and deep prayer, bowing before St. George, before the Virgin and Christ. People tell and believe stories of her spirit rising above the body.

In the churchyard there is a plane tree of the 13th century.

Walking route Melnik-Rozhensky monastery


A pleasant hiking route for a walk in the mountains, lasting about an hour and a half. The trail passes through beautiful areas filled with natural phenomena and historical sites. It starts from Melnik, gradually gaining height, crosses Melnik pyramids and sandstones and enters young oak forests, which are replaced by beech and conifers higher up.

The trail is not well marked. It meanders, passing through the bed of the so-called Rozhensko dere. In some parts, you can still see the cobblestones of the old wine road that connected Bansko with Melnik. We recommend a local guide who will tell you a lot about the region.

Wine tasting

The Melny region offers many opportunities for wine tasting. The regional wineries are united and together they carry out various initiatives. The map of the Wine Routes has been created, which is distributed free of charge throughout the region.

See more ideas for activities and walks to do in the surroundings of Bansko!

Picture of Vanya Grancharova

Vanya Grancharova

I actively participate in the cultural life of the tourist destination Bansko and I’m a member of the patriotic association "Dedo Lazko". I combine my commitments to the tourism business with teaching at the high school in Bansko. I am part of the author's team for the adaptation of „Slavic Bulgarian History“ for students. My favorite projects that I develop with passion and enthusiasm are: "Art Idea Bg" company for design, the internet portal for culinary tourism and the "Taste of Bansko" project as entirely my author's spaces.