The “Monyak”(Mneakos) fortress
The “Monyak”(Mneakos) fortress This medieval fortress was built in 12th-13th century and is one of the highest in the Rhodopes. It hosted a military garrison and was a shelter in the time of war for the people of the nearby village. There is written evidence for the connection of “Monyak” fortress with the Crusades in 1206. The fortress is located on a high rock plateau almost inaccessible from the west and south, on the left bank of “Studen kladenec” dam and around 5-6 km from Kardzhali. The fortress consists of two parts. The outside wall encompasses the hill all the way on the north. On the west slope is located the entrance with two towers at each side. While the north wall was a solid trapezoid bastion, the south was on few floors with a preserved height of 7.8m. It follows the terrain contours to the south reaching an impassable 50m high rock cliff. A citadel is located in the southernmost point of the plateau with solid trapezoid bastions on the walls and an entrance in the middle of the northern wall. The protected area is 50 decares. During the excavation works few buildings were localized one of which with a square plan and an internal citadel. The ground floor is dug in the rocks and was probably used for water storage. One representative building faces west, under the citadel and was at least on two floors. The first floor is dug in the rock with mortar coated side-walls. The second floor is supported by four pillars and its ground coincides with the rocks’ level. For sure that was a second water storage with a civil building over it. There is an inter-esting building along the axis of the outside wall of the fortress. It is from the same type with dug in the rock ground floor with mortar coated wall. A lot of pottery remains were found there meaning that floor was probably used for food storage. The southern wall of the premises was covered with shelves and all utensils fell on the ground when the fortress was destroyed. Over 20 intact utensils were discovered most of which were earthen jugs and pitchers Note: Little after leaving Kardzhali for Haskovo (through Most village) starts a marked route leading to the fortress. One way is to pass through Shiroko pole village, another is around the children camp on the old road to Shiroko pole village after the turnoff for the village. The place is suitable for tourism.
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