Macedonia Journals

Macedonia: At The Heart of the Balkans

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A June 2005 trip to Macedonia by HobWahid

View of the Lake Photo, More Photos
Quote: Macedonia, lying in the middle of the Balkan peninsula, is an ancient land full of lush hills, deep lakes, and hundreds of magnificent churches.

Macedonia: At The Heart of the Balkans

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Overview

View of the Lake Photo,
Quote:
Skopje: Macedonia's capital that has more of a small-town feel than that of a capital. An ancient city with an Old City, a Citadel, and a vibrant new town.Ohrid: The definite highlight of Macedonia. The town of Ohrid, on the lake of the same name, is home to a beautiful old city. The lake, one of the oldest in the world, has almost 400 churches in the immediate vicinity.Monastery of St. Naum: A large monastery complex on the shores of Lake Ohrid, near the Albanian border. A popular spot for Macedonians that offers lovely views as well as boat trips and a beach.Quick Tips: Macedonia is obviously not on the main tour circuit. Most foreigners who end ...Read More

In and Around New Skopje

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Attraction

Vardar Photo, Skopje, Macedonia
Quote:
Skopje's new town is a surprisingly vibrant area that, in summer, is home to numerous outdoor cafes and shop-lined pedestrian walkways. The old and new towns of Skopje are joined by the 214m-long kameni most (stone bridge), originally built in the 15th century by the Ottomans. Crossing the bridge, usually lined with local roma selling various trinkets, is really like entering a different town. Gone are the cobblestone streets, replaced by large plazas and towering buildings of concrete and steel built to signify the might of Yugoslavia. But this is not to say that new Skopje does have plenty of charm. A wide stone walkway lines the banks of the Vardar. It is here where locals strut their...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 18, 2006

Monastery of St. Naum of Ohrid

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Attraction | "Monastery of St. Naum"

Monastery of St. Naum of Ohrid Photo, Ohrid, Macedonia
Quote:
There are around 365 churches and holy places in the Lake Ohrid region of Macedonia. Obviously that's a lot to take in. I mean, I appreciate good church architecture as much as the next guy, and I love seeing places of worship wherever they may be, but with 365 choices, I was at a loss as to what to see first, so I did what any good traveler would do: I asked, which can often be a frustrating experience in Macedonia, since English ability is still at a premium. I did manage to find consensus, though; everyone agreed that the Monastery of St. Naum is where I needed to go. So I did.The monastery stands at the complete opposite side of the lake from Ohrid, right on the border with Alba...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 18, 2006

Monastery of St. Naum of Ohrid
Lake Ohrid
Ohrid , Macedonia

Ohrid's Old Town

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Attraction

Ohrid's Old Town Photo, Ohrid, Macedonia
Quote:
Ohrid's old town is the real highlight of Macedonia, an area of steep cobblestone streets, old houses, churches, gardens, fortresses and roman amphitheaters, all excellently preserved and open for you to explore. It is one of those amazing towns that, besides a few cars here and there, seems to exist almost outside of time and truly requires a full day to explore. During my first jaunt into the old town, I just did a quick tour and thought I had seen it all, but then I returned and just let myself wander. I ended up spending the whole day walking around and was amply rewarded with solitary churches, mosaics, and a bit of coffee with a couple of old Macedonian men.If you like churches, Ohrid's old town...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 18, 2006

Ohrid's Old Town

Ohrid , Macedonia

Macedonia: What's in a name?

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Story/Tip

Fort Photo,
Quote:
When I told people back home that I had gone to Macedonia, most of them responded with inquisitive looks. "Macedonia is it's own country," they would ask. Many would assume that it was part of Greece or that the people in Macedonia were Greeks, and for good reason. When almost any of us think of Macedonia what do we think of other than Aleksandar III of Macedon a.k.a. "the Great" a.k.a. Colin Ferrell. Alexander, the great conqueror and Hellenizer who spread Greek culture all the way to India until he died from malaria, typhoid fever, poisoning or natural causes (depending on who you ask). So, many people have asked, why exactly is a country made up of a bunch of Slavs calling itself Macedonia and clai...Read More

Ohrid: Jewel of Macedonia

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Story/Tip

Lake Ohrid Photo,
Quote:
So special and so significant is Ohrid that not only did UNESCO decide to declare the town a World Heritage Site, but the whole lake as well. The lake is one of the world's oldest, and at 938 feet, it is the deepest in the Balkans. Remnants dating back to the Neolithic age are proof that the area around this lake has been inhabited since almost the dawn of humanity, but it is the town of Ohrid, on the northeast side of the lake, that is the premier attraction today in the region, other than the lake itself.I had arrived in Macedonia in mid-June, just as the country was starting to welcome in summer and people were waking up from winter hibernation. The country was in full bloom and the peo...Read More

Skopje: The Quiet Capital

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Story/Tip

Stone Bridge Photo, Skopje, Macedonia
Quote:
Skopje is probably the most attractive non-coastal town in the Balkans. A collection of white houses with red roofs nestled at the foot of the verdant Mount Vodno, on the approach from the airport it seems more like a medieval hamlet than a capital city. Although it is home to over 25% of the population, at 500,000 people, Skopje maintains a quaint and relaxed feel that contrasts starkly with the other capital cities of the Balkans. With the Vardar river providing the central axis of the city, dividing into the historic (and Muslim) north side and the more modern (and Christian) south side, Skopje will provide any visitor with enough sites to keep one occupied for a couple of days and serves as a perf...Read More