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.
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.
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.
South of Skopje, on the outskirts of an unassuming village called Markova Sučica, is the Markov Monastir. Built in 1346 by King Marko of Serbia, this medieval monastery has remained remarkably unaffected by the passage of time.