Today, Macedonia, which can be easily reached from anywhere in the world, remains the least explored European country by tourists. The sights of Macedonia conceal the grandeur of historical monuments, the flavor of tiny villages, the natural beauty of mountains and forests - all this still remains an unsolved mystery behind the seven locks. When you visit the republic, you will not only feel like a discoverer of all the mysteries and beauties of the country, but you will also witness the unique phenomenon of the mixing of different cultures and peoples: the Turks, Greeks, Albanians, Orthodox and Catholics. If you have not yet decided what to see in Macedonia, then first indicate for yourself the areas of interest of culture and life of the country, as the following rating will help.
In order to compile the most complete and comprehensive list of sights to pay attention to, going on a tourist trip, talking about what to visit in Macedonia, the recommendations of experienced guides were studied and the top 23 sights of the country were prepared:
The deepest and oldest lake in the Balkans, Lake Ohrid, was formed by a tectonic fault in the earth’s crust as much as 5 million years ago, while the average age of all freshwater bodies on the planet is less than 100 years. The natural landmark is also unique in that it is located on the territory of Macedonia and Albania at the same time. The most fashionable hotels in Macedonia are located on the shores of the lake, where you can relax, enjoying the magnificent view from the window.
Tourists have long been fond of the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid for the gem of ancient culture - the archaeological site called Plaoshnik. The place is famous for the church of St. Panteleimon, which has been restored exactly like the prototype of the ancient drawings, as well as for the ancient building of the first university of the ancient Slavs. If you plan to visit Ohrid Lake, then don’t be lazy to take a tour of the eastern shore: you’ll find a lot of interesting places which will tell you about the history of the state.
A trip to any country cannot go without a visit to its capital. The city of Skopje is located on the two banks of the Vardar, across the river in the Middle Ages was built 9 bridges. The central place is given to the Stone Bridge. The Stone Bridge is 16 meters high and consists of monolithic stone blocks, each weighing 15 tons.
A trip to the capital of the republic cannot do without a visit to Skopje Fortress or Kale - its second name. The first settlements of the southern Slavs were found on the site of the fortress in the IV century BC, then in the VI century the fortress was destroyed during the war with Turkey and then rebuilt again in the Byzantine Empire. The best hotels in Skopje are also close to the fortress, so you have the opportunity to comfortably stay near the site to devote a few days of excursion.
Official website: http://www.skopje.gov.mk
The sights of Macedonia for travelers cannot be imagined without the stone city of Kuklitsa. It is a natural wonder - stone blocks in the north of the state, which have been subjected to erosion for centuries. As a result, the rocks have become like bizarre dolls, which is why the valley got its name.
If you are interested in what to see in Macedonia from the monuments of architecture, we strongly recommend to pay attention to the Millennium Cross, which is located in the capital - Skopje. This structure is truly grandiose! The height of the cross is as much as 66 meters, this is the largest architectural monument of the Orthodox cross in the world. The Cross of the Millennium was erected in Skopje in 2002 in celebration of the millennium since the adoption of the Christian religion by the people of the Republic.
Looking for interesting places? Thinking about what to visit in Macedonia? We recommend checking out the “Bay on Bones.” This open-air museum is also located on the eastern shore of Lake Ohrid, so you can include it in a comprehensive overview of Ohrid. In 2007 the remains of an ancient Slavic settlement were discovered during another archaeological explorations on the bottom of Lake Ohrid, which can be seen in the photo of the results of a dive. It was decided to restore the village, creating a unique museum on the water. And the complex got its name because of the many bones of cattle, which were found on the territory of excavations.
Walking through the center of Ohrid, be sure to check out the ancient amphitheater. This architectural monument is distinguished by the fact that unlike other architectural structures, it is a monument of Greek (Hellenic) culture, not of Roman. The amphitheatre was built in the year 200 B.C., but nevertheless is perfectly preserved without restoration, and today magical and romantic musical evenings for lovers of ancient music and poetry are held there.
As you have already noticed, the sights of Macedonia are famous not only for the monuments of history, but also for the picturesque corners of nature. The park is a stunningly picturesque valley and the mountain Galichica, located between Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa. The peak of the mountain - Magaro, rises 2 km above sea level so you can see the whole of Ohrid as if on the palm of your hand. A trip to the national park is an excellent option for fans of the outdoors: you can ride a bicycle, go hiking in the mountains, or enjoy rowing in the clear waters of Lake Ohrid.
Guides in Macedonia advise all lovers of ancient culture to visit the ruins of the ancient city of Heraclea without fail. The city was founded in the distant 4th century BC. Philip of Macedonia - the ruler of the Roman Empire, the father of Alexander the Great in honor of his victory over the Turks. The city was named after its patron, the ancient Greek hero Hercules. The most valuable of the surviving ruins are the ancient basilicas - floors of fine mosaic tiles, which have not lost their colors to this day.
Wondering what to see in Macedonia in 1 day to get into the atmosphere of the Orthodox religion? In that case, don’t leave out the monastery of St. Naum. The shrine is located on the shore of the famous Lake Ohrid, 30 km from the center of Ohrid. The monastery was founded by one of the disciples of Cyril and Methodius - Naum of Ohrid around the 9th century AD. The relics of St. Naum were later buried in the monastery.
Reviews from enthusiastic travelers unanimously advise tourists planning excursions in Macedonia to visit King Samuel’s Fortress. This ancient fortification is the pearl of the city of Ohrid. The length of the fortress is an entire 3 km long stone wall 16 meters high and approximately 2 meters thick. It was founded by King Samuel of Bulgaria in the 4th century as a defensive measure against the Turks who kept the city from the conquerors and has remained untouched to this day.
Interesting places to walk never cease to amaze, and next up we have Lake Prespa, the second largest lake in the state. The natural object is unique in that it simultaneously belongs to three Balkan countries. It is separated from Lake Ohridski by a mountain range, on which the national park Galichica, which we mentioned above, is located. In its origin, Prespa is also a tectonic lake with centuries of history.
The sights of Macedonia cannot be imagined without paying due attention to the monuments of Hellenic culture science. Kokino is a famous ancient observatory dating back to about three and a half thousand years ago. The construction of the observatory is made of metal and goes back to the distant Iron Age. The remains of stone blocks with notches made on them, by means of which the ancient astrologers observed the motion of the Sun, the Moon and the stars, have reached our days.
A trip to the capital of the Republic of Skopje should certainly be crowned with a visit to the Memorial House of Mother Teresa. This open-air museum shows us the life of Saint Agnes from her birth to her death. The attraction exists as a non-profit organization and is maintained at public expense. The site of the museum was formerly the site of the Church of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Connoisseurs of military sculpture, who visit the old part of Skopje, will certainly pay their attention to the bronze statue of Alexander the Great, which is located right in the middle of the central square near the Stone Bridge. This majestic statue is intended to demonstrate all the power and authority of the ruler of the Roman Empire.
The famous canyon near the city of Skopje is rightly included in the rating of the best sights in Macedonia. This true natural wonder was formed millions of years ago by the waters of the Treska River, which made its way between the mountain range of Vodno. Tourists who visit the canyon can enjoy boating and canoeing through its expanse, admiring the marble outcrops of ancient rocks, as well as visiting many Orthodox churches and monasteries.
Official website: http://www.canyonmatka
If you have not yet decided where to go in Macedonia in Skopje, we recommend to plunge into the world of Islamic culture and visit the Mustafa Pasha Mosque, located right in the center of the capital. The shrine was built about five centuries ago by Islamic general Mustafa, who owned several villages near Skopje. Pasha was not only a gifted warrior but also a generous patron of the arts and a town manager who built schools and hospitals for the local population.
Official website: http://www.skopje.gov.mk
Now you have an idea of the most recommended sights to visit by tourists and visitors. But besides the most famous monuments we would like to consider some more interesting places, in order to broaden your horizons and diversify your leisure time:
Among all the religious landmarks, the Church of St. John, which is located in the heart of Skopje, must be singled out. The shrine dates back to the 15th century AD. But the peculiarity of the temple is that it is erected on a steep rock right above Ohrid Lake in the form of an Orthodox cross. In addition, the structure is a combination of two styles of architecture: Armenian and Byzantine.
The temple was founded in the 14th century AD by the Orthodox monk Theodore during the reign of Manuel Comnenus. The building of the temple is located in the valley of the Osogovo Mountains, in the eastern part of Skopje. The sights of Macedonia cannot be imagined in all their glory without a visit to this temple, because its architecture is the brightest example of Byzantine traditions and the building itself has preserved its beauty magnificently to this day.
Well, how can we do without aqueducts when it comes to Byzantine culture? Numerous tourist recommendations unanimously advise to visit the village north of Skopje called Vizbegovo, to see the most ancient waterworks facility - the aqueduct. Until today, only 50 arches of 16 meters high have been preserved. Once it supplied fresh water to the whole town of Skopje. The Aqueduct is now under active restoration, with the city authorities planning to restore it to its original form.
You can’t say with certainty that you’ve seen all the best sights without visiting the Bitola - Pelister National Park. This natural monument occupies an area of about 12.5 thousand hectares. Here you will find not only the beauty of virgin forests, but also admire the famous Pelister Lakes, popularly called “eyes” for their crystal clarity. You can also try yourself as a mountaineer by climbing Pelister Peak, which is just over 2.5 km high. There is a magnificent view of Skopje, and the toughest and sturdiest tourists, arriving on the mountain before sunrise, will remember the magnificent sunrise over the Pelister Mountains.
Official website: http://park-pelister.com/en/
And finally, we conclude our virtual journey and description of the main attractions of the state by looking at the Church of St. Sophia. This ancient architectural monument belongs to the period of medieval culture, but is unique in that during the invasion of the Turks it was completely transformed into an Islamic mosque. On top of the tallest dome of the church now stands a minaret. But if you go inside the temple, you can admire the true beauty of the Byzantine paintings, depicting the faces of the patron saints of the church.
Visiting the Republic and its capital Skopje, you have a great opportunity not only to spend an educational time visiting the historical, cultural, scientific and architectural monuments, but also to relax and recharge your soul with the energy of nature in the numerous lake parks and pristine Balkan forests.
Read also about the best sights of Moldova and be inspired for your future journey through Europe!