Top Ten Macedonian Attractions

Top Ten Macedonian Attractions

       Macedonia is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991. It became a member of the United Nations in 1993 but, as a result of a dispute with Greece over its name, it was admitted under the provisional reference of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. A landlocked country, the Republic of Macedonia is bordered by Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Albania. It constitutes approximately the northwestern half of the larger geographical region of Macedonia, which also comprises parts of Greece and Bulgaria. The country’s capital is Skopje, with 506,926 inhabitants ( 2002). Other cities include Bitola, Kumanovo, Prilep, Tetovo, Ohrid, Veles, Štip, Kočani, Gostivar and Strumica. It has more than 50 lakes and 16 mountains higher than 2,000 m (6,562 ft).

  1. Skopje

           Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia with about a third of the total population. It is the country’s political, cultural, economic and academic center. It was known in the Roman period under the name Scupi. The territory of Skopje has been inhabited since at least 4,000 BC; remains of Neolithic settlements have been found within the old Kale Fortress that overlooks the modern city center. On the eve of the 1st century AD, the settlement was seized by the Romans and became a military camp. When the Roman Empire was divided into eastern and western halves in 395 AD, Scupi came under Byzantine rule from Constantinople. During much of the early medieval period, the town was contested between the Byzantines and the Bulgarian Empire. From 1282 the town was part of the Serbian realm and its capital city since 1346. In 1392 the city was conquered by the Ottoman Turks who called the town Üsküp. The town stayed under Ottoman control over 500 years. At that time the city was famous for its oriental architecture. In 1912 the city was conquered by the Kingdom of Serbia during the Balkan Wars and after the WWI the city became part of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Kingdom of Yugoslavia). In the WWII the city was conquered by the Bulgarian Army, which was part of Axis powers. In 1944 it became the capital city of Democratic Macedonia (later Socialist Republic of Macedonia), which was a federal state, part of Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (later Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). The city developed rapidly after WWII, but this trend was interrupted in 1963 when it was hit by a disastrous earthquake. In 1991 it became the capital city of independent Macedonia. Skopje is located on the upper course of the Vardar River and is located on a major north-south Balkan route between Belgrade and Athens. It is a center for metal-processing, chemical, timber, textile, leather and printing industries. Industrial development of the city has been accompanied by development of the trade, logistics and banking sectors, as well as an emphasis on the fields of culture and sport. According to the 2006 official estimate, it has 668,518 inhabitants.
  2. Ohrid

           Ohrid is a city on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid in the Republic of Macedonia. It has about 42,000 inhabitants, making it the 7th largest city in the country. The city is the seat of Ohrid Municipality. Ohrid is notable for having once had 365 churches, one for each day of the year and has been referred to as a “Jerusalem.” The city is rich in picturesque houses and monuments, and tourism is predominant. It is located southwest of Skopje, west of Resen and Bitola, close to the border with Albania.
    Links: Top Ten Mosaics,,
  3. Heraclea Lyncestis

           Heraclea Lyncestis also spelled Herakleia Lynkestis, was an ancient Greek city in the north-western region of the ancient kingdom of Macedon. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC in Lynkestis, after its conquest. The town was named in honor of the mythological Greek hero Heracles. The epithet Lyncestis means “the Land of the Lynx” in Greek. During the Roman period it got the name Heraclea Lyncestis in Latin, from which the English name is derived. Today its ruins fall within the borders of the Republic of Macedonia, 2 km (1.2 mi) south of the modern town of Bitola. It is in charge of the local institution “Museum and Gallery of Bitola.” It was an important strategical town during the Hellenistic period as it was at the edge of Macedon’s border with Epirus to the west, and to the non-Greek world to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The Romans divided Macedonia into 4 regions and Heraclea was in the 4th region. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road. Objects discovered from the time of Roman rule in Heraclea are: Votive monuments, a portico, thermae (baths), a theatre and town walls. In the early Christian period, Heraclea was an important Episcopal seat. Some of its bishops are mentioned in synods in Serdica and other nearby towns. From this period are the ensembles of the Small and Great (Large, Big) basilica. The Grave (Funeral) basilica with a necropolis is located east of the theatre.
    Links: Top Ten Greek Attractions, Top Ten Greek Artifacts, Top Ten Roman Artifacts, Sculptures, Top Ten Necropolises, Top Ten Warriors, Top 100 Busts,,
  4. Mavrovo

           Mavrovo is a region in the northwest of the Republic of Macedonia. It is home to Mavrovo National Park and a winter sports center. Some of the villages and smaller hamlets include: Mavrovo, Nikiforovo, Leunovo and Mavrovi Anovi. This micro region is named Mavrovo because most of the people live in the village of Mavrovo and the more famous families were also from Mavrovo. The region’s location at Bistra Mountain and the Lake Mavrovo have helped it grow into a year-round tourist center. Mavrovo is the most popular ski center in Macedonia. The ski center named Zare Lazareski has two double lift chairs, one single lift chair with over 1,100 person capacity per hour, several ski lifts with synchronized connection and over 5,000 person capacity per hour. The ski center was renovated recently, so the capacity of the ski lifts and the ski chairs is increased. The ski trails start at 1,960 m and end at 1,250 m above sea level. There are plans to build a ski jumping facility in Macedonia, possibly Mavrovo. The Mavrovo Lake lies at an altitude of 1,220 m. It is 12 km long and 3 km wide and covers an area of 13.3 square km.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten Ski Resorts,,
  5. Tetovo

           Tetovo is a city in the northwestern part of Macedonia, built on the foothills of Šar Mountain and divided by the Pena River. The city covers an area of 1,080 square km (417 sq mi) at 468 m (1,535 ft) above sea level, with a population of 86,580. Tetovo is home to the State University of Tetovo and South East European University. The city of Tetovo is the seat of Tetovo Municipality. The home of several ethnic Albanian political parties and a population in which Albanians form a majority, Tetovo has become the unofficial capital of a predominantly Albanian region which extends in an arc from Skopje to Ohrid. It is also home to the National Democratic Party, an Albanian nationalist political entity.
    Links: Ski Resorts,,
  6. Prilep

           Prilep is the 4th largest city in the Republic of Macedonia. It has a population of 66,246 citizens. Prilep is known as “the city under Marko’s Towers” because of its proximity to the towers of Prince Marko.
    Links: Sculptures, Top Ten Clock Towers,,
  7. Galičica

           Galičica mountain is situated across the border between the Republic of Macedonia and Albania. There is a National park on the Macedonian side of the mountain, situated between the two biggest lakes in the republic: Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa. It stretches over an area of 227 square kilometers (88 mi²). The floral life in the National Park Galičica represents over 1,000 species, of which a large number of relicts and endems have the final frontier of its range exactly on the mountain Galičica. There is characteristically presence of up to now 11 discovered local endems to be found exclusively on the slopes of Galičica and nowhere else, this illustrates the specifically floristic composition of this mountain. At the moment, it is intensively worked on the flora of the National Park and there are indications that the number of endems will be even bigger. Beautiful views across the lakes and neighboring mountains can be seen from the Galičica peaks.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten European National Parks,,
  8. Smolare Waterfall

           Smolare Waterfall is the tallest waterfall in the Republic of Macedonia, falling from a height of 39.5 meters (129.5 feet). It is located above the village of Smolare in the Municipality of Novo Selo in the southeastern region of the country. The waterfall is part of the Lomnica River and is located deep in the Belasica Mountain at an elevation of 630 meters. Crashing down the smooth, black rock face, and surrounded by 100-year-old beech trees, this waterfall is visited by tourists throughout the year, largely by train. To reach the majestic beauty of the Smolare Waterfall, visitors must wind their way up a nature path which includes 300 stone steps made from natural materials. Once at the site, deep within the forest, tourists can gaze at the waterfall from a wooden bridge constructed in front of the crashing water, enjoying the refreshing spray at the waterfall collides with the rock face and meets the river below. Visitors can also enjoy the picnic and camping areas constructed at the base of the path, as well as a marketplace opened in 2007 for residents to sell locally produced products such as fresh fruits and vegetables, honey and crafts.
    Links: Top Ten Waterfalls,,
  9. Baba Mountain

           Baba Mountain overlooks the city of Bitola in the Republic of Macedonia. Baba Mountain is the 3rd highest mountain in the Macedonia after Korab and Šar Mountain. The Baba massif splits up the rivers in the region, so that they either flow towards the Adriatic or the Aegean sea. Pelister National Park is filled with exquisite flora and fauna. Among flora elements, the presence is especially significant of the five-needle pine molica, Pinus peuce, a unique species of tertiary age being present on only a few mountains in the Balkan Peninsula. The beauty of the landscape is enhanced by the diversified wildlife: bears, roe deer, wolves, chamois, deer, wild boars, rabbits, several species of eagles, partridges, redbilled jackdaws and the endemic Macedonian Pelagonia trout. Pelister is the oldest and 2nd largest national park in Republic of Macedonia after Mavrovo. It is one of the leading tourist areas in the country, since it is a well-known ski resort, along with Ohrid, Prespa, Dojran, Popova Šapka and Kruševo. From Pelister one can see the Pelagonia valley, Lake Prespa, mountains Nidže, Galičica, Jakupica, and the city of Bitola. Interestingly, Pelister is one of the most southern mountains in the Balkans that has an alpine character. Pelister is also known for its two mountain lakes, which are called Pelister’s Eyes. The climate in Pelister National Park is diverse.
    Links: Mountains,,_Macedonia,
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