Beginning in the 8th century BC, Macedonia has been a center for culture for many civilizations from the Greeks to the Ottomans. Control over the territory shifted between many empires through its extensive past until The Republic of Macedonia gained independence in 1991. Thus, the Republic of Macedonia we know today is a culture pot rich in history and diversity. Macedonia contains a plethora of tourist attractions from exploring ancient ruins to modern art museums.
The Macedonian capital, Skopje, is a literal time machine, where past and present come together. From the modern European style of the city center, you can cross the Stone Bridge into the Ottoman quarter where you can walk the city streets from the 12th century and venture into the Old Bazaar. A little further you will find the famous Contemporary Art Museum of Skopje. Other great places to visit within the city include Maria Theresa’s Memorial house, Kale Fortress and there is also a cable car that can take you to the top of the Mountain of Vodno to see the Millennium Cross. Outside the city, a popular day trip is to visit the beautiful Lake Matka, surrounded by lush cliffs.
Recognized by UNESCO as a natural and cultural heritage site, Ohrid is a beautiful lakeside city. Ohrid’s most prominent feature is the Church of St. John overlooking the lake. Other notable places include the Tsar Samuil’s fortress and the Ancient Theatre, which reflect the city’s ancient past. One popular day trip is Bitola, Macedonia’s second largest city. Be sure to check out the Magnolia Square and the bazaar, Stara Čaršija. From Bitola you can visit the Roman ruins at Heraclea Lyncestis.
No matter where you end up, the Macedonian cuisine will be one of the best tourist attractions of your trip. The Macedonians are renown for their blend of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines as well as the quality of their coffees and wines. Eat and drink like a local to really immerse yourself in the culture. Order a Turkish coffee from your neighborhood café. Try a Kebapi, the Macedonian specialty kebab sandwich, from the many cafes or street vendors. Then for dinner go out and get a Selsko Meso, the Macedonian equivalent to the soup of the day, but a chunky, meaty stew simmered for hours in white wine.