Momchil's fortress

History, myth and legends

There are also no legends about Momchil's fortress. It is believed that before they fell under Turkish occupation, people were able to carry tons of gold from it, which they hid in an unknown cave. Momchil Voyvoda or Momchil Yunak, as is known in some sources, is a real historical personality. He was born and lived in the XIV century in the Rhodope Mountains and is known as the protector of the mountain.

The fortress was built during the reign of Emperor Justinian I (ruled 527-565), who undertook a spectacular military construction on the territory of the entire Balkan Peninsula and created several fortifications - around the capital Constantinople, Rhodopian, Stara Planina and Danube. The fortification facility is the heir of a Thracian rock sanctuary from the end of the 5th century BC. It is situated at the highest point of the fortress and reveals a panorama to Mount Golyam Perelik (2191 m), Snezhanka tower of Pamporovo, Rozhen National Astronomical Observatory and Svoboda peak (1943 m). From here you can see the cliffs on which the other two strongholds are located, part of the Justinian I common defense line against the barbarian raids from the north: the fortress Kaleto in the area of ​​Turluka, north of the town of Smolyan and the fortress Koznik - south of Rudozem.

The existence of the fortress is relatively short. It was burned by the Slavs and around the 11th century it was restored. In 1343 he was transferred to the possession of the Rhodopean ruler Momchil. It is then mentioned under the name Podvis. It played the role of a fortification facility until the end of the 14th century. It was then burned again and was not restored.

The independent Rhodopean ruler Momchil, whose name the fortress holds today, is a Bulgarian origin, who intervened in the first half of the 14th century in the intercession for the Byzantine throne. Empress Ana Savojska awarded him the title of despot. It was proclaimed a sevastocrator by the Emperor John Cantacuzin and was given the fortress Podvis and St. Irina. Later he captured the Xanthi fortress and made it his residence.