Apart from the recent unusual architectural rebirth of Skopje, and the ongoing name dispute, Macedonia has a variety of world class attractions to offer, all of which still remain far from reaching their tourism potentials. I decided to go partially ignorant on the matter and blame it all on bad PR. Here are a few things that come to mind:
First Cyrillic University
What is known today as St. Pantelejmon – Plaosnik, Ohrid was in fact the cradle of the First Slavic University, which operated in the last decades of the 9th century and the beginning of the 10th. Initiated and ran by St. Clement and his associates, this establishment was the first of its kind in Europe, and during its work hosted more than 3,500 students, who were equipped with knowledge in science and religion.
The 3800 years old megalithic observatory “Kokino”, is listed 4th among the 15 ancient observatory sites in the world by NASA. It is composed of two platforms with a joint function of observing the movement of the Sun and the Moon.
Macedonia is a land locked country, but the central position of the region made it a bridge between Europe, Asia and Africa, and a great strategy location for any army in the past. Thus Macedonia has a diverse history, influenced by many cultures and empires, and the archeological sites all over the country stand to witness that. Some of the archeological sites include: Trebenista from the Hellenic period and Heraklea, Stobi and Skupi from the Roman period.
Clash of cultures at the Old Bazaar in Skopje
The old Bazaar stands to witness the multicultural history of the region, hosting museums, restaurants where you could taste local food, places ranging from non-alcohol serving tea shops to jazz and rock bars, as well as retail stores and craft shops.
Now, most people have heard about Mother Theresa and her charity work, yet only a few know that she was born and raised in Skopje, Macedonia. Although some find her methods questionable, she is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and her charity work among “the poorest of the poor” is undeniable. The “Mother Teresa Memorial House” in Skopje, was opened in 2009.
Wonderful scenery and a natural escape from urban life, can be found in Pelister, Mavrovo and Galicica, all declared National parks due to their unique features, as well as the exquisite flora and fauna.