Monasteries in North Macedonia

Monastery of Saint Naum

The Monastery of Saint Naum is an Eastern Orthodox monastery situated along Lake Ohrid. The Lake Ohrid area, including St Naum, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in North Macedonia. The monastery was established in the Bulgarian Empire in 905 by St Naum of Ohrid himself. St Naum is also buried in the church. Since the 16th century, a Greek school had functioned in the monastery. The area where the monaster ...
Founded: 905 AD | Location: Ohrid, North Macedonia

Lesnovo Monastery

Lesnovo monastery is perhaps the best preserved endowment of a Serbian noble of the 14th century, with well-preserved frescoes. It is located on the south-west slopes of Mt Osogovo, in the middle of a volcanic crater.  The monastery is located in a secluded region which was popular with hermits of the 11th century. One of them, St Gabriel of Lesnovo, lived in the local caves and died there as well. Very little is known ...
Founded: 1341 | Location: Probištip, North Macedonia

Zrze Monastery

Zrze Monastery is located near the village Zrze, approx. 25km north-west of Prilep. The numerous remnants of the ancient period-pillars, basilica remains, and other exponents speak of the rich cultural tradition, of this area. Traditionally the monks lived in carved out stone hollows, from the mountain side cliffs. This is believed to date back to the 3rd and 4th century. Today, Zrze monastery complex consists of the chu ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Prilep, North Macedonia

Treskavec Monastery

The Monastery of Treskavec is situated on the rocky Mount Zlatovrv, 8 km north of Prilep. Built in the 12th century, it currently has only one monk. The monastery possesses a large collection of Byzantine frescoes. The oldest remaining date from the 15th century. It was rebuilt in the 14th century by Serbian kings Stefan Milutin and Stefan Dušan. In the mid-16th century it was renovated by knez Dimitrije Pepić (d. 156 ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Prilep, North Macedonia

Osogovo Monastery

Osogovo Monastery is a Macedonian Orthodox monastery located near Kriva Palanka, North Macedonia, 10 kilometres from the Bulgarian border. The monastery consists of two churches including the larger 'Saint Joachim of Osogovo' and the smaller 'Holy Mother of God.' The monastery grounds also consist of a bell tower, dormitories, a guardhouse, and a residency for the Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kriva Palanka, North Macedonia

Saint Jovan Bigorski Monastery

The Monastery of Saint Jovan Bigorski is dedicated to St. John the Baptist. One of its most valuable treasures is the iconostasis, created by Petre Filipovski, and considered one of the finest examples of wood-carved iconostases. According to its 1833 chronicle, the monastery was built in 1020 by Ivan I Debranin. The Ottomans destroyed the monastery in the 16th century, but it was restored in 1743 by the monk Ilarion, ...
Founded: 1020 | Location: Mavrovo and Rostuša, North Macedonia

Psača Monastery

Psača Monastery is an Orthodox Christian Monastery in the village of Psača, North Macedonia. It was built by Savastokrator Vlatko and his father Duke Paskač around 1354. The monastery, dedicated to St Nicholas the Wonderworker, lies at the end of the village of Psača, 3 km from the Kumanovo – Kriva Palanka Road, in Rankovce Municipality. It belongs to the diocese of Osogovo-Kumanovo of the Macedon ...
Founded: 1354 | Location: Rankovce, North Macedonia

Marko's Monastery

Marko"s Monastery is located in the village of Markova Sušica. The monastery bears the name of Serbian Prince Marko who reigned at the time of its completion. Marko"s Monastery has been active since its establishment. Construction of the Church of Saint Demetrius began under King Vukašin in 1346. The church, including the interior paintings, were completed 30 years later. Before Ottoman rule, the monastery ha ...
Founded: 1346 | Location: Studeničani, North Macedonia

Karpino Monastery

The Karpino Monastery is an important Macedonian Orthodox monastery situated near village Suvi Orah. The main monastery church is dedicated to Presentation of Virgin Mary, it was built of crafted stone in the shape of single nave basilica with apse in form of triconhos, from the 16th – 17th century. The church itself was according to myth erected in the 14th century by Dejan. The monastery and church has been burnt and ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Kumanovo, North Macedonia

Kičevo Monastery

The Monastery of Immaculate Mother of God is a Macedonian Orthodox monastery situated near the city of Kicevo, North Macedonia. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, Mother of God. It was founded before the middle of the 16th century and in the 1570s a stone church was built on the site of the present church. In 1843, the monastery was burnt down by Albanians from Debar, but the church remained standing. The church ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Kičevo, North Macedonia

Marko's Monastery

Marko"s Monastery bears the name of Serbian Prince Marko who reigned at the time of its completion. Marko"s Monastery has been active since its establishment. Construction of the Church of Saint Demetrius began under King Vukašin in 1346. The church, including the interior paintings, were completed 30 years later. Before Ottoman rule, the monastery had a school and many monks and priests would write manuscript ...
Founded: 1346 | Location: Studeničani, North Macedonia

Matejče Monastery

The Monastery of the Most Holy Mother of God, commonly known as Matejče, is a 14th-century Serbian Orthodox monastery located in the village of Matejče on the slopes of Skopska Crna Gora. The monastery was built in the 14th century on the ruins of an older, Byzantine Greek church built in 1057–59, evident in preserved Greek inscriptions. It was mentioned for the first time in 1300 in a chrysobull of Serbian king Stef ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kumanovo, North Macedonia

Polog Monastery

On the shore of the Tikves lake (very close to Pravednik village) is the Monastery Polog and the church St. George, a significant monument of culture from 14th century richly decorated with frescoes. Built in the first half of 14th century, in the foothills of Mount Visesnica, nowadays it is on the left bank of Tikves Lake. It is assumed that it dates back to 9th century because the architectural style is very similar to ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Kavadarci, North Macedonia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.