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Today, Macedonia, which can be easily reached from any corner of the Earth, remains the least explored European country by tourists. The sights of Macedonia are fraught with the grandeur of historical monuments, the flavor of tiny villages, the beauty of the nature of mountains and forests – all this still remains an unsolved mystery behind seven castles. By visiting the republic, you will not only feel like a pioneer of all the mysteries and beauties of this country, but also become a witness to a unique phenomenon of mixing representatives of various cultures and peoples: Turks, Greeks, Albanians, Orthodox and Catholics. If you have not yet decided what to see in Macedonia, then first identify the areas of culture and life of the country that are of interest to you, the rating below will help you.
What to see in Macedonia first of all?
< p>In order to compile the most complete and comprehensive list of attractions that you should pay attention to when going on a tourist trip, talking about what to visit in Macedonia, the recommendations of experienced guides were studied and a rating of the top 23 attractions in the country was prepared:
1. Lake Ohrid
Lake Ohrid surrounded by green mountains
The deepest and oldest lake in the Balkans, Ohrid, was formed as a result of a tectonic fault in the earth's crust as much as 5 million years ago, despite the fact that the average age of all fresh water bodies on the planet does not exceed 100 years. The natural attraction is also unique in that it is located overnight on the territory of Macedonia and Albania. The most luxurious hotels in Macedonia are located on the shore of the lake, where you can relax while enjoying the magnificent view from the window.
Church of St. Panteleimon
Tourists have long chosen the eastern coast of Lake Ohrid for the pearl of ancient culture – an archaeological site called Plaosnik. The place is famous for the church of St. Panteleimon, which was restored exactly in the likeness of the prototype of ancient drawings, as well as the ancient building of the first university of the ancient Slavs. If you are planning to visit Lake Ohrid, then do not be too lazy to take a look at the east coast: here you will find a lot of interesting places that will tell about the history of the state.
3. Stone bridge in Skopje< /h3>
Stone bridge across the river Vardar
Trains to any country cannot do without visiting its capital. The city of Skopje is located on the two banks of the Vardar, 9 bridges were built across the river in the Middle Ages. The central place is given to the Stone Bridge. This structure is 16 meters high and consists of monolithic stone blocks, each weighing 15 tons.
4. Skopje Fortress
The ancient fortress of Skopje called Kal
A trip to the capital of the republic cannot be complete without visiting the fortress of Skopje or Kale – its second name. The first settlements of the southern Slavs were discovered exactly at the site of the construction of the fortress in the 4th century BC, then in the 6th century the fortress was destroyed during the war with Turkey and then restored again during the Byzantine Empire. The best hotels in Skopje are also located near the fortress, so you have the opportunity to comfortably stay near the sights to devote a few days of sightseeing.
Official website:http://www.skopje. gov.mk
5. Stone Town of Kuklica
Stone Town of Kuklica or Valley of the Dolls
The sights of Macedonia for travelers cannot be imagined without the stone town of Kuklica. This is a natural curiosity – boulders in the north of the state, which have been eroded for centuries. As a result, the stones became like bizarre dolls, for which the valley got its name.
6. Millennium Cross in Skopje
Millennium Cross in Skopje
If you are interested in what to see in Macedonia from architectural monuments, then we strongly recommend paying attention to the Millennium Cross, which is located in the capital – Skopje. This building is really great! The height of the cross is as much as 66 meters, it is the largest architectural monument of the Orthodox cross in the world. The Millennium Cross was built in Skopje in 2002 in honor of the celebration of the millennium since the adoption of the Christian religion by the people of the Republic.
7. Museum on the water “Bay on the bones”
Museum on the water “Bay on the bones”
Looking for interesting places? Thinking what to visit in Macedonia? It is recommended to look at the “Bay on the bones.” This open-air museum is also located on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid, so you can include it in your Ohrid comprehensive tour. In 2007, during another archaeological study, the remains of an ancient Slavic settlement were discovered at the bottom of Lake Ohrid, which can be seen in the photo of the dive results. It was decided to restore the village, creating a unique museum on the water. And the complex got its name because of the many bones of livestock that were found on the excavation site.
8. Ohrid Antique Amphitheater
View of the ancient amphitheater of Ohrid
Walking through the center of Ohrid, be sure to look into the ancient amphitheater. This monument of architecture is famous for the fact that, unlike other architectural structures, it is a monument of Greek (Hellenic), and not Roman culture. The amphitheater was built back in 200 BC, but nevertheless, it has been perfectly preserved without restoration, and today it hosts magical and romantic musical evenings for connoisseurs of ancient music and poetry.
9. Galicica National Park
Landscape of Galicica National Park
As you have noticed, the sights of Macedonia are famous not only for historical monuments, but also for picturesque corners of nature. The park is a stunningly picturesque valley and mountain of Galicia, located between the Ohrid and Prespa lakes. The top of the mountain – Magaro, rises as much as 2 km above sea level, so that the whole of Ohrid is visible from it at a glance. A trip to the national park is perfect for lovers of outdoor activities: here you can ride bicycles, go hiking in the mountains or enjoy rowing in the clear waters of Lake Ohrid.
10. Heraclea Linkestis
Ruins of Heraclea Lyncestis
Guides in Macedonia advise all connoisseurs of ancient culture to visit the ruins of the ancient city of Heraclea. The city was founded in the distant IV century BC. Philip of Macedon – ruler of the Roman Empire, father of Alexander the Great in honor of the victory over the Turks. The city was named after its patron, the ancient Greek hero Hercules. The most valuable of the surviving ruins are ancient basilicas – floors made of small mosaic tiles, which have not lost their colors to this day.
11. Monastery of St. Naum
Monastery courtyard Saint Naum
Interested in what to see in Macedonia in 1 day to feel the atmosphere of the Orthodox religion? In this case, do not disregard the monastery of St. Naum. The shrine is located on the shores of the famous Ohrid Lake, at a distance of 30 km from the center of Ohrid. The monastery was founded by one of the disciples of Cyril and Methodius – Naum Ohridsky approximately in the 9th century AD. Subsequently, the relics of St. Naum were buried in the monastery.
12. Fortress of Tsar Samuil
Gate of the fortress of King Samuil
Reviews of enthusiastic travelers unanimously advise tourists planning excursions in Macedonia to visit the fortress of King Samuel. This ancient fortification is the pearl of the city of Ohrid. The length of the fortress is as much as 3 km of a stone wall 16 meters high and about 2 meters thick. The fortress was founded by the Bulgarian Tsar Samuil in the 4th century for defensive purposes during the war with the Turks and managed to save the city from the invaders, surviving to this day almost in its original form.
13. Lake Prespa
Panorama of Lake Prespa
Interesting places for walking never cease to amaze, and next in line is Lake Prespa, the second largest lake in the state. The natural object is unique in that it simultaneously belongs to three Balkan countries at once. It is separated from Lake Ohrid by a mountain range, on which the Galicica National Park, mentioned above, is located. By its origin, Prespa is also a tectonic lake with a centuries-old history.
Kokino ancient observatory
The sights of Macedonia cannot be imagined without paying due attention to the monuments of science of the Hellenic culture. Kokino is a famous ancient observatory dating back about three and a half thousand years ago. The construction of the observatory is made of metal and is rooted in the distant Iron Age. The remains of stone blocks with notches made on them have survived to this day, with the help of which ancient astrologers observed the movement of the Sun, Moon and stars.
15. Mother Teresa Memorial House
Mother Teresa House Museum
A trip to the capital of the Republic of Skopje should certainly be crowned with a visit to the Memorial House of Mother Teresa. This open-air museum shows us the life of Saint Agnes from birth to her death. The landmark exists as a non-profit organization and is maintained at the expense of the state. Previously, on the site of the museum there was a temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
16. Monument “Warrior on horseback”
Warrior on horseback monument
Connoisseurs of military sculpture who have visited the old part of the city of Skopje will certainly turn their attention to the bronze statue of Alexander the Great, which is located right in the middle of the central square near the Stone Bridge. This majestic statue is designed to demonstrate all the power and authority of the ruler of the Roman Empire.
17. Matka Canyon
A picturesque place of the Matka canyon
The famous canyon near the city of Skopje is rightfully included in the ranking of the best attractions in Macedonia. This real natural miracle was formed millions of years ago under the influence of the waters of the Treska River, which paved the way between the Vodno mountain range. Tourists visiting the canyon can enjoy boating and canoeing through its expanses, admiring the marble outcrops of ancient rocks, as well as visiting many Orthodox churches and monasteries.
Official website: http: //www.canyonmatka
18. Mustafa Pasha Mosque
Mustafa Pasha Mosque in Skopje Svilen Enev
If you have not yet decided where to go to Skopje in Macedonia, we recommend that you plunge into the world of Islamic culture and visit the Mustafa Pasha Mosque, located right in the center of the capital. The shrine was built about five centuries ago by the Islamic commander Mustafa, who owned several villages near Skopje. Pasha was known not only as a talented warrior, but also as a generous philanthropist and city leader, building schools and hospitals for the local population.
Official website: http://www.skopje.gov. mk
Macedonia attractions: what else to visit in Macedonia?
Now you have an idea about the most recommended attractions for tourists and guests. But in addition to the most famous monuments, I would like to consider a few more interesting places in order to broaden your horizons and diversify your leisure time:
19. Church of St. John Kaneo
Medieval church of St. John Kaneo
Among all the religious sites, it is necessary to highlight the Church of St. John, which is located in the heart of Skopje. The shrine dates back to the 15th century AD. But the peculiarity of the temple is that it was erected on a sheer cliff right above Ohrid Lake in the form of an Orthodox cross. In addition, the building is a combination of two stylistic architectural trends: Armenian and Byzantine.
20. Osogovsky Monastery
Top view of the Osogovsky monastery
The temple was founded in the XIV century AD. Orthodox monk Theodore during the reign of Manuel Komnenos. The building of the temple is located in the valley of the Osogovsky mountains, which is in the eastern part of Skopje. The sights of Macedonia cannot be imagined in all their glory without a visit to this temple, since its architecture is the clearest example of Byzantine traditions and the building itself has perfectly preserved its beauty to this day.
21. The ancient Vizbegovo aqueduct
The ancient Vizbegov aqueduct is an impressive architectural structure
Well, how to do without aqueducts when it comes to Byzantine culture? Numerous recommendations of tourists unanimously advise to visit a village in the north of Skopje called Vizbegovo and admire the oldest water supply structure – the aqueduct. Only 50 of its arches, 16 meters high, have survived to this day. Once this building supplied fresh water to the entire city of Skopje. Today, active work is underway to restore the aqueduct, the city authorities plan to restore the structure to its original appearance.
22. Pelister National Park
The expanse of Pelister National Park
It is impossible to say with certainty that you have seen all the best sights without visiting the Bitola National Park – Pelister. This monument of nature covers an area of about 12.5 thousand hectares. Here you will find not only the beauty of virgin forests, but also admire the famous Pelister lakes, which are popularly called “eyes” for their crystal clearness. And you can also test yourself in the role of a conqueror of peaks, climbing the Peak Pelister, whose height is just over 2.5 km. A wonderful view of Skopje opens from here, and the most persistent and hardy tourists, having come to the mountain before dawn, will be able to capture in memory the magnificent sunrise over the Pelister Mountains.
Official site: http: //park-pelister.com/en/
23. Church of Hagia Sophia in Ohrid
Hagia Sophia against the backdrop of the Marjan Petkovski mountains
And finally, we complete our virtual journey and description of the main attractions of the state by looking into the Church of Hagia Sophia. This ancient monument of architecture belongs to the period of medieval culture, but is unique in that during the invasion of the Turks it was completely transformed into an Islamic mosque. At the top of the highest dome of the church now flaunts a minaret. But if you go inside the temple, you can admire the true beauties of Byzantine painting, revealing the faces of the patron saints of the church.
By visiting the Republic and its capital Skopje, you get an excellent opportunity not only to spend time informatively, visiting monuments of history, culture, science and architecture, but also to relax your soul and get enough of the energy of nature in the numerous lake parks and virgin Balkan forests.
Read also about the best sights of Moldova and be inspired for your further journey through Europe!