Without much in the way of bragging, Krushevo’s citizens would say, and for a fact, that their town is the highest one in the entire Balkans. At an altitude of 1250 meters, and with only 5300 people occupying it, this is the place where the mind goes wondering. Slow and uneasy when it comes to change, the town itself represents a heritage.
Surrounded by impeccable nature, and sensing the altitude even as you breathe in the air, Krushevo is like straight out of a fairytale – a nature parallel to a private resort, if you will.
As the architecture bears witness, the town is one of the oldest in the regions too. Populated somewhere around the fifteen century, by the first migration of Vlachs at the time, its isolation helps preserve scores of history as the centuries went by.
Slow and uneasy when it comes to change, the town itself represents a heritage. Streets covered with stone, houses still keeping their original architecture, monuments and churches… These all account for the culture innuendo you get the moment you lay foot in this place.
Places to visit
If there is one image by which you can guess Krushevo with certainty, it’s the monument Makedonium (image above). Representing the diligent struggle for freedom, it is a place Macedonians feel keen respect towards. It also represents the Ilinden uprising, celebrated on the second of August, when the town witnesses a transformation. Much of the state political elite gather, and the town is filled to capacity and then some.
The one monument that symbolizes the last and desperate attempts of the platton led by Pitu Guli to defend the Republic of Krushevo, the only independent area in the whole of the Othoman Republic at the time. Death or freedom, are the words carved into the stone.
Museums and churches Saint Jovan and Saint Nicola
Most of the citizens being orthodox Christians, these churches are not mere monuments to history, but rather places of particular importance during religious holidays and to people in general. Worth visiting even if you routinely decide to skip religiously related objects during travels; Destroyed in 1903, like most of the buildings, and rebuild right after, the original architecture still remains.
The house where Nicola Karev, the leader of the Ilinden Uprising and President of the Republic of Krushevo, worked and lived, is also a place to visit. Also the one museum keeping records from the Second World War period, and the other, filled with notes, books and weapons, recording the years of the Ilinden Uprising back in 1903.
Last but not least, with numerous awards for modern architecture, the memorial dedicated to Macedonia’s most renowned singer Todor Proeski, is a place that is also worth visiting.
When to visit
A winter heaven if you enjoy that type of setting, or an ideal place for walk and enjoying nature in summer and spring. This heightens still further the importance of timing when you decide to visit Krushevo. Nonetheless, a spring/summer setting is mostly recommended when you come for the first time.
Starting your day with coffee at one of the terraces, looking over the city; exploring through small streets and distinct architecture; continuing through the woods to one of the several monument sites or simply having a picnic near the lake.
Small restaurants and cafes, giving a unique feel to the place are a must visit. Don’t worry, the locals are very polite and will help you with direction and everything else really.
If you are the adventurous type, you can take up mountain biking or strap the equipment and go into something more daring like paragliding. Adventure, peace of mind, or a nicely arranged package of both – Krushevo will delight you and then some.
Things to do
Geographical location renders Krushevo a heaven for paragliding aficionados. Altitude, wind, perfect slopes and landing spots buy you a lot of enjoyment if you are after this type of thing. For all I know, paragliding events have been organized here years and years back. Like anything else in a town this small, they are quite an event.
Mountain biking, paragliding, skiing and snowboarding in the winter… These activities all seem like nature being used to its full potential. Though nature alone when it comes to enjoyment can suffice as well.
A walk through the woods, and straight to the monuments, is something both citizens and people who already visited would suggest. The lake itself is also a place where you simply have to go.
Winter sports in Krushevo
Having mentioned winter sports, a word or two about the temperature. On average, albeit it can vary quite a lot, it keeps somewhere around 22 degrees Celsius. During winter though, it can go even as low as minus 30. Altitude and temperature combined, snow covers Krushevo for around 40-something days per year.
And we are talking above one meter of snow most of the time. As you would guess, this means heaven for winter sports enthusiasts. And while skiing and snowboarding are in full swing during season, the night slalom is, according to locals, a bird of another feather.