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Orthodox Heritage Tour

Country: Macedonia
City: Skopje
Duration: 9 Day(s) - 8 Night(s)
Tour Category: Culture Tours
Departure Date: Thu 01 Jan '99

Package Itinerary

DAY 1 to DAY 3: Transfer from Skopje airport Alexander the Great to Skopje and meet your expert guide over dinner where you can discuss the tour, and the Macedonian customs and traditions. Visit the most remarkable Byzantine churches hidden in the alleys of the Old town under the city walls and in the mountains around Skopje. See the outstanding examples of the early renaissance in fresco painting in St Panteleimon; the ceramic Byzantine-age decorations and the masterwork of Michael and Eutichius in their 14th century frescoes in the temples on Mt. Skopska Crna Gora, the unique woodcarving technique of the Myak masters in the famous iconostasis of the Holly Savior church. We will walk inside a beautiful canyon in Suva Gora to see the original stone columns and inscriptions written on the façade of a 14th century monastery, and we’ll visit the nuns’ embroidery workshop in a monastery deep in Canyon Matka. In the most remote parts of National Park Mavrovo we’ll see the world renowned iconostasis of St John and the relics of St George.

DAY 4 to DAY 5: Start a day with a divine morning liturgy in the church of the Holly Mother of God by Ohrid Lake. Take a tour of Ohrid, the city of UNESCO with 365 Orthodox churches, important archeological sites, a Roman theatre, the medieval Tsar Samoil’s fortress and a priceless gallery of icons with its rich collection: 30 of these icons have been estimated as masterworks created in the period from 11th to 19th century. See the frescoes that are best preserved examples of Byzantine monumental activities between 10th and 13th century and the one of Erasmus Lychnidos- the first Christian missionary in the Balkan from 3rd century! Drive by the lake to St Naum monastery, close to the Albanian border. Dating back to X century, the remains of the Glagolitic and Cyrillic inscriptions on the pillars of this church are mute witnesses of the beginning of Slavic literacy and Cyrillic script. Explore the monk cells carved in the rocks above Ohrid Lake, where through centuries monks used to live in complete isolation, fasting and in continuous prayers. Deep in Galicica National park visit the church in Kurbinovo, one of the most important spiritual and cultural places in the world. Walk by the ancient mosaics in the city of Philip II, the father of Alexander the Great!

DAY 6: The Varosh monastery complex of Prilep is located under the medieval towers of King Marko. This site has been home to a cemetery and settlements from Bronze and Iron Age, as well as to baths from Roman Era. We’ll visit here few pearls from the Byzantine period: the church of St Archangel Michael, then the city patron’s church which is the most important Byzantine architecture masterpiece in Macedonia, and the conservative frescoes in St Dimitra church. Up in the mountains in the monastery Treskavec meet father Kalist, beautiful personality always willing to discuss the principles of Orthodox religion and to explain the importance of the Byzantine heritage of this monastery. Optional: visit Zrze for a true spiritual break in the tranquility of the monastery with beautiful view over Pelagonija plain. Enjoy a dinner with winetasting of premium Macedonian wines in a wine chateau.

DAY 7 to DAY 9: Explore spiritual East Macedonia: the 2 most important Byzantine sites Vodocha (10th century) and Veljusa, with preserved architecture from 11th century, and one of the oldest known typikons in the history of Orthodox monasticism about the church construction and the order of the first monastic life here. Several temples have been excavated in this area from Pre-Christianity period, an Early Christian basilica and a cross-shaped church. Up in the mountains of East Macedonia visit the cave churches and the monk cells carved in the rocks by Lesnovo monastery, a church with priceless iconostasis which used to be the biggest library in the Balkans in middle ages. We’ll also visit the pottery manufacturers in a small mountain village here, and the church of St George, important for the rare fresco of Jesus Christ in two positions giving communion to the apostles that shows the difference between the Orthodox and Catholic Christianity. Watch the sunset at Kokino Megalithic observatory and relax by the pool of your Ethno-village hotel-spa.

Leave Macedonia on Day 9, or extend this spiritual tour with 3 days tour of Kosovo UNESCO heritage.

Included in price:

  • Accommodation: 4 x 4* hotel, 3 x boutique hotel, 1 x Ethno village hotel
  • Meals: 8 x breakfast, 7 x lunch, 8 x dinner
  • Transport with air-conditioned tourist van / coach
  • Full escort by professional tourist guide
  • All entrance fees for churches / monuments visited
  • Winetasting with dinner (Day 6)
  • Visit of clay pottery producers
  • Boat ride in Ohrid
  • Reforestation certificate for one tree planted in your name in Macedonia
  • Full organization and logistic by Macedonia Travel

Not included in price:

  • Drinks during the meals
  • Any personal expenses not mentioned under “Included in price”

TOUR EXTENSION: KOSOVO UNESCO HERITAGE

DAY 9: Early in the morning we’ll cross Macedonian – Kosovo border and drive along Kachanik Gorge to our first stop, Grachanica monastery: a UNESCO world heritage site of extraordinary beauty, famous for its church devoted to Annunciation of the Holly Mother of God. Continue to the Kosovo greatest battlefield in its history, where Sultan Murad and Emperor Lazar fought with their armies back in 1389. Only few kilometers away is the tomb/turbe of the Ottoman Sultan Murad the First, who was killed in that battle. From here we head to the Kosovo Capital Pristina, for lunch and afternoon guided panoramic city tour followed by a walk along Pristina’s main street and the pedestrian zone by the monuments of Mother Teresa, Skanderbeg, and the monument of the first president of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova. Transfer to Pec. Dinner and overnight in hotel in Pec.

DAY 10: The Patriarchate of Pec is the next UNESCO World Heritage site on our tour, which had continuous life for over seven centuries. We’ll visit here a complex of four churches built and fresco-painted back in XIII-XIV century, and head back to Pec and Decani to visit one more UNESCO World Heritage site: the Serbian Orthodox Christian monastery Visoki Decani, famous for its frescoes declared as "one of the most valued examples of the so-called Palaeologan renaissance in Byzantine painting". Continue to Prizren driving by Djakovica, and by Terzi Most, an interesting bridge from XVIII century. After a traditional lunch in Prizren restaurant we’ll take a walking tour of this wonderful historic city of Kosovo with preserved old buildings, bazaar, mosques and orthodox churches, a catholic cathedral, bridges and a fortress. See why this ancient city is named “the Open Air Museum”!!!Departure to Skopje in late afternoon and finish the day with a grand farewell dinner in Skopje. Overnight in hotel in Skopje.

DAY 11: Free time to explore the capital center completely rebuilt for the project Skopje 2014 with numerous monuments, baroque buildings and fountains until departure home.

Included in price (ext. to KOSOVO):

  • Accommodation: 1 x 5*hotel, 1 x 4*hotel
  • Meals: 2 x breakfast, 2 x lunch, 2 x dinner
  • Transport with air-conditioned tourist van / coach
  • Full escort by professional tourist guide
  • All entrance fees for churches / monuments visited
  • Full organization and logistic by Macedonia Travel

Not included in price (ext. to KOSOVO):

  • Drinks during the meals
  • All personal expenses not mentioned under “INCLUDED IN PRICE”
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