I have always been interested in ancient places that no longer stand; their very names are enchanting. Thessalonica, Corinth, Caesarea, Ephesus, Macedonia
. . . and then I discovered something fascinating. Macedonia is not just a face of the past; the country still exists today! It doesn’t seem right; after all, Alexander the Great’s connection made Macedonia famous to history enthusiasts and this was many, many centuries ago. Macedonia has stood the test of time.
It is one of those countries that makes you say “hmmmm.” What’s there to see and do? Is there nice scenery? Can I get a bite to eat? Does everybody drink sheep’s milk and other odd delicacies? Can I find anything worth my while? This article will help answer such questions for those wishing to visit Macedonia and those having an interest in this small, little-known country.
Where Is the Capital?
In Skopje, located in the northern part of the country. Don’t visit Macedonia without stopping here for a visit. Skopje, at least judging by its skyline, seems a lot more modern than one would expect, but there are some hidden historical surprises, such as the Roman aqueduct dating from antiquity.
What Can I See in Macedonia?
More than you might think. For water enthusiasts: Lake Ohrid (don’t forget to look for the little stone church of Sveti Jovan Bogoslav Kaneo rising above its shores. This is a great photo opportunity). The lake stretches on and on, dazzling the eye.
For those who love green, verdant valleys and natural scenery: Visit Pelister National Park near Bitola. This place offers many different types of scenery, quiet woodlands and waterfalls like the lovely Red Rocks. The park seems so American, yet, so foreign at the same time. Pelister’s Eyes are two gorgeous bodies of water. Baba Mountain is the place to go for stunning views.
For skiiers and snow-lovers: Krushevo is a great place to go because it has everything from mountains to winter activities to a small-town village appeal. Don’t forget those winter clothes; there’s not an abundance of warm sunshine to be found in Krushevo!
History lovers unite: Explore the town of Ohrid for some great historic places. The Roman theater dates from ancient times although it lost some of its historic appeal when it was given a makeover in 2002. Interestingly, social functions are now held here and travelers should plan to attend if at all possible. Ohrid’s St. Sofija Church is a great religious monument to explore. It dates from the early medieval era.
Culture and Location
What countries does Macedonia border? To give a perspective on where exactly Macedonia is located, it is sandwiched between Serbia and Montenegro, Greece, Albania, and Bulgaria (actually, part of Lake Ohrid is in the country of Albania).
What languages will I hear in Macedonia? Though the most common language is Macedonian, visitors may detect conversations in other languages at tourist areas like Krushevo. It may be helpful to take a dictionary of the language so no one gets caught unawares.
Is Macedonia really so ancient? Yes. The country has always been connected with Greece although it is not officially considered to be of the same origin; just because it borders Greece does not mean its people are Greek. There has always been a subtle distinction. It is not known exactly where the Macedonians came from. There were many settlements of antiquity in Macedonia. The names may be unfamiliar to the modern ear: Pelagonia, Lynkestis, Chalkidike, and Mygdonia just to name a few. These places no longer exist but the regions remain. Even now, in the 21st century, Macedonia can’t really be called “modern.” The people have retained a certain different quality that many European countries no longer possess. To see Macedonia is to embrace history.
How to Enjoy Culinary Creations
So what do I eat in Macedonia? Are there any foods I can actually pronounce? Well, for *real* travelers, it’s always great to try the favorites; no one should visit a country without partaking of the national dishes (unless, of course, it’s something you just can’t handle). Burek, a pie filled with cheese and sumptuous meat, might be a good meal to consider during your trip to Macedonia. Fish is also popular here. Have a stomach that longs for something unique? Try any dish with lamb, a big staple in this part of the world, or a dish that includes cabbage leaves, another Mediterranean must.