Located only 17 km from our hotel along the river Treska, lies the beautiful canyon Matka. This natural beauty which covers an area of 5000 hectares can satisfy the needs of any deliberate visitor. Thus, nature lovers have the opportunity to enjoy the view of this wonderful world that is home to more than 250 different endemic species of butterflies and plants.
The rainbow of colors who are pouring in the dense forest that surrounds the canyon Matka, and also from the crystal clear water of the river Treska, no one can remain indifferent.
For those who want to recreate, the canyon created numerous hiking trails. Larger adventurers, mountaineers and climbers have the opportunity for training, while those more experienced has a particularly marked trails with rock climbing pins. Furthermore, the Treska River is famous for its wild water which offers people the opportunity to take a kayaking tour of their life
3 billion years ago this place was a great lake that over time retreated and created dozens of caves that attract people from all over the world today. All these caves are with different size and age. The best known are the three caves, Vrelo, Krshtena and Ubava (beautiful) who are in the stage of maturation and fulfill with beautiful decorations. Especially important is Vrelo, which according to recent speleological researches has been named for one of the deepest caves in Europe. In its interior we can see various figures stalagnites and stalactites.The caves can be reached by boat.
Canyon Matka can be easily called Mount Athos of Republic of Macedonia. Because of the difficult accessibility to the terrain, in the canyon were built many monasteries and churches and most of them today are completely preserved. One of the churches that you can visit is the small church of St. Andrea from the 14th century which is located on the shore of the lake, and also the Monastery of St. Mary located in the immediate vicinity.
Besides the excellent conditions for sport and recreation this place offers opportunity for relaxation. Here you can come and enjoy a picnic on the banks of the river Treska, or sit in one of the restaurants and taste excellent traditional Macedonian food.
On the mountain Vodno just about half an hour climbing from our Hotel Pine and the surrounding area there are several cultural and spiritual monuments, of which stands the church of St. Panteleimon from 12th century (1164) in the form of a cross with five domes and narthex built during the reign of Emperor Alexius I Comnenus, painted by local artisans, which deviates from old Byzantine tradition capital, and allows himself strong coloration, emphasized tragedy expression of Mother of God in fresco Lamentation of Christ.
According to beliefs in the vicinity of Skopje were located the properties of Angels and the Prince Alexei who was a favorite companion of King Manoil Comnenus who ruled with this city, and also was the patron of the church. He entrusted the work of an unknown artist who after making his work became known and will be remembered as a “master of painting from Nerezi”. Inside the church are preserved frescoes in all their authenticity from the 12th century.
Especially significant is the fresco, Lamentation of Christ. This kind of composition as the Lamentation of Christ, is found in most churches, but the unique is that in it can be seen, for the first time, how the angels are crying. This is the only fresco in which is represented scene of Virgin that overwhelmed by despair and pain for the first and the last time is straddle the dead body of Christ.
After the earthquake of 1555, parts of the church were destroyed. The scene in which is shown Christ bring after Judas’ betrayal, in which it can be seen his suffering are the only thematic selection of new painting that follows the renovation of the church.
There are some recent theories that the above mentioned fresco, Lamentation of Christ, is the beginning of the renaissance painting, almost 140 years before the advent of the Cimabue and Giotto di Bondone in Italy with frescoes in Santa Maria del Arenja.
Perhaps you are wondering how it is possible that this not so high mountain of 1067 meters to be so captivate? What is the reason that this mountain make some individuals addictive to climbing? The answer to this question you will find out by yourself, if you make the effort to climb on not so high, but nevertheless surprisingly steep mountain Vodno. Perhaps only then you will agree that the mountain Vodno is always magical -on fogy days is mystical, spring time everything is filled with flowers and greenery, in autumn it is colored in yellow-brown and red, and in winter pine trees are so laden with snow what makes you feel like you’re at the North Pole. Here you will find plants and herbs of all kinds (yarrow, several types of mint, salep, medunika, more types of orchids and mushrooms), rich with all fungi that can be seen around the country. If you understand the fungi you will have to be among the first to pick up more than one basket.
The view from the top of Vodno to all directions is wonderful. You can see Osogovo Mountains in the east. In winter, when the sky is clear,when the mountains are covered with snow, and only when the weather is sunny, you can see Rila and Pirin. In the north of Skopje is the mountain Skopska Crna Gora, to the west – Shar mountain massif, on south massif Karadzica Jakupica and Dautica.
You will meet people from all professions and ages, academics, university professors, doctors, engineers, highly educated people, people with secondary education, artisans, craftsmen, retired … People of any profile, and they are all here for variety of needs, but with the same love. Of course, Vodno abound with animal life, everything that is not dangerous to humans.
The highest point of the mountain Vodno, is the place called Krstovar where the Millennium Cross is built. The Place Krstovar which basically means the place of the cross, bears its name because in the past there was a smaller cross. It was built in honor of the birth of Jesus and it is symbol of the 2000 year history of Christianity.
The height of the cross is 66m, width 46m and it is the highest objective in the Republic of Macedonia and the highest cross on Balkans. The central part where the cross is set, along with the amphitheater on one side and square on the other hand, represent the three rounds that mark the holy trinity. The basis built is with 12 columns and they symbolize the 12 apostles and followers of Jesus. In the Cross are placed 33 elements, which are symbolizing the years of Jesus.
Millennium Cross itself, the mountain home which is located in the vicinity and the regulated environment, offers you the option of special enjoyment overlooking the City on one side and huge mountains on the other side. There are several ways to get to the highest peak of the mountain Vodno. If you enjoy walking you can use marked walking trails half way up, then boarding with newly built funicular that will take you to the top and to the Millennium Cross. Funicular has 28 cabins and have a capacity to carry up to 1200 passengers per hour. Two of these are VIP cabins and they are equipped with white leather seats, room for champagne with cup holders. Each cabin has a place specially equipped for carrying sports equipment, bike or skis.
Located a few meters under the ground, with its distinctive appearance and method of construction, the church St. Spas attracts special attention. It is built on the foundations of the church that existed in the 16-17 century and was dedicated to St. Spas. The evidence is hidden in preserved frescoes in the south of the church, which was discovered during her repairs after the devastating earthquake in Skopje 1963. The present church was built in 18 century, and the final look it got in the 19th century.
Mentioned that the church was built a few feet under the ground, the reason for this is that at this time the Turkish authorities not allow churches or Christian temples to dominate the mosques. Particular importance has the iconostasis which has masterfully performed a two-layered hand-carving. It is 7 meters high, 10 meters long, and it was made for 6 years of Master Petre Filipovski Garkata, Marko and Makarie Frchoski and their woodcarving group. In the church there are icons that are work of renowned Master Miak Zografos Dico.
Besides the church itself, in the yard is located museum and tomb of the Macedonian revolutionary Goce Delchev. The tomb is set on three stone pillars and it is symbolizing the fight and ideals of the revolutionary unification of the Macedonian state within its ethnic borders.
Sultan Murat Mosque in Skopje, Macedonia
In the 15th and 16th century, during the Ottoman Empire the construction of sacred and profane buildings was intensified and many mosques, inns, baths, bezisten and other public buildings were built that time.
On the left side of the river Vardar, under the fortress Skopje Kale, there is one of most beautiful Islamic sacred buildings in the Balkans, Mustafa Pasha Mosque. Its position allows it to be viewed from all sides of the city. It is assumed that the mosque was built on the same place where once the church of St. Marina was located . The mosque was built in 1492 by the Turkish commander of Skopje, Mustafa Pasha, who was the son of the vizier Abdullah, who served Sultan Murad Beazit II from 1481 to 1512 and Sultan Selim I during 1512 to 1520.
It was considered that with the construction of Mustafa Pasha Mosque, were highlighted all the important values that were built and created in period of Ottoman rule. Within the complex of the mosque there were caravansary, madrassa, mekteb, Imaret, and turbe. But today day preserved are the mosque, mausoleum and the stone sarcophagus of Umi, who was the daughter of Mustafa Pasha. According to legend, Umi died in the yard of the mosque after bite by a poisonous snake and it was believed that this is a punishment for her father Mustafa Pasha because he built the mosque on the place where a church was located. But despite that, Mustafa Pasha was respected and loved ruler of Skopje not only by the Muslim population, but also by Christians since he built sewer and water supply systems of the entire city.
The turbe was built in 1519 and there was buried Mustafa Pasha. Its exterior is covered with white marble. Stone sarcophagus in which is the grave of his daughter Umi abounds with Rumi motives ornament. On the sarcophagus are inscribed inscriptions in Persian language. The mosque is a typical example of early architecture of Constantinople. It has a square base covered with a dome which is decorated with arabesques. The entrance in the mosque is through a porch made of white marble. Prayer space is located inside the mosque. The south-eastern part of the prayer space is mihrab, (the place where the prayer leader reads the Koran), while in the right side it is located the stage from where the prayers are reading. In general this mosque in terms of art, corresponds with Islamic buildings that are located in the capital of Turkey, Istanbul.
Our own tour operator, Pine Holiday from Skopje can help you visit this great tourist attraction while you are staying at our hotel
Unexplored beauty near by Skopje- The mountain Skopska Crna Gora
The mountain Skopska Crna Gora is high, massive and spacious mountain with lots of woods and pastures, access road for cars and beautiful scenery for family outings on weekends. Unfortunately, the mountain has been forgotten by the citizens and rarely visited, apart from a certain group of hikers, mostly from PSD Kitka. Northern part around the village Banjani, accessible by car and bus number 71 will take you to the Monastery St. Nikita from 1307, built by King Milutin as his memorial. Little more to the right in village Kuceviste is Church of the Holy Savior in 1348. There are many churches and monasteries in the foothills of the mountain Skopska Crna Gora, interesting and accessible to those who can not move up to the steep gradients, because the roads to them are flat and easy. For long-distance fans there are multiple paths from the village Rastak through the most beautiful water from the tap ,,Kales Mara,, with beautiful surroundings to the ridge, then left through the ridge of the mountain to the top ,,Ravno, , from where you can download in the villages Ljubanci, Pobozhje or Kuceviste. To all the mentioned villages there are regular bus lines.
On the Mountain Skopska Crna Gora you can pick up in large quantities many medical herbs and mushrooms. According to legend, the mountain was called the White Mountain, but with the rebellion in Macedonia, which starts after the burst of the Austrian army under Piccolomini chieftain in 1689 and the withdrawalning of the Austrians, Turks new military forces beat the rebels led by Karpos. In the triumphant battle of Kumanovo they captured Karpos and prick him on a peg on the Skopje Stone Bridge. After, followed bloody riots, in which “fell” also villages in the White Mountains, and it was burnt and later renamed the mountain Skopska Crna Gora (Black Mountain).
Only those who do not go to the mountain, cant know the satisfaction that gives the mountain. It is certain that if you start with problems and worries, after returning your feeling will be not the same. There is some magic that mountain affect your mood. Ask climbers if indeed there is such magic. Otherwise how it would be create such an addiction and need to mount?
Old Bazaar is is the oldest part of Skopje, more than seven centuries old and it has been the most significant cultural, historical and commercial heritage of the city. Narrow streets, numerous shops, craft workshops, restaurants and cafes are just a little part of the unusual bazaar ambiance. The existence of this place dates back to the 12th century, and in the 13th century grew into one of the largest shopping centers on the Balkans. During the period of the Ottoman Empire besides the great number of small workshops and houses, many mosques, inns, and baths were built in the old town. The appearance of the Old Bazaar was often changed due to to floods, fires and earthquakes that happened to the city of Skopje. Special trace left the great conflagration in 1689, when the whole city of Skopje including the Old bazaar with all its facilities were almost completely burned. Over the next few centuries it was just a small bazaar. Since the 19th century, despite an another fire and the earthquake in 1963 in which the Old Bazaar in Skopje was badly damaged, starts again to get back its old glory.
Today it contains 2150 different craft stores, a bezistene (a shopping center of commercial life, around which the whole bazaar is formed), mosques, more baths, inns (characteristic for them is the construction which was providing a good shelter for the traveling merchants, their transporting animals products they were selling). Ottoman architecture is dominating and is significant because it is the only one of this kind in Macedonia.
Today it is protected so it can not be change anything in her appearance and should not make any changes to the street network, the size of the parcels and blocks, cant built monuments nor crumbling. The purpose of this protection is to preserve the cultural, historical, ethnological, artistic value as well as its authenticity, age, diversity and uniqueness.
While you are staying at our hotel during your visit of Skopje you can take some of the organized one day sightseeing tours in Skopje.