On the slopes of Mount Vodno in the village of Gorni Nezeri, is one of the most important monasteries in Macedonia. Pantelejmon was built in the 12th century, and still preserves some of the country’s oldest Byzantine frescoes.
Just outside downtown Skopje is the municipality of Šuto Orizari, commonly known as Šutka and home to 18,000 of Macedonia’s Roma population. We took a taxi to Šutka’s market, to see what life is like in Europe’s largest Roma settlement.
Filled with savory ingredients like cheese and spinach, twisted into a spiral shape, and baked to flaky perfection, pita is one of Macedonia’s favorite traditional dishes. One Sunday morning, we visited the popular restaurant Oreov Lad in order to learn how it’s made.
Situated in Skopje’s Old Bazaar near the Kale Fortress, the Museum of Macedonia is one of the country’s oldest and largest museums. Originally established in 1924, it covers three separate disciplines: archaeology, ethnology and history.
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, just those few people whom we wouldn’t mind seeing dead.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Considering the city’s current craze for stately neo-classical structures, it’s fortunate that so much of the historic Turkish quarter north of the Vardar survived the 1963 earthquake, including two original hamams. Today, the Daut Pasha and Čifte Hamams serve as venues for the National Gallery, and we visited both on a sweltering afternoon in July.