Places to Visit in Macedonia

Friday, February 2, 2018

Situated in Eastern Europeinfo-icon, Macedonia represents the true spirit of the Balkans. Macedonia is a mix of Orthodox and Muslims communities, with Mediterranean and Turkish influences, blessed with mountains, lakes, and rivers. Among the places to visit in Macedoniainfo-icon, there are natural parks, old and full of historic cities, impressive religious establishments. Maybe the most interesting to discover in this part of the world are the traditions and the festivals, local cuisine, and lifestyle. A trip to Macedonia is a glimpse to archaic times, where life flows free, following the seasons and celebrating every day.

Find the spirit of an authentic bazaar, experience fear, and courage from the walls of an old fortress, wander on mountains paths and reconnect with people, nature, and yourself.

Skopjeinfo-icon

Places to visit in Macedonia
Places-To-Visit-In-Macedonia

The list of places to visit in Macedonia begins at Skopje, its capital, and largest city. It is a good place to start your journey because it has an international airport and is the center of roads and railway networks.Skopje was founded in the 3rd century BC and during its long history was governed by Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans.

Their legacy is still present in the city. You can see Roman sites like the Skopje's Aqueduct, Byzantine churches, and Muslim mosques. Similar with all Balkans countriesinfo-icon, the Slavs had a major impact, changing the country's language and way of life. From this mix of influences resulted in a heterogeneous city, home of many ethnic communities. This mix is actually the flavor of Skopje.

Visit the Old Bazaar, the largest in the Balkans, and you'll see the real Macedonian life. Local fruits and vegetables, produced in people's gardens with traditional methods, are a delight during summer. Piles of watermelons, peaches, and tomatoes give color to the bazaar. Public baths, called hammam, are still present from the Ottomans time. And because part of the people here are Muslim, you'll see women wearing burkas along with European clothes. Visit Daut Pasha Hammam, built for the harem of Daut Pasha in the XVth century. Double Hammam, another XVth century hammam was used by both men and women, but today it is used only as an exhibition space.

The city has many buildings that deserved to be admired. Many towers are spread all over the city. Bey's Tower is 17 meters high and it is a residential building dated in the XVIIth century. There is also a Clock Tower built in the XVIth century during the reign of the Ottoman Empire (it is actually the first clock tower built in the Ottoman Empire).

For a panoramic view of the city, climb Vodno Mountain. On top of the mountain, there is the biggest Christian cross in the world, built in 2000 to celebrate 2000 years of Christianity.

Lake Ohrid

Lake Ohrid

One of the oldest and deepest European lakes is on the list of places to visit in Macedonia. Lake Orchid is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to a unique aquatic ecosystem. The lake covers 358 km2 and it is shared by Macedonia and Albaniainfo-icon.

For specialists, Lake Ohrid is a rare space where you can find species from the entire food-chain. There are also exotic species that can be found only here. For non-specialists, Lake Orchid is a beautiful areal, with two Macedonian cities on its shores (Ohrid and Struga). Ohrid is a medieval pearl, with brick houses gracefully built on a hill and a spectacular view over the lake. Some say it is the most beautiful city in Macedonia.

Lake Ohrid is surrounded by mild mountains and has the perfect shade of blue. It is a touristic attraction for mountain lovers and fishermen.

Tetovo

In the North Western corner of Macedonia, there is the city of Tetovo. Founded in the XIVth century, the city is a multi-ethnic community with an Albanian majority. The Ottoman influence is more prominent here; you can admire many Ottoman monuments and architectural details. Šarena Džamija is one of them. Its name means “Decorated Mosque” and is indeed decorated, but not with ceramic tile decorations like the usual mosque, but with floral paintings. The Baltepes Fortress is another Ottoman legacy. Built in the XIXth century by Abdurrahman Pasha, the fortress is full of stories and myths. It was connected through tunnels with the houses of important men of the city. The fortress is situated on Baltepes hill and offers a beautiful view of the city.

Don't be afraid to try Macedonian cuisine. It offers a powerful Ottoman influence over the Slavs flavors and traditional agriculture that provides tasty products. Tetovo is famous for its apples, cheese, barbecue restaurants, and sweet shops.

Even if it is a small country, there are so many pleasant places to visit in Macedonia. It has a unique atmosphere, built on a rich history and a great landscape. The mix of flavors and ethnic groups can only improve the quality of this small Balkan country.

Monica Radulescu a freelance writer for aSabbatical.com
Travelling is a joy. It's a way to become a better and wiser person. Mountain paths and road trips are my favourites.

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