With its earliest signs of human occupation dating to the Palaeolithic era, North Macedonia is home to a number of varied historic sites. The Persian Achaemenid Empire, Byzantine Empire, and Romans are just a few of the groups who have occupied the land, and have left their architectural and cultural imprint upon it as a result. Ruined palaces, baths, streets, and temples are just a few of the sites which are a draw for any history enthusiast. Here’s our pick of 5 sites which are well worth a look.
1. Heraklea Linkestis
Heraklea Linkestis is believed to have been founded by King Philip II of Macedon in around the fourth century BC, before being conquered by the Romans in approximately the second century BC.
Well-preserved remains of this once thriving settlement can now be seen at the site, including a theatre and baths as well as a Jewish temple and a church. One of the most celebrated aspects of Heraklea Linkestis is its series of vivid mosaics.
Stobi is one of Macedonia’s most famous archaeological sites. Once the capital of the kingdom of Paeonia, Stobi was located along a busy trade route and thrived as a commercial hub specialising in the trade of salt. Stobi reached its peak in the third or fourth century AD.
Today, the archaeological site of Stobi houses a wealth of ancient ruins, including the remains of palaces, baths, streets, temples and a second century AD theatre. Most of the ruins date back to the third century AD, although some, like the theatre, were built earlier. There are also several well-preserved vivid mosaics throughout the site as well as remnants of early Christianity, such as numerous basilicas.
3. The Skopje Aqueduct
The Skopje Aqueduct is a well preserved stone aqueduct located north of the Macedonian city of Skopje.
A large stone structure made up of fifty-five archways, the origins of Skopje Aqueduct are unclear. Whilst it is known to have existed as far back as Ottoman times, some say that it was built by the ancient Romans.
4. Tumba Madzari
Tumba Madzari is a Neolithic settlement in the north-eastern region of Skopje, in Macedonia. It is most notable for the Pre-Indo-European Great Mother statuettes which provide the proof of existence of the Cult of the Great Mother Goddess.
After several archaeological excavations on the site, a range of artefacts were discovered which indicate that ancient peoples inhabited Tumba Madzari between 6000 – 4300 BC.
5. Monastery of Saint Naum
Located 29 kilometers south of Ohrid and overlooking lake Ohrid on a plateau close to the Albanian border, the Monastery of Saint Naum is by far one of North Macedonia’s most scenic tourist attractions, and is emblematic of the area’s sites harmoniously complimenting the surrounding scenery.
The original monastery was built on the same site in 905 by Saint Naum of Ohrid, who is buried inside. Taken down between the 11th and 13th centuries, the monastery visible today was rebuilt in the 16th century as the multi-domed byzantine structure which is so popular among locals and tourists alike.