Sandanski

Sandanski is a piece of paradise in which the eyes and the spirit delight in pure nature and healing water and air. A land of millennial history which has preserved prehistoric, Thracian, Hellenic, Roman, Byzantine, Turkish and National Revival traces. It is a land abundant in sunshine, which people have captured for centuries in the rich wine and delicious dishes of Melnik – a mixture of traditional Bulgarian and Mediterranean recipes.

Sandanski is located in southwestern Bulgaria, surrounded by numerous mountains and is only an hour’s drive away from the Aegean Sea. Thermal water with different temperatures (42-81°С), low mineralization and rich chemical composition springs from the ground and considering the combination of mild Mediterranean climate, an average yearly temperature of 14°С and a large number of sunny days, there is a wide variety of opportunities for recreation, SPA relaxation and treatment of numerous diseases. It is not by chance that Sandanski is known as the best natural health station for respiratory diseases in Europe.

The remains of an ancient town that was established around the mineral springs in the II millennium B.C. lie under present-day Sandanski. Spartacus – the leader of the biggest uprising (the year 74) in the Roman Empire originated from the Thracian tribe called Maedi.

By the VI century, the town was one of the first Christian episcopal centres in Bulgaria. At the end of the VI century, it adopted the name Sveti Vrach in memory of the holy brothers St. St. Bezsrebrenitsi Kozma and Damyan. These monuments dating back to old times are the Early-Christian basilica from the II century and a complex of ancient buildings in the open air, with free access, which are still being examined and restored.

The natural sight called “Melnik pyramids” is located to the southeast of Sandanski. It consists of Pliocene lake formations covering an area of 1 165,6 ha and reaching a height of 100 m. Among the sandy rocks of Melnik lies the city of Melnik – a monument of the Bulgarian medieval and National Revival architecture.  

The Rozhen Monastery and the Melnik Pyramids have been declared a natural, cultural and historical reserve. The region is famous for the Melnik wine, which was admired by Churchill as well. It is stored in cellars dug deep into the rocks. During the period of the National Revival, the popularity of the wine crossed the borders of Bulgaria and spread as far as Venice and Genoa.

Rupite, which is a protected area known for its healing mineral springs with a temperature of 74°C, is only 16 km from Sandanski. Via Aristotelis passes though that area. It is one of the two major migration routes of the birds across the territory of the country, owing to which about 201 types of birds can be seen in this region. St. Petka Bulgarska memorial temple, built in 1994, is located in Rupite. This area is mainly popular as a place related to the prophetess Vanga, as a result of which it attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists.

By crossing the Melnik pyramids along an eco-path, you reach the village of Zlatolist. It is famous for Saint George Monastery, whose church has been dug deep into the ground. This is where Reverend Stoyna, a nun and prophetess helping people, lived in the beginning of the last century.