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MACEDONIA


Location - South east Europe; Capital - Skopje; Population - 2.1 million; Currency - Macedonian Denar

I took a flight to Kosovo's Pristina airport followed by a taxi (with friendly Potrcko taxis) for the 1.5hr drive to Skopje, capital of Macedonia - September/October 2017.

Friction exists between Macedonia and neighbouring Greece. A large number of Greeks identify themselves as Macedonians but do not relate to the ethnic Slavs of Macedonia. Many international institutions still refer to the Republic of Macedonia as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in order to distinguish it from the Greek region of Macedonia.

 

macedonianote200 Macedonian Denars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia107Lake Matka was my first port of call in Macedonia, a few kms outside Skopje and an easy half-day trip

 

macedonia106The lake is a product of the damming of the Treska River, with pathways and trails hugging its edge - Lake Matka

 

macedonia115A hotel-restaurant welcomes visitors near the entrance, and boat trips are available - Lake Matka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia116Its proximity to Skopje means it gets busy at weekends so come early for peace and quiet - Lake Matka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia91The capital forms the backdrop for the cable cars up Mt Vodno - Skopje

 

macedonia87At the top is a whopping cross, the 66m high Millenium Cross which, unsurprisingly, you can see from most of Skopje

 

macedonia92aThere's great views of Skopje from Vodno - middle left is the fortress, while in front of it and along the middle of the picture are buildings lining the Vardar River

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia100Further down the slopes of Vodno is the 12th century St Pantelejmon Church where you can see its ancient frescoes - Skopje

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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macedonia6The streets of Skopje

 

macedonia8The Macedonia Port is a triumphal arch flanked by two huge statues of notables (no idea who they are!) - Skopje

 

macedonia12Between the arch and Macedonia Square is a plaque indicating the site where Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu - better known as Mother Theresa - was born - Skopje

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia14And close by is the Memorial House of Mother Theresa. Mother Theresa was an Albanian Catholic nun, famous for dedicating her life to the underprivileged, principally through her orphanage in Calcutta - Skopje

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia20There's an unbelievable amount of sculptures in Skopje, a product of the hugely expensive and controversial project called Skopje 2014. I fully expect one of myself in the next six months..

 

macedonia33The tourist centre is based around Macedonia Square, with a monument to Alexander the Great known as Warrior on a Horse at its centre. The Millenium Cross is just about visible at the top of Mt Vodno - Skopje

 

macedonia29Plenty of water features and fountains accompany the multitude of sculptures - Skopje

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia36A cool place for a drink and bite to eat on the square is this bar, which brews its own fine quality beers on site - Skopje

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia61Statues of various Macedonian artists, writers and inventors among others line a pedestrian bridge. Can't see one of me yet. Out of view are several lively bars overlooking the river - Skopje

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia60There's a couple of ships on the river, this one being a restaurant - Skopje

 

macedonia38From Macedonia Square take the Ottoman-era Stone Bridge across the Vardar River to the old quarter. The (not very old) building is the Archaeological Museum - Skopje

 

macedonia47Before you reach the old town there's a Holocaust Museum, closed for renovation when I was there. Opposite the centre is the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle, covering the history of the country's independence - Skopje

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia52Gimme another statue! And a fountain of course - Skopje

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia78The Carsija is the old quarter, a series of cobbled streets populated by shops, cafes, restaurants, churches and mosques - Skopje

 

macedonia77Some Carsija streets are quiet whereas those near its entrance are busy with alfresco dining - Skopje

 

macedonia80 In the grounds of the Sveti Spas Church is the tomb of national hero Goce Delcev, leader of a revolutionary movement who died in 1903 - Skopje

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia76Mustafa Pasha Mosque dates back to the Ottoman era - Skopje

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia83Back on the new side of town is the very modern St Clement of Ohrid Orthodox Church - Skopje

 

macedonia2A mural of 87 Komiti near the train station. 87 Komiti are a group of hardline supporters of Vardar football club - Skopje

 

macedonia131At the weekend the lakeside restaurants are packed all day at Lake Ohrid's largest settlement - Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia220It's a beautiful lake, the best reason to visit Macedonia - Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia148About two-thirds of Lake Ohrid is in Macedonia with the rest falling in Albania to the south/south west - Ohrid

 

macedonia150Fishing boats off the coast at Ohrid

 

macedonia155A view of the old town from the harbour - Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia153Walking the pier at sunset - Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia168The second century amphitheatre is now used for outdoor performances - Ohrid

 

macedonia171A bit of a mouthful, the 13th century Sveta Bogorodica Perivlepta Church lies near the old town's Upper Gate. Most of these old churches in Macedonia have equally old frescoes in varying states of repair - Ohrid

 

macedonia173Take in a decent view of Car Samoil's Castle and the old town from the church - Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia178Climbing the walls of the 10th century Car Samoil's Castle, also known as Samuel's Frotress - Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia181The castle rises above the whole town - the brown roofs of the old town lead down to the lakeside promenade and the new part of town further on - Ohrid

 

macedonia185The building on the right is the 5th century Church of Sveti Kliment i Pantelejmon - Ohrid

 

macedonia188Lone boat in shimmering waters.. A common thread if you've seen some of my other pages - Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia196Walking the trail to Sveti Jovan at Kaneo Church - Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia212If you're not at the harbour then the place to be for sunset is the 13th century Sveti Jovan at Kaneo Church - Ohrid

 

macedonia211It's got a superb setting on a small promontory jutting into the lake - Ohrid

 

macedonia210This is the Lake Ohrid money shot, looking down on Sveti Jovan at Kaneo Church and the lake at sunset. Beautiful! Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia218A small garden area surrounds the church - Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia219One of my favourites, a gorgeous sunset over the lake complete with the Sveti Jovan at Kaneo Church - Ohrid

 

macedonia213Tourist boats take visitors on sunset cruises of the bay - Ohrid

 

macedonia230The slightly rickety pedestrian bridge from the old town to Potpesh Beach and onwards to the church - Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia227Lakeside dining at Potpesh Beach - Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia234A worthy - and popular - trip is a boat ride to Sveti Naum on the southern side of the lake. Here the boat is ready to depart the harbour - Ohrid

 

macedonia241 The village of Elsani stands above the lakeside resort of Pestani - Lake Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia246Relaxing on the boat to Sveti Naum - Lake Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia248You'll also pass the Bay of Bones Museum en route to Sveti Naum. Also known as the Museum on Water, it's a reconstruction of a settlement that lived on stilts above the water between 1200 and 700BC

 

macedonia251I think this is the fishing village of Trpejca, shortly before arriving in Sveti Naum. Contact me if you know - Lake Ohrid

 

macedonia277Arriving at Sveti Naum, next to the Albanian border, after a 2.5hr boat ride

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia278Mt Galicica and the sandy beach at Sveti Naum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia259Several locals were doing a spot of fishing at the harbour - Sveti Naum

 

macedonia266Sveti Naum Monastery was originally built in the 10th century, then expanded over the centuries - Sveti Naum

 

macedonia268Panoramic views of the lake and Mt Galicica from the monastery - Sveti Naum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia273Spring water feeds the monastery and surrounds a restaurant nearby - Sveti Naum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

macedonia282Another great sunset over Lake Ohrid

 

macedonia287On the way to the border with Albania I noticed what I thought was an Albanian bunker just in Macedonian territory, but the taxi driver said it's one of Mussolini's built by the Italians - Sveti Naum

 

 

Website and content Copyright © 2008-2017 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.

 

LINKS

www.exploringmacedonia.com - guide to Macedonia

https://getbybus.com - good site for booking bus tickets across the Balkans

http://travel2macedonia.com.mk - guide to Macedonia

www.zcg-prevoz.me - Macedonia rail

 

I am not responsible for the content of external websites.

 

 
 
 
   
 
   
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