This hot July we made a short but very pleasant trip to Pamporovo, during which we visited a dozen landmarks in the region. One of our many interesting visits was to the Momchilov fortress. We had been there before, but we were curious to see her again. We knew the views were well worth it. In addition, we had read about the new attraction there - the movie about Momchil Hero.
A brief history of the fortress
The fort was thoroughly studied during archaeological excavations in the 1986 year and later in the 2007 - 2010 period. It has been found to have two periods of habitation - in the 6 century and 11 - 14 century. At the end of the 6 century, the Momchil fortress, along with other fortresses from the Rhodope fortification system during the Middle Ages, was destroyed by the Slavs. Many years later - in the 11 century - the fortress was restored and functioned actively until the 60-70 years of the 14 century, when it was conquered and burned by the Ottoman Turks during their invasion of the Rhodopes.
Why is the fortress called "Momchilova"?
According to the woman who used to sell tickets, the fortress had previously been called Gradishte. So is the name of the area around. During the Byzantine emperor Cantacuzine, it was mentioned under the name Podvis.
In 1343, the fortress was passed into the possession of Momchil, the Rhodope ruler of Bulgarian origin, who rose due to his bravery and combinability from a boy from the people to a despot and a sevastocrator. According to an information board within the fortress, the Podvis fortress is the first capital of Momchil's possessions. Momchil leads the fight against the Ottoman invaders, in which he finds his death. Several legends tell of his exploits and fate. They call him Momchil a young man. Because of all this, I suppose the fortress is nowadays called Momchil.
What can be seen
Thanks to a European project, part of the fortress walls have been restored and a path has been constructed that surrounds the fortress. At the top of the hill on which the Momchil Fort was built there was an ancient Thracian rock sanctuary. From it there is a rocky platform, secured with a railing.
It is from this point that an impressive panorama opens in all directions. On both our visits to the fortress we saw the Snow White Tower and the Rozhen Observatory. The Peak Peak peak is said to be visible, but I personally could not recognize it. They also say that there is a visual connection between this fortress, the Smolyan fortress and the fortress in Rudozem.
Our second visit to the Momchilov fortress was one Saturday night. In addition to looking at the fortress again, we witnessed an attraction opened a few months ago - a movie about Momchil, projected on one of the rocks in the fortress. The whole setting - the fortress, sunken in dusk and delicately surrounded by a fine luminous band - the illuminated path, rocks, film, sound and lights convey a unique sense of oneness and connection with those glorious times.
How to get to Momchilov fortress
The Momchil Fortress is located about 17 kilometers east of Smolyan, near the village of Gradat. From Smolyan you pass through Ustovo and take the road to Madan. There are signs there.
There is an information center at the foot of the fortress. The cars are also left there. From there begins the path that leads to the fortress in about 20 minutes walk. This is how long the return takes.
On our first visit, for a more direct visit, we chose to storm the hill straight without using the path. Not that we saved time - the hill is quite steep - but it was kind of more interesting.