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.
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.
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?
As we were leaving the Mavrovo National Park, on the way back to Skopje, we made one last pit stop at Sv Jovan Bigorski, or the Monastery of Saint John the Baptist. Originally constructed in the 11th century, this church set high in the hills is one of the most popular in Macedonia.
Before leading the nation of Turkey into the modern day, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk attended military high school in Macedonia. Today, his former educational institute has been converted into the Bitola Museum, a special wing of which celebrates the great man and his legacy.
Found minutes outside the city, Matka Canyon is a favorite summer getaway for the heat-exhausted residents of Skopje. Though you can take a bus, there’s also a moderately easy hike of ten kilometers leading to the canyon from the top of Mount Vodno. One warm Friday morning, we laced up our boots and set off.
Macedonia’s wine industry is on the rise. The warm Mediterranean climate of the valleys which run through the center of the country has provided perfect grape-growing conditions since the days of the Romans, but the region is only now being discovered by the world at large. In the final weeks of our stay, we set off to explore Macedonia’s vineyards. First stop: Štip and the Imako Vino Winery.