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Krusevo, the highest town in all of Macedonia. Loved by skiers in the winter, hikers in the summer and coffee drinkers all year round. This quaint hilltop town is famously known for its blue window trimmings, its 19th century Macedonian architecture and as the site of the great 1903 Ilinden uprising.
The Village of Krusevo
A more bountiful village you couldn’t find with fruit trees dripping with ripeness and growing wild everywhere you look. We ate breakfast while sightseeing, picking little orange wild plums, big purple plums, blackberries, and figs.
The valley below is tobacco country with field upon field of the white flowers of tobacco plants. Throughout the villages are drying racks, filled to the brim with tobacco leaves slowly turning from green to yellow to brown. Clearly, these locals have no issues with theft as the drying racks are left on display everywhere.
Macedonia’s love of outlandish monuments has not bypassed this ancient village. Built on the highest area in the town sits the enormous Makedonium monument, dedicated to the Ilinden Uprising against Ottoman domination. The rebellion did not succeed, but the uprising is still seen as a symbol of the national struggle for freedom and democracy.
Also up on the hill and winning awards for modern architecture, is the Memorial house for Tose Proeski, Macedonia’s best pop singer, and a Krusevo native. In the nearby cemetery, his grave is adorned with framed photos, posters, teddy bears, plastic flowers and many religious figurines, no doubt placed by adoring fans.
Other places of interest are St. Nikoli Church in the Old Bazaar, St. Jovan, the Monastery of Sv. Preobrazhenie, Meckin Kamen monument symbolizing the last and desperate attempts to defend the Republic of Krushevo, Nikola Martinoski Museum which houses paintings and drawings of the famous Macedonian artist.
A Day in Krushevo
We wild camped on the hill next to the Makedonium monument, so began our day up there, then wandered down to the cemetery and on to Tose Proeski’s house.
We continued downwards, strolling the mainly cobbled streets of the town while nibbling on the lowest hanging fruit. Our wanderings led us past St Jovan, where a man clip-clopped past on a donkey. The views over the red roofs of the town from so high up were amazing. The huge Macedonian flag towering above the Old Bazaar could be seen from every place in the village. We passed the ski chairlifts, now quietly creaking in the breeze. The temperature up here was much cooler and the pine-scented air was crisp and refreshing. No wonder people escaped up here during the hot summer days.
From high up, we could hear a loud buzzing, like the hugest swarm of bees on steroids. Listening more closely we realised it was the steady hum of many people chatting at the coffee shops in the Old Bazaar below. We had barely seen another soul on our walk, so headed to the town center to see what was happening. And what a buzzing place it was! The back to back coffee shops had barely an empty seat, kids were playing hide and seek and there were dogs everywhere.
As usual in the Balkans, most of the cafes only served drinks so it took a while to find a place that served food. We found a table and settled in for a little bit of people watching. I do often wonder where the women are, as the cafes are full of men drinking coffee and chatting, but very few women are ever present.
The town of Krusevo is like a ghost town on the outskirts, but vibrant, bustling and full of life in the center.
Where to Eat
In the town centre, right next to St. Nikoli Church, is SCAR Restaurant.
Higher up, close to the Tose Proeski Memorial House, was a fabulous traditional Macedonian restaurant, Крушевска одаја. The interior was decorated with traditional Macedonian costumes and the food was excellent!
Wind your way up through the narrow roads of this hillside village, until you reach this huge flat parking lot right on the top of the hill. There was a public toilet you could use for 20 Dinar. No other facilities.
Google will try and make you turn right up a cobbled street. Don’t, as it’s seriously steep! Just continue on the windy road and you will end up in the parking lot.
A gentle stroll down the road and you’ll be in the center of town.
GPS: 41.37477, 21.24722
Have you been to Krusevo? What was your favourite thing to do here? I’d love to hear from you!