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Macedonia - Cultural Tourism - Antic Period

Trebenishta - near Ohrid. The discovery of the treasures of Trebenishta, a village located on the road from Ohrid to Kicevo, was like something out of a movie: ancient graves loaded with gold and silver, burial gifts fit for a king. The site was discovered in 1918, and the treasures of seven of the graves were removed by Bulgarian soldiers to Sofia, where they can now be seen in the National Museum. Some of the more recent discoveries are in the National Museum of Ohrid and the National Museum in Belgrade. When discovered, Trebenista’s graves contained hundreds of gold, silver, and bronze vessels and jewelry, many of which had been imported from Greece along with a number of terracotta vessels decorated in Attic black-figure style. It remains today one of the most important archaeological findings in Macedonia, and a vivid reminder of the style and sophistication of past cultures.



The archaeological site of the antique Roman city of Skupi is located 3 km (1.8 m) north of Skopje, near the villages of Bardovci and Zlokukjani. First mentioned in the year 3 B.C and founded by the Dardanians, it quickly developed into an important regional center when the Romans made it the capital of their Dardanian Province.
A few centuries later, with the creation of a Christian episcopacy, the economical and cultural importance of Skupi grew yet again. A disastrous earthquake in 518 A.D destroyed the city, but a bit later a new town was built on top of the rubble, named Justiniana Prima after its founder, the famous Byzantine emperor Justinian.



Lying in a fertile valley just a few minutes off the central north-south highway that connects Macedonia with Greece, the ancient city of Stobi was a vital trade route in its days. This crossroad of ancient civilizations has left a rich legacy of antique theaters, palace ruins,brightly-colored mosaics and religious relics for visitors to enjoy today.
The city of Stobi is first mentioned in documents from the 2nd century B.C. However, archaeologists believe that the town had been inhabited at least 400 years earlier. Stobi became a rich and prosperous city due to its location on the crossroads of important trade routes. It experienced its highest prosperity in the 3rd and 4th century A.D.
This archaeological site (located just 3 km or 1.8 miles from the Gradsko exit on Highway E-75) offers sweeping views of the central Macedonian plain and contains edifices such as the 2nd century amphitheatre, the Theodosia palace and early Christian ruins with extensive and ornate mosaic floors.



Nearby city of Bitola above mountain Baba and river Siva Voda on the west side is located antic city Heraklea Lincestis. It is a city that has its beginnings from 4th century. This city was established by Filip II Makedonski, so that in that period it was army-strategic center of northwest border – Linkesida, where today is Bitola field.
Reminds that were discovered are proof that this city was re-built, destroyed and built again, according to the archeological discovery since it was built in late in bronze epoch and after that in Hellenic epoch, then in Rome till visant epoch, this city was with high level of civilization. In period of second century Macedonia became roman province and in that time Heraklea becomes important economic-political center with own army.
Reminds that were discovered testified that in that period there existed court room and theater so that was a proof that each built from that period left their own stamp of time where it existed. On the bottom of Heraklea, objects like mosaics which were master piece from 5th and 6th century, can be found. Special interest for the tourists is Episcopalian Residency that has trapeze form that is mark from the antic tradition. All floors here were painted with mosaics and pictures of animals and different plants.
Heraklea is a city that had so many changes in different stages of the time so that today this place offers breath taking feeling for everyone who visits it.


Antic Theater – Ohrid

The Antic Theater of Ohrid is an ancient Greek theater of the Hellenistic period, built probably around 200 BC. It is the only Hellenistic theater in the country. Unlike the similar structures, it was built within the housing area. The theater was used for theatrical performances, and after the Roman conquest of the town, for gladiator games.
The theater was discovered in 1935 by the Serbian archeologist Nikola Vulic. The excavations were continued between 1959 and 1962 by the Ohrid archeologist Vasil Lahtov, and in 1977 and 1984, by the archeologist Vlado Malenko. The Ancient Theater was completely excavated in 2005. The size and the capacity of the original structure of the theater are uncertain because only the lower section is preserved.
The Ancient Theater is located very near Gorna porta – the Upper Gate. Since 2001, it has been hosting many various stage events.


Isar – Marvinci

The original and valuable cultural heritage at the archaeological site Isar at the village of Marvinci in the Valandovo region has always been attractive for research. The archaeological investigations funded by the Government of the Republic of Macedonia as a capital project in 2008, and especially in 2009, confirmed and affirmed these perceptions of the Isar site and made it possible to get a new understanding of the Fort. The investigations were focused on the Isar necropolises and, in line with the plan, the investigations were performed at three points: the southwest necropolis (a necropolis from the late 6th to the 2nd century BC, the Roman necropolis (2nd – 4th century BC) and the Prehistoric necropolis at Lisichin Dol (8th - 5th century BC).
The investigations have led to the discovery of 1800 previously unknown graves in all of the sectors of the necropolis.
The investigations have provided information about funerals from the times of the Early Iron Age to the period of the Roman rule on our territory.
Here I would dwell on one category of findings in particular – jewelry; particularly the golden jewelry, as a testimony to the superior artist and craftsmanship of those inhabitants of the Isar.
Chronologically, the jewelry dates back to the period between the 4th and the 2nd century BC.



The archaeological site of Bargala was fortified town, existed from the Late Classical to the Early Byzantine period. It is situated in the Eastern part of the Republic of Macedonia, near the city of Shtip. In the 5th and 6th century Bargala was developed as an economical, cultural and religious center.
According to the Roman inscription on a stone plate, the city of Bargala is dating from 371-372. Previously it was a small Paeonian settlement. In the Early Middle Ages it became the Episcopal seat. Up to date many remains have been discovered such as: the Episcopal complex (basilica and residential palace) with floor mosaics, a small market, the main entrance “dipylon”, parts of its fortification system etc.


Vardar Hill

The archaeological site of Vardarski Rid is composed of six layers of different settlements, dating back to the period between the 13th and the 1st century BC. There are also indications of a Neolithic settlement (4500 BC) with organized social structure. Until now, study of the stratifications demonstrates the presence of the following cultural periods:
Vardar Rid I, (5th - 4th millennium)
Vardar Rid II, (13th - 11thcentury BC)
Vardar Rid III, (10th – 9th century BC)
Vardar Rid IV, (7th– 6th century BC)
Vardar Rid V, (5th – 4th century BC)
Vardar Rid VI,(3rd – 1st century BC)
The dimensions and the character of the site varied throughout the centuries according to the historic, economic, social and cultural context. The evidence of these changes can be seen in the layout and the perimeter of the six settlements. In Prehistoric times, more specifically during the Iron Age (8th –6th century BC), Vardar hill was the central settlement of the Paionians. This was confirmed by the numerous remains, excavated in the cemeteries of Suva Reka, Milci and Paragon.


Roman Thermal Bath

A spa is a thermal bath dating from ancient times and it is one of the few preserved Roman monuments of this kind in Europe. It is located approximately 12 km eastern of Strumica, in the foothills of Mount Belasica. In the area of 1000 m2 ten rooms were discovered, which walls are preserved at height of 2 to 6.7 meters. Baths had changing rooms strip, sauna, and pools with hot and cold water. It had used the thermal waters of the spring Parilo, 50 meters south of the bathroom. Most probably it originates from the III century, from the rule of the Roman emperor Caracalla, who was known for raising and restoration of thermal baths throughout the Empire. There are five thermo-mineral springs, of which only one of the largest is professionally captured. It flows into the main bath called "Turkish Bath" and the other four, flow into freely, without being kept in a special manner. The temperature of the water source that supplies the "Turkish bath" is about 71 degrees and does not change during the year, which proves that water comes from a great depth, without atmospheric influences. Bath waters are considered to be healing for various diseases, primarily rheumatic.


Roman Aqueduct

Located north-west from Skopje, the aqueduct was built of stone and bricks with 55 arch supported on massive pillars. According to one group of archeologists, it was built during the 6th century AD, during the rule of Justinijan First, for water supply of his town Justiniana Prima, while according to other group of arheologists it was built during the Ottoman period by Isa Bey of Mustapha Pasha.
In 1669 the traveler Dr. Brown has noted that the aqueduct is a wonderful old object, which brings a great respect to Skopje. The historians have quoted the famous chronic from the period of Justinian Procopius, who notes that it was build in the period between 527-565 AD.
Many archeologists believe that, due to the similarities with the Kursumli An it dates from the Ottoman period (late 15 century).
The Skopje aqueduct was used to supply water from the gorge Lavovec in Gluvo village, to the part of Skopje, which now is the Old Bazaar and Bitpazar district. Interesting to mention is that, in former Yugoslavia there were only 3 aqueducts remained, one in Macedonia and two in Montenegro.


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