“Without trying to brag, Krushevo’s citizens like to point out that their town is the highest in the entire Balkans. At a height of 1250 meters, and with only 5300 people occupying it, this is a place where the mind can wander.
Surrounded by impeccable nature and incredible altitude, Krushevo is straight out of a fairy tale – a countryside parallel to that of a private resort, if you will.
As the architecture bears witness, the town is one of the oldest in the region. Settled somewhere around the fifteen century by the first migration of Vlachs at the time, its isolation helped preserve scores of history as centuries flew by.
Slow and uneasy when it comes to change, the town represents a storied heritage. Streets covered with stone, houses erected in their original architecture, monuments and churches spanning centuries. These all account for the cultural ambience you feel the moment you step foot here.
Makedonium (also known as Ilinden Uprising)
If there is one image indubitably associated with Krusevo, it’s the monument Makedonium. Representing the relentless struggle for freedom, it is a place Macedonians feel keen respect towards. It represents the Ilinden uprising, an event celebrated on the second day of August, whereupon the town witnesses a transformation. Much of the state political elite gather, and the town is filled to capacity and then some by the various visitors.
Meckin Kamen is the monument that symbolizes the last and desperate attempts of the platoon led by Pitu Guli to defend the Republic of Krushevo. The republic was the only independent area in the whole of the Ottoman Empire at the time. Carved into the stone are the words “Death or Freedom".
Museums and churches Saint Jovan and Saint Nicola
As most citizens of Krusevo are Orthodox Christians, these churches are not just mere monuments to history, but rather places of particular importance during religious holidays as well as in general. They’re worth visiting even if you routinely decide to skip religiously related objects when you travel. Despite the fact that they were destroyed in 1903, like most other buildings in Krushevo, the churches were rebuilt with the original architectural style intact.
The house where Nicola Karev, leader of the Ilinden Uprising and President of the Republic of Krushevo, worked and lived is also an interesting place to visit. Furthermore there is a museum with records from the Second World War, and another filled with notes, books and weapons which detail the years of the Ilinden Uprising back in 1903.
Last but certainly not least, the memorial dedicated to Macedonia’s most renowned singer Todor Proeski, which won numerous awards for modern architecture, is a site well worth seeing. It details his life & life’s work, providing ample opportunity to delve into the legendary singer’s story.
When to visit
A winter heaven for those that enjoy it, or an idyllic paradise for walking and enjoying nature during summer and spring. This dichotomy heightens the importance of timing when planning to visit Krushevo. Nonetheless, spring and summer are generally considered the best for a first time visit.
Start your day with coffee at one of the terraces, looking over the city; explore through small streets and distinct architecture; continue through the woods to one of the several monument sites or simply have a picnic near the lake.
Small restaurants and cafes which provide that unique feel to the town are a must-see. Don’t worry, the locals are very polite and will help with directions or anything else you need.
If you are the adventurous type, you can take up mountain biking or strap up and do something more daring like paragliding. Adventure, peace of mind, or a well mixed arrangement of both – Krushevo provides delights for a wide array of tourists.
Things to do
Geographical location renders Krushevo a heaven for paragliding aficionados. Altitude, wind, perfect slopes and landing spots provide a lot of joy for those interested. As far as I know, paragliding activities have been organized here for years and years. Like anything else in a town of this size, it’s quite an event.
Mountain biking and paragliding in the summer, skiing and snowboarding in the winter - These activities all feel like nature being used to its full potential. However, the beautiful countryside can suffice as enjoyment all on its own.
A walk through the woods and straight to the monuments is something both citizens and people who have already visited would suggest. Furthermore, the lake itself is a place where you simply must visit.
Winter sports in Krushevo
Having now mentioned winter sports, let’s have a word or two about the temperature. On average it keeps somewhere around 22 degrees Celsius, albeit with a fair bit of daily variation. During winter though, it can go even as low as minus 30. Altitude and temperature combined, snow covers Krushevo for about 40 days a year.
And we are talking above one meter of snow most of the time. As you might guess, winter sports enthusiasts revel in this. And while skiing and snowboarding are in full swing during season, the night slalom is, according to locals, a bird of another feather.