Monthly Archives:

September 2014

Bansko’s Ancient and Modern Baths

A short taxi ride brought us from Strumica to Bansko, a village which has long been known throughout Macedonia for its thermal mountain springs. After arriving, we visited the ruins of an ancient Roman bathhouse, before diving into a more modern pool. For time immemorial, the naturally heated waters which flow from the springs of […]

Hiking to the Monasteries of Matka

Over the course of one long day at Matka Canyon, we tackled two hikes. The first, a climb to the church of Sveti Nikola, we can heartily recommend to anyone. But the hike to Sveti Nedela, on the opposite side of the canyon, is an ordeal we’d suggest only to those we most hate. Really, […]

The Skopje City Zoo

Found in Gradski Park, close to the city center, the Skopje City Zoo has long had a reputation as one of the most inhumane in Europe. But the last few years have seen a sizable investment from the city, with the goal of bringing the zoo up to modern standards. Have things improved? For most […]

Hiking from Vodoča’s Monastery to the Lake

The village of Vodoča is located a few kilometers outside of Strumica. We visited a monastery there, before walking up to Lake Vodoča for a midday swim. On the long hike back to Strumica, we stopped for lunch at an entertaining hilltop restaurant, and saw the remains of a medieval fortress. Vodoča is the kind […]

Strumica’s Church of the Fifteen Holy Martyrs

Strumica is a nice city, but not one with a huge range of touristic sights. We spent our first day scouring the streets for things to do, but everything was closed. Everything except for one lonely church hidden in Strumica’s Turkish quarter: the Sveti Petnaeset Tiveriopolski Sveštenomačnici, or Church of the Fifteen Holy Martyrs. In […]

Two Sides of Strumica

A population of 50,000 qualifies Strumica as the largest city in southeastern Macedonia. Over the course of a couple days, we got to know its two distinct sides: although it’s comatose during the day, Strumica comes alive at night. Strumica is situated along the foot of the Belisica Mountains, providing the town with a gently […]

The Skopje City Museum

The Skopje City Museum relates the history of Macedonia’s capital, from ancient times up to the modern day. There are some interesting archaelogical exhibits, but the museum’s single most compelling piece is the building in which it’s housed: Skopje’s former train station, which was closed after it was heavily damaged during the 1963 earthquake. There […]

A Day in Gostivar

On the way to Skopje’s bus station, our taxi driver started up a conversation. “You’re off to Ohrid, I bet. Beautiful weather for the lake!” We agreed about the weather, but said that we would be spending this fine summer day in Gostivar. “Gostivar? Why would you want to go there?” We just plan on […]

The Healing Waters of the Katlanovska Spa

Although hot springs are a common natural occurrence in Macedonia, there aren’t many spas set up to capitalize on the mineral-rich waters. The most well-known is the Katlanovska Spa, twenty kilometers outside Skopje. Perhaps we had been placing too much faith in the slick promotional materials we’d picked up from the tourism office, but our […]

The Painted Mosque and Arabati Baba Tekke in Tetovo

We weren’t entirely impressed with Tetovo during our short visit, finding it too noisy, crowded and hectic. But the city does have a couple things to recommend it. The Šarena Džamija, more commonly known as the Painted Mosque, and the Arabati Baba Tekke are two historic sites worth seeking out. Tea gardens and cafes line […]

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