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Prespa Lake

The highest lake in the Balkans. Second largest lake in Macedonia. Among Prespa Lake and the largest lake in Macedonia, Ohrid Lake, lays the mountain Galicica below which runs underwater channel called Zavir. From here, the water flows in the springs of St. Naum, and from there it fills Lake Ohrid. The coast of Prespa Lake is the purest one in whole of Macedonia. Nature seems untouched by human hand. White pelicans, cormorants, herons, cranes and swans are gathering close to the lake, which, in turn, is rich with dozens of different types of fish like carp, trout, rudd...

Prespa, Macedonia

Tsar’s Towers

The witness of the fall of the last Macedonian tsar. This place existed since the establishment of the city, in early ancient times. However, first evidence for its existence comes from the 11th century, when the Byzantine emperor Basil II issued the order that the walls around Strumica are to be burned to cinder. The fortress tales a tale that Strumica was not a province but a big center throughout many ages. It witnessed the fall of the Macedonian Slavic tsar Samuel, whose soldiers not only suffered defeat from the byzantine troops on the mountain Belasica but were also blinded as an act of revenge. The fortress which, according to the Byzantine 14th century writer Nicephorus, “rises above the clouds” probably had 4 towers on the north and one round tower on the southern entrance. Today, the most preserved tower is the one in the interior of the fortress, the hexagonally shaped one and made of walls 4 meters thick. There are projects that strive to fully restore this fortress and make it a tourist attraction.

Strumica, Macedonia

Strumica Carnival

The festival of the engaged girls. Centuries old tradition of Strumica, started out as a pagan feast but now is connected with the orthodox holiday Trimmer, just before Easter. After the carnival procession, the groups of masked people go to the houses of the engaged girls. Each girl is to recognize her fiance among the masked people. The traditional masks among the modern carnival creations, are the ones of the bride and the groom, gipsy and gipsy with a baby, priests, and devils. Often, men wear female masks and vice-versa. Many erotic elements can be found in the festival: songs with erotic motifs, recognizing the boys by the big phallus made of bottle or similar objects. The traditional sounds which can be heard during the festival belong to the guitar, accordion and tambourine. Today, thanks to this festival, Strumica is a part of the Association of European carnival cities.

Strumica, Macedonia

Strumica

The starry city. So many stars can be seen on the clear night sky over the valley of Strumica, the city which was known in ancient times as Astraion (starry city). Later on, the city was renamed and became known as Tiberiopolis, according to the Roman general Tiberius. Slavs called it Strumica – according to one version of the local legend, the name Strumica was also the name of the sister of the legendary Macedonian king Marko. The Tsar’s Towers from the 11th century witness the fall of the last Macedonian tsar, Samuel. Today this is one of the largest Macedonian cities, the center of the whole southeastern region. The city of peppers and tomatoes, the city of watermelons, cotton, sunflower… Stumica is the heart of the Macedonian agriculture. The city of mastika, brandy with a specific anason flavor, the city that host the Carnival during the orthodox holiday Trimeri.

Strumica, Macedonia

Smolare Waterfall

The sound of Belasica. On the northern slopes of one of the oldest mountains in the Balkans roars Smolare Waterfall. The icy waters of the river Smolare form an amazing waterfall with a total vertical drop of 40 meters. The visit of the waterfall offers a unique experience mostly because one can come across many villages that have preserved the Macedonian rural tradition. Climbing toward the waterfall also allows the visitor to see the wonderful valley of Strumica. The paths that run through the forests are neatly marked, while the waterfall itself is an excellent challenge for all the enthusiasts of sport-canyon, thanks to the many spectacular opportunities for rope-descending along the waterfall.

Strumica, Macedonia

Monastery In Vodoca

Magnificent medieval center of the metropolitans in Strumica. Monastery that holds the remnants of several ancient churches since the 7th century, on whose foundations is built the beautiful temple dedicated to the saint Leontius in the 11th century, and to Eleusa. This is a site where more than 1,000 medieval tombs were discovered alongside with jewelry and ceramics from the 14th century - one of the richest archaeological sites in Macedonia. The paintings are dating from the 10th century and are still preserved in part. Some of the frescoes, masterpieces of Byzantine art style, are similar to those of the ancient Ohrid Archbishopric St. Sofia. Today, the monastery is open to visitors and they have quarters for monks and residential quarters for the visitors.

Strumica, Macedonia

Monastery In Veljusa

One of the most important places in the cultural history of the Balkans. The only preserved building in Macedonia since the 11th century. Concerning the church, St. Bogorodica has a wealth of historical documentation; the monastery is mentioned in the documents of the largest Orthodox sanctuary, Sveta Gora (Holy Hill); and is depicted in the works of the Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus who visited the monastery and was elated by its beauty. It is also mentioned in the works of the Serbian Tsar Stefan Dusan in the 14th century. This pearl of old architecture is preserved in the same way it was built. Artists used all kinds of techniques such as unique frescoes, mosaic and relief on the marble parts of the iconostasis. According to the ambition of the founder, this monastery is unique in every aspect. With its artistic values and precious objects the monastery is above everything else in the region Strumica.

Strumica, Macedonia

Mastika

The Macedonian whiskey. In the vicinity of Strumica a herb, called anason, is cultivated. When dry, this herb has specific odor and bitter taste. The anason is also used for healing  purposes, especially for difficulties in digestion. The tradition of making mastika is ongoing for more than three centuries. Being prepared with wine distillate, honey and anason seeds, this particular spirit has an unforgettable flavor. When you mix mastika with water, the drink gets bluish color. Mastika is usually served as aperitif in Macedonia, but can be also used for making various cocktails. Mastika can be consumed with fresh vegetables, milk or fresh fruit salads. The most well known manufacturer of this drink is factory Grozd from Strumica.

Strumica, Macedonia

Koleshino Waterfalls

The jewel of the Macedonian waterfalls. One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Macedonia. Across the old rocks of the northern side of the mountain Belasica, river Babuna forms several waterfalls in a row, the most impressive one having a vertical drop of about 6 meters. Extraordinary picturesque nature contributes to memorable experience when visiting these waterfalls. The rocks under water are green with moss and plants, while the rest of the surroundings turn into a real jungle of fern and other plants both in spring and in summer. One can reach the waterfalls by following neat paths through steep hills with dense deciduous forest.

Strumica, Macedonia

Belasica

The Old Woman over Strumica. One of the oldest mountains on the Balkan Peninsula is highest on the peak of Radomir (Kalabak), which is located 2029 meters above sea level. Belasica is known as the mountain with lush vegetation, high forests and picturesque meadows. Smolare Waterfall is in the heart of the Belasica and it is the tallest waterfall in Macedonia, falling from a height of nearly 40 meters. One can also find the Kolesino waterfalls, a series of several small and one fifteen meter tall waterfall. The spring of mineral water in the village of Bansko has healing power; it contains minerals and sulfur while the temperature is 75 degrees Celsius. This is the reason why Romans built their spa here, which can be still seen in the excavated parts. Today, this is one of the most visited spas in Macedonia, mainly for healing purpose.

Strumica, Macedonia