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.
Whether you’re in the market for fresh fruit, cheap clothing, or simply a rollicking good time, head over to Skopje’s Bit Pazar, at the northern end of Čaršija. This is one of the largest outdoor markets in the Balkans, with a history dating back to the 14th century, when Skopje was firmly within the Ottoman Empire.
Halfway up Ohrid’s biggest hill, between the Church of Sv Jovan and Tsar Samoil’s Fortress, is the archaeological site of Plaošnik. With the arrival of St. Clement in 893 AD, and the subsequent establishment of his monastery, this location became the center of Slavic learning. Today, the Church of St. Clement has been rebuilt and much of the site has been excavated, revealing long-concealed Byzantine mosaics.
After the first month in a new location, we always take stock of our opinions with a self-interview. And after the second month, we like to learn more about the locals. So, we set out into the streets of Skopje to interview a few random Macedonians. Given the general friendliness of the people here, we didn’t anticipate any difficulties. But as soon as we pulled out the pen and paper, many would clam up. There’s apparently not a lot of trust toward foreign media… but we were able to coax a few folks into talking.
Just outside the city center, north of the Vardar River in a field which borders the barracks of the Macedonian army, is an ancient aqueduct. Its state of preservation is impressive, considering that it’s been neglected for centuries.
Frequently visible in the skies above Lake Ohrid are paragliders who have jumped from the mountains of the Galičica National Park. It’s an activity we’ve always wanted to try… why not in Macedonia? So we gave the guys at Vertigo Paragliding Club a ring. A couple days later, were bouncing up the mountain in a jeep, nerves beginning to tickle our stomachs. This was a good idea, right?
Poor Prespa, always playing second-fiddle to Lake Ohrid. This is Macedonia’s second-biggest lake, behind Ohrid. It’s not as old, nor as fascinating, nor as pretty, nor does it have water so blue. It’s almost completely bypassed by tourists and locals alike and, relative to Ohrid, its shores are devoid of life. But we spent four nights here, and gave the lake our full attention. It’s your time to shine, Prespa. Impress us!