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Macedonia: Untold stories, unseen beauties

Text Courtesy: Tourism Macedonia
Images: Google

With picturesque villages, a wine region, modest mountains, lovely lakeside resorts, Macedonia has gorgeous scenery, a favorable exchange rate and welcoming people. It is a land of mountains and the views from the countryside are spectacular. It is incredibly beautiful.

Land connected and located in the heart of the Balkans, Macedonia is one of the smallest European countries, at the same time inhabited by one of its oldest nations. Numerous ancient monuments, from churches and monasteries, ancient towns and fortresses, megalithic remains and rocks, to Romans baths and Ottoman bazaars, are proof of its rich cultural and historical heritage.

Macedonia is became popular destination for leisure travelers, therefore, have your cameras snapping like never before.

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Within a short distance, it is easy to discover stories untold and beauties unseen. Natural mountain massifs, volcanic relief creations, canyons, caves and plenty of organic food are encompassed in a surface of 25,713 square kilometers. All the existing colors of the nature, starting from the endless blue lakes up to green dense forests and valleys, are intertwining and creating divine experience.

Macedonia is mostly rural. Villages have kept its authentic architecture and because they are mostly surrounded with forests and fields, it is easy to smell the untouched nature and relax in the resembling carpet of colorful flowers and herbs. This enjoyment can be interrupted by the smell of freshly produced cheese or yogurt and the aroma of home-made wine infused with herbs served in an authentic village household. The odor of curative plants and flowers can warm the soul by offering free trip through history and inner peace.

Regardless of the season, Macedonian rural villages are giving the opportunity to feel the idyllic life and tradition, but at the same time to achieve inner peace and calmness far away from today’s world.  By experiencing the slow rhythm of a traditional way of life, enjoyment can be increased with admiration of a magnificent landscapes, clear air and refreshment with pure mountain water.

Unabridged nature in Macedonia offers unique opportunity for outdoor activities and adventures.

Skopje – Historical Heritage and Urban Living

Skopje is the capital town of the Republic of Macedonia connected with two direct flights with Sweden – from Stockholm and from Gothenburg.

millenium-cross-macedoniaThe city is divided in two parts with the biggest river in the country – river Vardar. The old part of the town is witnessing for a centuries old history and the traditional way of life, while the new, modern one, is following the global development and trends.

It is difficult to give a universal answer to the question – where should one start exploring Skopje. Most people start with the center of the city, since there are many “must see” things.

With a walk around stone paved streets of the old part of the town, the architecture which is left from the Ottoman Empire is witnessing for a centuries old town. Medieval structure design of the Fortress Kale has been preserved and is one of the objects with the highest importance of the city. The fortress of Justinian I represents one of the most attractive and complex localities of the archaeological researches. Kale’s findings date back from Prehistory through Ancient and Medieval period to the Turkish period and the stormy 20th century.

Old churches and mosques located in the old part of the town are typical example of diverse life in Macedonia and involvement of past into the peoples’ present lives. Traveling from the past into the future can be done only by crossing one bridge – Stone Bridge. During its 6 centuries old existence, the symbol of Skopje many times has been repaired, but today is incorporated in the city’s flag as a main element that connects the history with the presence. While leaving behind the past and the old town, the new one is offering totally different experience, for the tourists’ eyes and stomach. The smell of the delicious food that comes from every possible corner of the town, will meet the gastro expectations of a world traveler, but at the same time will offer absolute enjoyment with its architecture and city’s creative solutions.

One of the city’s biggest claim to fame is being the birthplace of the Saint Mother Theresa, and the site of her birthplace has become one of Skopje’s most popular attractions. There is a plaque which marks the spot where Mother Theresa was born in 1910.  Near the statue itself lies a small museum dedicated to the life and work of this marvellous woman. At the entrance is written warm welcome message that recalls this exceptional woman: Let us always welcome each other with a smile, because smile is the beginning of love.

Skopje is an interesting place and it will probably take more than one day to see how this city works and what it has to offer !

The city museum – Ohrid

In two hours driving distance from the capital town is located Macedonia’s most celebrated spot, the nation’s pride and joy – the town of Ohrid. The town is under double protection of UNESCO, as a natural and as a cultural heritage. Ohrid is one of the oldest reimbursements in Macedonia and one of the oldest human settlements in Europe with its origin that dates back to the antique period as a part of Via Egnatia road. The town is home to 365 churches from 17th and 19th century what makes it “Jerusalem on the Balkans”.

Church of Saint Clement, OhridHemmed with National Park and one of the biggest natural lakes in Europe, nowadays, the city is one of the most attractive places for tourists in the Republic of Macedonia. Ohrid Lake is superlative natural phenomenon, home to numerous endemic and relict freshwater species of flora and fauna dating from tertiary period. As a deep and ancient lake from tectonic origin, the lake Ohrid has existed continuously for approximately 2-3 millions of years. At first sight looks confusing with its size and calmness, presenting a picture of endless blue sea that plays classical music with its waves. It is easy to fall in love with Ohrid Lake, especially in a company with a glass of traditional white wine and well served Ohrid’s Trout prepared in some of the traditional restaurants on the shore.

Most of the monuments are located in the old part of the town, near Samouil’s fortress, which is located on the highest place in Ohrid and is the most dominating structure even today. To experience the townscape of Ohrid at night time you must visit Plaoshnik, which is located right underneath the fortress, with a view that remains deep within a person’s memory.

Another must visit place in Ohrid is the small church of St Jovan – Kaneo, standing alone on a rock in the lake giving a spectacular view of the lake and the surrounding mountains. From Kaneo, you can be taken on a boat to visit St Naum Monastery, another breathtaking scenery and atmosphere.

There are some art galleries and workshops of the famous Ohrid pearl and the only workshop for handmade paper- a craft which remained unchanged since II century B.C.

Food and Wine of Macedonia

Macedonia is the country of taste and this is the main reason for creating numerous domestic fans and admirers from abroad. The appetite is growing with every other bite and that is the secret of the Macedonian traditional cuisine. Macedonian cuisine is noted for the diversity and quality of its dairy products, wines, and local alcoholic beverages, such as rakija. It has some delicious dishes that makes this land of flavor.

pastrmkaIt is easy to satisfy people’s palates by offering the best, especially in the country of gourmets where eating is whole ritual of daily enjoyment.

The numerous sunny days are a source of rich tastes and aromas in Macedonian kitchen. The region is characterized by a climate that is suitable for growing fruits, vegetables and many different varieties of herbs and spices. Each year the orchards and the gardens are heavy with irresistibly organic fruits and wine barrels.

Each season is offering specific food, but the well-known Mediterranean food has its own varieties which are dependent from the region of the country. It is easy for one simply to discover the plethora of unmistakable choices.

For a meal on the go, Macedonian’s enjoy burek or zelnik. For the main dish Macedonians highly recommend trying Tavče gravče (beans cooked in a skillet) or Musaka (potato-based dish, including ground meat), then let me introduce you to pastrmajlija, oval-shaped fried dough pie, that Macedonia has a festival for this dish. The story of the Macedonian cuisine is incomplete without the mention of ajvar, roasted red pepper sause. At the end of the meal, enjoy some baklava with walnuts and raisins and Turkish coffee.

The most authentic local alcoholic drinks are rakija and mastika, which are distilled liquors, generally made from grapes or plums. Wine is also making a significant impact on the market as numerous wines are produced every year.

The location of the country is for growing different types of grapevines. The specific note of the Macedonian wine culture comes from the autochthonous cultivars and the ancient tradition of domestic production. You’ll be able to taste the highest quality wine that comes from the most famous Macedonian wineries. This land of sun and flavor will let you experience an exclusive pleasure like you will never find on another place. Macedonia produces all styles of wine – dry and sweet, still and sparkling, red, white and rose.

We invite you to taste what Macedonia has to offer!

Dining in Macedonia is a pretty relaxed, the people are fairly open, with a good sense of humor and they are just so welcoming. If you do get an invitation into a local’s home, be sure to bring a bottle of wine.

Create a Memories That Will Make You Feel Alive, Saturated and Calm – Visit Macedonia, the Timeless Country!

 

One comment

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