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Welcome to the Kordopulov House in Melnik!

Photo: www.bg.wikipedia.org

© Photo: www.kordopulova-house.com

If you ask somebody from Melnik to describe their home town, you are likely to hear the most interesting and vivid story ever. Although Melnik is the smallest town in Bulgaria, its population being around 250 people, it is one of the oldest towns in the Bulgarian history. Located in the most southwestern corner of the country, at the foot of Mount Pirin, Melnik produces the best red wine in the country. In actual fact, Winston Churchill would order 500 liters of Melnik wine every year. Melnik has also preserved the Kordopulov House, one of the biggest houses left from the National Revival. The house was built by the rich Kordopulovs back in 1754. Once, its owners were among the biggest producers and traders of wine. They would sell the red “potion” to Budapest, Vienna, Venice, Paris, etc. Today, the Kordopulov House is a museum that sheds light on the Bulgarian culture and national traditions from the National Revival in 18 century to the present day.


© Photo: www.bg.wikipedia.org

Stoianka Passpaleva is the wife of one of the many descendants of this architectural masterpiece. Here is what she said for Radio Bulgaria:
“The wine was made on the ground floor. In the course of 12 years, people would dig tunnels whose labyrinths were some 200 meters long. Some 250-300 tons of wine would age in these cellars, which are like a natural fridge, their temperature being between 7-9 degrees C°.

© Photo: www.kordopulova-house.com

The owners of the house would live on the second floor. They would receive guests and make deals on the third floor. There would be only two people to sign a deal, and third parties weren’t allowed to take part. Interestingly, one of the rooms on the third floor has got a locker that served as a secret compartment in the past. Usually, the owner of the house would let a reliable person behind the secret compartment to eavesdrop on the talks and judge whether a certain deal was good. If the deal was good, the negotiating parties would enter the parlour to close the deal. The third floor also had a sauna, which has been preserved to the present day. What makes the big parlour impressive is its interesting windows. They are arranged in two lines of 12 windows. The top line windows are a synthesis of Venetian and oriental style, and the lower ones are styled on the Bulgarian Revival houses. The ceiling boasts lavish decoration. Its centre depicts a sun which is surrounded by 12 geometrical figures representing the months of the year. Above the big wooden wardrobes in the parlour, pictures of different varieties of grapes are suspended. In a smaller room next to the parlour, guests and visitors would have a cup of coffee. The owners of the Kordopulov House would invite many musicians to give shows, including musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra”, Stoianka Passpaleva told Radio Bulgaria.

© Photo: www.kordopulova-house.com

The winter garden of the Kordopulov House enjoys a panoramic view of Melnik. From a bird’s eye view, Melnik looks like a large theatre stage engulfed by the scenery of steep mountain towers. The town abounds in hospitable taverns offering the famous Melnik wine. The latter is made from an old local variety called wide Melnik vine, which grows best in this corner of Bulgaria. The owners of the Kordopulov House keep growing vines and producing red Melnik wine. A visit around the house includes wine tasting of local varieties. Naturally, it is best to visit the house in summer. Yet, even in winter, many tourists vacationing in the ski resort of Bansko drop in Melnik for a nice rest by the fireplace of a local tavern. The Kordopulov House, which is located in Bulgaria’s smallest town, is expecting you only to offer the best wine in the country.

English version: Vyara Popova

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