For four days in July, the central Macedonian town of Prilep is taken over by Pivofest: an annual celebration of beer which has become the nation’s biggest festival. It’s not exactly the most traditional event on the calendar, but that wasn’t going to deter us from attending. We’re talking about a giant beer party, after all. Tradition can wait.
Ever since it was imported from the New World in the 16th century, tobacco has played a starring role in the economy of Prilep. This humid, low-lying valley town offers perfect cultivating conditions, and the high-quality product grown here has long been exported to firms from around the world. We took a taxi to the outskirts of town, to visit the museum at Prilep’s Tobacco Institute.