Ethnographic museum - Belchin, Bulgaria The village of Belchin in the region of Samokov is located just 50 km away from Sofia and is best known for its hot springs. It became popular also with the medieval fortress uncovered by archaeologists on the nearby hill Sveti Spas. These findings gave grounds to scholars to believe that Christianity here was adopted by the local people more than 1,700 years ago. The history of the fortress and the village that back in time was called “the Little Istanbul” is shrouded in legend. Many times the fortress was subject to destruction and fires, but locals revived it from the ashes, because the place is of key importance. Through it passes the Iron Route from Europe to Istanbul. With its white towers and fortress walls, the former Tsari Mali Grad (“small royal town”) was very much reminiscent of the white construction typical of the buildings of the city near the Bosphorus strait. And the inhabitants of Belchin say Tsari Mali Grad was the old name of their village.