April 11, 2016
For 91 Days, we explored Macedonia: one of the most undiscovered corners in Europe. We didn’t know what to expect before arriving, but this small, land-locked country in the southern Balkans never stopped surprising us. Whether you’re planning your own journey to Macedonia, or are just interested in seeing what makes it such a special place, our articles and photographs might help you out. Start at the beginning of our adventures, visit our comprehensive index to find something specific, or choose one of the articles selected at random, below:
We spent three months exploring one of the most undiscovered corners in Europe: Macedonia. We didn’t know what to expect before arriving, but this small, land-locked country in the southern Balkans never stopped surprising us. Whether hiking through pristine nature, fattening ourselves up on its incredible cuisine, learning about its history, or just meeting some of its famously hospitable people, we enjoyed every minute we spent in Macedonia.
While Bitola was under Ottoman control, there was a law that new Christian churches could not be built higher than mosques, nor designed with any unnecessary flourishes. So the St. Demetrius was built low to the ground, with an utterly unremarkable facade. No passerby could possibly hold this squat, plain building in higher regard than Bitola’s fabulous mosques. But the law didn’t say anything about the interior of new churches…
The center of town might be south of the Vardar, but Skopje’s most picturesque neighborhood is on the northern side the bridge. The Old Bazaar, also called the Čaršija, extends roughly from the Kale Fortress to the Bit Pazar. With its mosques, antique shops, baklava bakers, hamams and tea gardens, the Čaršija might as well be a neighborhood in Istanbul. We loved it here, and visited whenever possible.
Years from now, when we’re reminiscing on our time in Macedonia, it’s possible that it won’t be the ancient ruins, the nature, nor the villages which we remember most fondly. It will be the food. We enjoyed almost every meal we had in Macedonia. These were our favorite dishes.
For such a small city, Ohrid has a lot to offer. We’ve already written about the lakeside promenade, the churches, the hiking, the traditional crafts, and the fortress, but we’ve barely scratched the surface. Here are some more of our favorite sights from Ohrid.
After hiking to the Duf Waterfall, we drove along the southern border of the Mavrovo National Park to the tiny village of Gari, pausing along the way at the ancient Deer Leap Bridge. This is deep into Macedonia’s wildest and least-populated region, where nature still rules supreme.
In April of 1941, Macedonia was occupied by Nazi-affiliated Bulgaria, who wasted no time in shipping the country’s Jewish population to the death camp of Treblinka. Almost overnight, the small and tightly-knit Jewish community who had called Macedonia home for hundreds of years, was extinguished. A museum in the heart of Skopje pays solemn tribute to this most horrific episode in the country’s history.