Top historic sites in North Macedonia

Skopje Stone Bridge

The current Stone Bridge in Skopje across the Vardar River was built on Roman foundations under the patronage of Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror between 1451 and 1469. Most of the bridge originates from the Ottoman period and throughout the centuries, the Stone Bridge was often damaged and then repaired. There is historical evidence that it once suffered during the great earthquake of 1555 which heavily damaged or destroye ...
Founded: 1451-1469 | Location: Skopje, North Macedonia

Ohrid

Situated on the shores of the lake, the town of Ohrid is one of the oldest human settlements in Europe. Built mainly between the 7th and 19th centuries, it has the oldest Slav monastery (St Pantelejmon) and more than 800 Byzantine-style icons dating from the 11th to the end of the 14th century. In the shallow waters near the shores of the lake, three sites testify to the presence of prehistoric pile dwellings, and the sma ...
Founded: 7th century AD | Location: Ohrid, North Macedonia

Greek Theatre of Ohrid

The Ancient theatre of Ohrid from the Hellenistic period was built in 200 BC and is the only Hellenistic-type theatre in the North Macedonia. It is unclear how many people the original theater used to seat, as only the lower section still exists. The open theater has a perfect location: the two hills that surround it keep it protected from winds that could interfere with acoustics during performances. During Roman times, ...
Founded: 200 BCE | Location: Ohrid, North Macedonia

Church of St. John at Kaneo

Saint John the Theologian is a Macedonian Orthodox church situated on the cliff over Kaneo Beach overlooking Lake Ohrid in the city of Ohrid. The church is dedicated to John of Patmos, the writer of Revelation, who has been by some considered to be the same person as John the Apostle. The construction date of the church remains unknown but documents detailing the church property suggest that it was built before the year 1 ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ohrid, North Macedonia

Church of Saint Sophia

The Church of Saint Sophia in Ohrid is one of the most important monuments of North Macedonia, housing architecture and art from the Middle Ages. The current church was built on the foundations of a metropolitan cathedral demolished in the first decade of the 6th century by the Barbarian invasions. The next church was built during the First Bulgarian Empire, after the official conversion to Christianity. Some sources d ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Ohrid, North Macedonia

Old Bazaar

As one of the oldest and largest marketplaces in the Balkans, Old Bazaar has been Skopje"s centre for trade and commerce since at least the 12th century. The earliest known sources that describe the existence of a merchant quarter on the bazaar"s territory date back to the 12th century. During Ottoman rule of Skopje, the Old Bazaar developed rapidly to become city"s main centre of commerce. The Ottoman his ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Skopje, North Macedonia

Skopje Fortress

The Skopje Fortress, commonly referred to as Kale, is situated on the highest point in the city overlooking the Vardar River. The fortress is depicted on the coat of arms of Skopje, which in turn is incorporated in the city"s flag. The first fortress was built in 6th century AD on a land that was inhabited during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages (roughly 4000 BC onwards). It was constructed with yellow limestone  ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Skopje, North Macedonia

Plaosnik

Plaošnik is an archaeological site and holy place in Ohrid. The church was built by St. Clement in the year 893 on the foundation of an early Christian basilica, and dedicated to St. Panteleimon. It was here that the Ohrid Literary School, a center of Slavonic literary and cultural activity where more than 3,500 disciples were educated. St. Clement was buried in this church, in the tomb which was built by his own h ...
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Ohrid, North Macedonia

Samuel's Fortress

Samuel"s Fortress in the old town of Ohrid was built during the rule of Tsar at the turn of the 11th century. Today, 18 towers and four gates still remain from the original structure. With its strategic location overlooking the town and the lake, it provides an ideal place for taking in the whole panorama of Ohrid and its surroundings. It was heavily restored in 2003 with the addition of entirely new battlements wher ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Ohrid, North Macedonia

Stobi

Stobi was an ancient town of Paeonia located near Gradsko. It is considered by many to be the most famous archaeological site in North Macedonia. Stobi was built where the Erigon (Crna River) joins the Axios (Vardar), making it strategically important as a center for both trade and warfare. Stobi developed from a Paeonian settlement established in the Archaic period. It is believed that in 217 BCE, Philip V annexed Paio ...
Founded: 3rd century BCE | Location: Gradsko, North Macedonia

Heraclea Lyncestis

Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built. Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was ...
Founded: c. 350 BCE | Location: Bitola, North Macedonia

Kokino

Kokino is a Bronze Age archaeological approximately 30 km from the town of Kumanovo. The wider Kokino archaeological site covers about 30 hectares. The oldest archaeological finds date from about the 19th century BC, corresponding to the early European Bronze Age. It shows signs of occupation for the period from the 19th to the 7th centuries BC. Finds from the Middle Bronze Age (c. 16th to 14th centuries BC) are the most ...
Founded: 1900-1800 BCE | Location: Kumanovo, North Macedonia

Scupi

Scupi is an archaeological site where a Roman military camp was founded in the second century BC on the site of an older Dardanian settlement. It became later Colonia Flavia Aelia Scupi and many veteran legionnaires were settled there. A Roman town was founded in the time of Domitian (AD 81–96) and Scupi became the chief center for romanizing Dardania. Scupi was ravaged several times by barbarians, in AD 269 by the Go ...
Founded: 168 BCE | Location: Skopje, North Macedonia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trinity Sergius Lavra

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.

The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.

Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.

In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.

The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.

In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by  Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.

After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.

In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.

Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.

In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.

In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.