Monek (Monyak) Castle

29km away from Nicodia Estate

The Monyak (also known as Mneakos) fortress is located eastwards of Kardjali (Eastern Rhodope Mountain) over the village of Shiroko pole. It is one of the biggest and well-fortified fortresses in the Rhodope Mountain covering 50 decares land area.

The external fortress wall is built of stones soldered with plaster in a way following the curves of the surrounding rocks. Some parts of the 7.8 meters high fortress wall are still preserved. Fortresses main gate is on the west side and was protected by two rectangular towers.

The citadel perches on the highest eastern part of the massif. For an additional fortification some massive bastions were built on the outer side throughout the wall as two of them are flanking the entrance. Special care of the fresh water reservoirs and storehouses was taken when the fortress was being built. Archeologists explored some of them.

Inside the fortress there was a military garrison and during wars all people from surrounding villages were using it as a shelter.

The Monyak Fortress was also bounded with the crusaders when in 1206 they crossed the Rhodope Mountain area. Their commander was the famous Marshall Zhofrua de la Vilarduen who wrote in his chronicles that the crusaders understood about the death of their Emperor Baldwin II of Flanders when they were in the fertile Art Valley (Arda Valley) at the foot of the mighty Monyak Fortress.
The Baron Meeting was conducted there and it decided to proclaim Henry of Flanders as the new Emperor of the Latin Empire.