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The village of Smilyan is located just 15 km south of the town of Smolyan. It is situated in the southern slopes of the Kainadinski ridge, in the lower stream of the Arda River. This is the largest village in the Smolyan district, with a population of 1600 residents. The old name of the village is Smolen. Under this name it was mentioned in the chronicle of the Byzantine commander Grigorius Bakuriani. In 1083 the chronicle was given to the Bachkovo Monastery. Smilyan is one of the most ancient settlements in the Rhodope Mountains. In the years of Ottoman rule the population of the village was forcefully converted to Mohammedanism. The ruins of many churches, chapels, shrines and consecrated grounds can still be seen in the vicinity of the village. During the period of Ottoman domination, Smilyan was an administrative center of the Ahachelebiiska district. The Smolyan episcopate was located within the village until the religious conversion of the residents of the settlement. The today's mosque of the village is built on top of the ruins of the St. Peter and Paul Church, which was burned to ashes by the Turks in 1670.
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