Momchil's Fortress is situated near the Gradat village, Smolyan Municipality. The village is about 17km East from Smolyan.

The fortress was built during the Justinian Emperor’s reign (527 – 565) who initiated the construction of many military facilities on the Balkans, with several lines of defense around the capital of Constantinople and the Rhodopean, Staroplaninska and Dunavska areas. The stronghold inherits an ancient Thracian sanctuary by the end of the V BC, once situated at the highest point of the fortress, with panoramic view towards Perelik peak (2191m), the nowadays Snezhanka tower, the Rhozhen Observatory and Svoboda peak (1943m). Here one can also see the rock pinnacles where the other two strongholds, part of the defense lines of Justinian Emperor against the Barbarian raids from the north are situated: Kaleto Fortress in Turluka Area, north of Smolyan, and Koznik Fortress, south of Rudozem.

The Emperor’s fortress didn’t last long – it was set on fire by the Slavs and restored in XI AC. In 1343 the Rodopean leader Momchil claims it. The fortress plays a major role as a point of defense by the Ottoman invasion in the Rhodopes, when it is set on fire again and was never restored.

The independent Rhodopean leader Momchil, whose name the fortress took, was a Bulgarian, who in XIV AC was one of the Bysantine throne claimants. Empress Anna of Savoy granted him the title of nobility “despot”. Later he was declared a sebastokrator by Emperor John Kantakouzenos. At that time Momchil invades and occupies the Xanti castle, making it his headquarters. Momchil starts his own defense against the Ottoman invaders and wins the Abdera battle (today in Greece). Dies on July 7, 1345 during the battle of the Peritor fortress, on the Aegean coast. Momchil voyvoda (Bulgarian for ‘leader’) is an important figure in the local Bulgarian, Serbs and Herzegovina epos as a warrior against the Ottomans.

In XIX starts a research of the Rhodopes. The Momchil fortress becomes a subject of scientific researches and in 1966 it is declared an archeological memorial of national importance. The archeological research starts in 1986.

All findings from the excavations are now exposed in the Regional History museum ‘Stoyo Shishkov’, Smolyan.