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Location - South east Europe; Capital - Skopje; Population - 2.1 million; Currency - North Macedonian Denar

I took a flight to Kosovo's Pristina airport followed by a taxi (with friendly Potrcko taxis) for the 1.5hr drive to Skopje, capital of North Macedonia - September/October 2017.

Friction exists between North Macedonia and neighbouring Greece. A large number of Greeks identify themselves as Macedonians but do not relate to the ethnic Slavs of Macedonia. Some institutions refer to North Macedonia as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in order to distinguish it from the Greek region of Macedonia. Update: In June 2018 both sides agreed on the name Republic of North Macedonia, ratified by both countries in early 2019.


macedonianote200 North Macedonian Denars











macedonia107Lake Matka was my first port of call in North Macedonia, a few kms outside Skopje and an easy half-day trip


macedonia106The lake is a product of the damming of the Treska River, with pathways and trails hugging its edge - Lake Matka


macedonia115A hotel-restaurant welcomes visitors near the entrance, and boat trips are available - Lake Matka














macedonia116Its proximity to Skopje means it gets busy at weekends so come early for peace and quiet - Lake Matka














macedonia91The capital forms the backdrop for the cable cars up Mt Vodno - Skopje


macedonia87At the top is a whopping cross, the 66m high Millenium Cross which, unsurprisingly, you can see from most of Skopje


macedonia92aThere's great views of Skopje from Vodno - middle left is the fortress, while in front of it and along the middle of the picture are buildings lining the Vardar River













macedonia100Further down the slopes of Vodno is the 12th century St Pantelejmon Church where you can see its ancient frescoes - Skopje















macedonia6The streets of Skopje


macedonia8The Macedonia Port is a triumphal arch flanked by two huge statues of notables (no idea who they are!) - Skopje


macedonia12Between the arch and Macedonia Square is a plaque indicating the site where Anjeze Gonxhe Bojaxhiu - better known as Mother Theresa - was born - Skopje















macedonia14And close by is the Memorial House of Mother Theresa. Mother Theresa was an Albanian Catholic nun, famous for dedicating her life to the underprivileged, principally through her orphanage in Calcutta - Skopje













macedonia20There's an unbelievable amount of sculptures in Skopje, a product of the hugely expensive and controversial project called Skopje 2014. I fully expect one of myself in the next six months..


macedonia33The tourist centre is based around Macedonia Square, with a monument to Alexander the Great known as Warrior on a Horse at its centre. The Millenium Cross is just about visible at the top of Mt Vodno - Skopje


macedonia29Plenty of water features and fountains accompany the multitude of sculptures - Skopje



















macedonia36A cool place for a drink and bite to eat on the square is this bar, which brews its own fine quality beers on site - Skopje














macedonia61Statues of various Macedonian artists, writers and inventors among others line a pedestrian bridge. Can't see one of me yet. Out of view are several lively bars overlooking the river - Skopje














macedonia60There's a couple of ships on the river, this one being a restaurant - Skopje


macedonia38From Macedonia Square take the Ottoman-era Stone Bridge across the Vardar River to the old quarter. The (not very old) building is the Archaeological Museum - Skopje


macedonia47Before you reach the old town there's a Holocaust Museum, closed for renovation when I was there. Opposite the centre is the Museum of the Macedonian Struggle, covering the history of the country's independence - Skopje













macedonia52Gimme another statue! And a fountain of course - Skopje















macedonia78The Carsija is the old quarter, a series of cobbled streets populated by shops, cafes, restaurants, churches and mosques - Skopje


macedonia77Some Carsija streets are quiet whereas those near its entrance are busy with alfresco dining - Skopje


macedonia80 In the grounds of the Sveti Spas Church is the tomb of national hero Goce Delcev, leader of a revolutionary movement who died in 1903 - Skopje














macedonia76Mustafa Pasha Mosque dates back to the Ottoman era - Skopje
















macedonia83Back on the new side of town is the very modern St Clement of Ohrid Orthodox Church - Skopje


macedonia2A mural of 87 Komiti near the train station. 87 Komiti are a group of hardline supporters of Vardar football club - Skopje


macedonia131At the weekend the lakeside restaurants are packed all day at Lake Ohrid's largest settlement - Ohrid













macedonia220It's a beautiful lake, the best reason to visit North Macedonia - Ohrid
















macedonia148About two-thirds of Lake Ohrid is in North Macedonia with the rest falling in Albania to the south/south west - Ohrid


macedonia150Fishing boats off the coast at Ohrid


macedonia155A view of the old town from the harbour - Ohrid















macedonia153Walking the pier at sunset - Ohrid















macedonia168The second century amphitheatre is now used for outdoor performances - Ohrid


macedonia171A bit of a mouthful, the 13th century Sveta Bogorodica Perivlepta Church lies near the old town's Upper Gate. Most of these old churches in Noerth Macedonia have equally old frescoes in varying states of repair - Ohrid


macedonia173Take in a decent view of Car Samoil's Castle and the old town from the church - Ohrid















macedonia178Climbing the walls of the 10th century Car Samoil's Castle, also known as Samuel's Frotress - Ohrid














macedonia181The castle rises above the whole town - the brown roofs of the old town lead down to the lakeside promenade and the new part of town further on - Ohrid


macedonia185The building on the right is the 5th century Church of Sveti Kliment i Pantelejmon - Ohrid


macedonia188Lone boat in shimmering waters.. A common thread if you've seen some of my other pages - Ohrid














macedonia196Walking the trail to Sveti Jovan at Kaneo Church - Ohrid















macedonia212If you're not at the harbour then the place to be for sunset is the 13th century Sveti Jovan at Kaneo Church - Ohrid


macedonia211It's got a superb setting on a small promontory jutting into the lake - Ohrid


macedonia210This is the Lake Ohrid money shot, looking down on Sveti Jovan at Kaneo Church and the lake at sunset. Beautiful! Ohrid














macedonia218A small garden area surrounds the church - Ohrid















macedonia219One of my favourites, a gorgeous sunset over the lake complete with the Sveti Jovan at Kaneo Church - Ohrid


macedonia213Tourist boats take visitors on sunset cruises of the bay - Ohrid


macedonia230The slightly rickety pedestrian bridge from the old town to Potpesh Beach and onwards to the church - Ohrid














macedonia227Lakeside dining at Potpesh Beach - Ohrid















macedonia234A worthy - and popular - trip is a boat ride to Sveti Naum on the southern side of the lake. Here the boat is ready to depart the harbour - Ohrid


macedonia241 The village of Elsani stands above the lakeside resort of Pestani - Lake Ohrid













macedonia246Relaxing on the boat to Sveti Naum - Lake Ohrid














macedonia248You'll also pass the Bay of Bones Museum en route to Sveti Naum. Also known as the Museum on Water, it's a reconstruction of a settlement that lived on stilts above the water between 1200 and 700BC


macedonia251I think this is the fishing village of Trpejca, shortly before arriving in Sveti Naum. Contact me if you know - Lake Ohrid


macedonia277Arriving at Sveti Naum, next to the Albanian border, after a 2.5hr boat ride














macedonia278Mt Galicica and the sandy beach at Sveti Naum















macedonia259Several locals were doing a spot of fishing at the harbour - Sveti Naum


macedonia266Sveti Naum Monastery was originally built in the 10th century, then expanded over the centuries - Sveti Naum


macedonia268Panoramic views of the lake and Mt Galicica from the monastery - Sveti Naum














macedonia273Spring water feeds the monastery and surrounds a restaurant nearby - Sveti Naum














macedonia282Another great sunset over Lake Ohrid


macedonia287On the way to the border with Albania I noticed what I thought was an Albanian bunker just in North Macedonian territory, but the taxi driver said it's one of Mussolini's built by the Italians - Sveti Naum



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