The Highest Town on the Balkan

There are some places where no matter of the technological development you can still see and feel the tradition. People are living in a modern way on one side and adapting to the nature on the other.

Lying on the western side of the mountain edge, spread in amphitheatrical shape, the small mountain town Krusevo is waiting to be discovered. It’s a living museum famous for its traditional architecture, history and natural beauties. Located on average 1300 meters (4400 feet) above sea level makes it the highest town on the Balkan Peninsula.

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Тhe town is mentioned in documents from the 15th century for the first time,  and the most important is the period of the great 1903 Ilinden uprising against Ottoman domination. The rebellion failed, but its memory is cherished in Macedonia even today, as a symbol of the national struggle for freedom and democracy. That was the first republic on the Balkan. Although it lasted only 10 days, the Krusevo Republic represented a desire for self-rule under a modern European political system. Today an enormous monument on the hill above Krusevo marks the unrealized dream of the Ilinden revolutionaries.

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The Museum of Ilinden Uprising and the Krusevo Republic is located in an old house built in the XIX century, the same house in which the Krusevo Republic was proclaimed. Another museum you can visit when in this high city is the Museum of National Liberation War with an exhibition about Macedonian liberation struggle in the period 1941-1945. Another curiosity is the Bullet Foundry and sees how the bullets were made in the period of Ilinden uprising.

Krusevo was, as well, the hometown of one of the most famous Macedonian pop-singer Tose Proeski (1981-2007). He was the Macedonian Elvis Presley who unfortunately died very young in a car accident. His songs keep the memory of him alive, while the Memorial house at the periphery of the city is a reminder of his greatness both as a charitable person and a singer.

muzej na Tose Proeski, Krusevo

Because of the high altitude and big amount of snow rains Krushevo becomes an interesting tourist destination in winter. There are ski grounds whose vicinity to the city make this destination fun for experienced skiers and families with children alike. The ski lift will take to the ski slopes in five minutes. For those who don’t like ski lifts a compromise can be achieved by walking to the top of the hill through a pine tree trails or a (bit longer) paved one. If you feel adventurous you can go up with the ski lift and come back walking, or skiing, or sliding on a sled.

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The town is small with a population of approximately 6000 and the people are very nice and welcoming. You can feel that, especially in winter when the town is covered with snow. It happened to me this winter, we were stuck with the car in one of the small iced streets, then people from surrounding houses came out with shovels to help us. That yellow car in the slideshow is not moving until the spring 😉 .

 

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If you want to overnight in the town there are few hotels and villas that offer rooms and apartments. Some of the villas are old renovated houses, like the green housе on the slideshow. Always warm and pleasant inside. There are mostly pizza restaurants that beside Italian food, which is very good, offer some traditional dishes. The prices are very, very cheap. Everywhere you can ask for free WIFI.

A perfect pine-forest getaway is surrounding the city, which makes it a comfortable destination in summer where the air is cooler and purer than in the arid lowlands. For the lovers of paragliding, this is one of the best destinations in Macedonia. You can enjoy in spectacular views of the town and the surrounding from the sky.

While you are in Krusevo if you like you can visit Meckin Kamen by hiking or by car (a monument built in honor of the Aromanian rebel, Pitu Guli, who fought bravely for the town and died in the battle with the Ottoman Turks after they entered the surroundings of the town).

meckin kamen

Krusevo is a kind of place that is nice to be visited at every time of the year. Skiing in winter, hiking and paragliding in summer. Many tourists are visiting Krusevo throughout the year, mostly Macedonians in winter time, other tourists in other periods.

This small town is really special, tourism is developing, and yet the people have kept the tradition and spirit of the past. It is worth to be visited, I’m sure you will like it.

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20 thoughts on “The Highest Town on the Balkan

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