Lake Matka is one of the most popular places for the citizens of Skopje to relax or do activities. But not like a vast lake that you may imagine. Actually, it is narrow and highlights the high cliffs of the mountains. The boat ride over to visit the small cave costs 5 euros per person and the guide speaks English, the hours are from 10 to 14 hours and it leaves from Planinski Sun Matka and the church of San Andrés. The tour lasts two hours and is really worthwhile. We entered via the Treska River and the canyon formed by its waters. It is impressive, not as much as in Mexico but enough to remind you. On the banks occasionally you can see summer cottages, but they are now empty. There are also many ducks swimming and you can see hikers walking along the paths that occasionally overlook the shore. Some of these roads lead to more than a dozen churches and monasteries in the area, some are abandoned but others are still in use.
Macedonia is a country with a special flavor, a bitter struggle between modernity and tradition. The strong conservation of traditions are especially a breath of fresh air to the globalization that the rest of Europe is experiencing. I'll try to share many places and restaurants, so everyone can explore this small charming country in the middle of the Balkans. There are a number of traditional plates from Macedonia. During the summer, because of the heat, the cuisine is based predominantly on vegetables and fruits, mixed with white cheese that will delight even those who consider themselves carnivores by nature. In the pictures you can see Tavche Gravche (light baked beans and very delicious) and other delicious vegetables, with a special flavor, thanks to the intense daily sun.
Located right in front of the old baths, this mosque is currently the Art Gallery of Cifte Aman. This modern square ceiling mosque was built in 1802 as the original structure was burned when General Piccolomini took Skopje in 1689. The unusual three-nave basilica form and flat roof (instead of domed) comes from the fact that it was built on the monastery of St. George, the main monastery in Skopje before the arrival of the Turks.
The Fortress of Skopje is known as the Kale. It offers good views of the city and it's free to enter. Of course, that is if you are allowed to go in. When we went, the police would not let us inside and we had to settle with viewing the exterior, which is really where all its beauty lies because supposedly the interior is more like a park. It really reminded us a lot of Ohrid. The importance of different central routes since ancient times forced the construction of a defence fortress in this strategic area. Romans, Byzantines, Bulgarians, and Turks used it as a defence, but the relentless enemy was the earthquake of 1963 that left it in bad shape. N 42 ° 00,128 'E 21 ° 25,949'
After a lot of controversy, this statue was erected on November 28, 2006, the day of the Albanian flag, in front of the Ilinden shopping center. Skandenberg was a national hero of Catholic Albanians who fought in the fifteenth century Ottoman advance. The statue caused a lot of controversy for several reasons. For one, the ethnic Albanian population did want an albanian hero being recognized in their lands because there was already a lot of tension between the two ethnic groups. Additionally, the Turkish community of the Carsija neighborhood didn´t like the statue of an enemy, especially on that side of the river. And for the Muslims in general, it is felt to be offensive.
When we visited the Mustafa Pasha Mosque, it was closed. It´s the largest in the city and built on the same date that Christopher Columbus discovered a new continent in 1492. It was ordered to be built by Mustafa Pasha under Ottoman rule of Sultan Selim I. Three small domes highlight the porch and white minaret of 124 stairs. It was severely affected by the earthquake of 1963 and the main dome is still under repair.
Formerly the building was the second largest steam bath in Skopje. It was built in the early sixteenth century by the orders of Isa Bey, the son of Isak Bey. There are currently travel exhibitions there. The exhibition didn´t have anything about the building but it was quite curious and since there was no one at the entrance, we visited free. It´s located in front of the Murat Pasha Mosque.
These two saints are paid tribute in one of the sides of the Stone Bridge (Kamen Most) located next to the neighborhood of Carsija. Cyril (or Constantine, 827-869) and Methodius (815-885) were two brothers from Thessaloniki during the Byzantine Empire. The two Slavic Apostles became the first Christian missionaries in the Crimea Empire of Great Moravia. They are considered expanders and inventors of the Glagolitic alphabet. This alphabet was used in Slavic manuscripts before the development of the Cyrillic alphabet (which was derived from the Greek alphabet with elements of Coptic and Hebrew alphabets), so therefore used in various Slavic languages. Both brothers are canonized as apostles in the Orthodox Church and they rose to the alter of the Catholic Church in 1880. Later on in 1980, Pope John Paul II brought them to the rank of Patrons of Europe. They are commemorated on February 14 in the Catholic, Protestant and Anglican churches. The Orthodox Church dedicates February 14 to Cyril and and May 11 to both brothers.
These two saints are situated on the Stone Bridge of Kamen Most. St. Naum of Preslav (Bulgarian: Свети Наум Преславски)(c. 830-23 December 910) He was a scholar, writer and teacher of medieval Bulgarian. Naum took part in their mission to Great Moravia and in 867 or 868 became a priest in Rome. Naum came to Pliska together with Clement of Ohrid. Naum continued the work of Clement in Ohrid Literary School. In 905 Naum on Lake Ohrid founded a monastery which later received his name. St. Clement of Ohrid (Bulgarian: Свети Охридски Климент, SVTI Ojridski Kliment) (c. 840-916) was a medieval Bulgarian scholar and writer, the first archbishop of Bulgaria and one of the Seven Apostles of Bulgaria.
The day that I began my tour of Macedonia, it was the day when the museums are open all night, and there were lots of shows in the street. The whole city was outside and of course all the museums were open at night, so I went to the Museum of the City of Skopje. Today this museum is located next to the ruins of the old train station, destroyed in 1963 along with eighty percent of the city by a massive earthquake of 6.1 on the Richter scale, which killed 1,000 people and left 120000 people homeless. The museum was established in 1949. The museum's permanent exhibits depicts the history of the city since 3000 BC. As it was a special day when I visited, there were people dressed in costumes and there was a concert.