On the subject of Macedonia, most people think of Alexander the Great whose empire stretched as far as India. Even though this was over 2,300 years ago, a delegation from Hunsa, a remote province in north Pakistan where Macedonian descendants live, recently visited the country of their ancestors. The delegation, led by Mir Gansafer Ali Khan, was greatly impressed by the historic sites such as Heraklea near Bitola and Ohrid where their ancestors originated, by the similarities in their customs and, last but not least, by the warm hospitality they received throughout all of Macedonia.
Today there are still numerous excellent testimonies to Macedonia's importance in the Neolithic Age (10000 – 3200 B.C.), the Bronze Age (3200 – 1200 B.C.), the Macedonian Dynasty with Philipp II and his son Alexander the Great (800 – 168 B.C.), the Roman era (150 B.C. – 400 A.D.), the Byzantine era (400 – 1400) and Ottomann period (1400 – 1900).
But Macedonia is also the present day, as shown by three important events which took place over the last few years. Ohrid, the country's cultural and tourism centre hosted the NATO Forum in June 2007, a convention of the world's religious leaders in October 2007 and a summit attended by 18 European presidents in May 2008.
Proof of Ohrid's cultural significance is the annual Ohrid Summer Festival which was ceremonially opened last year by the Macedonian President on July 19th in the ancient theatre in the Old Town. Star of the opening concert was the American opera diva Jessie Norman. The festival lasts until August 20th. Numerous events with over 3,000 spectators take place in the theatre and on various stages against the historical backdrop of the old quarter.
Macedonia's landscape and nature surrounding unique ancient sites such as the fortress in the Pesna Cave or the numerous monasteries is truly fascinating. Archaeologists maintain that there are still countless treasures to be discovered. Thus it is no surprise that extensive digs take place every summer such as in 2007 in the Kale Fort in Skopje or in 2008 the restoration of St. Clement University in Ohrid – Europe's first Slavic university, founded in the 10th century.
A picture of Macedonia is incomplete without mention of the typical cuisine, local wines and rakia and, of course, the ever present warm hospitality.
So, as you can see, there are many reasons to get to know Macedonia personally – either with a bus tour directly from your own country or with a small or larger tour group arriving by air. The agencies linked to this site will be happy to advise you and to take care of your needs when in Macedonia.
ORF TV-Show "Besser Reisen - Mazedonien" (German)
Travel ideas Macedonia