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Strumica

Strumica

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The city of Strumica is the largest city in south-eastern Macedonia. Situated in the Strumica plain it is very close to the border lines with both Greece and Bulgaria. Being the seat of the whole Strumica Municipality around 100,000 people inhabit the region. 

First mentioned by the Greeks in the 2nd century BC as Astraion, later known as Tiberiopolis in Roman Times, the city got its present name after the Strumica river that runs through it. 

Strumica has developed a big domestic and international trade network, textile factories and a large food industry because it is the main agricultural center of Macedonia. 

It is also developing as a fast growing tourist destination due to its natural wonders, exciting night life and miltiple international events, but most of all due to its rich history. According to archeological findings, it was settled as far back as 6000-5000 BC, had a Neolithic settlement (Stranata) nearby and has traces of many prehistoric cultures that have left their marks during the ages. Today, as monuments of the rich past we have many sites that are top touristic destinations such as "Tzar's Towers", the Monastery "Holy Mother of God-Eleusa", Monastery "St. Leontius", the Roman thermal bath and many others. 

"Tzar's Towers" is a fortress erected on a dominant position above the city which gives a a clear view and most importantly total control of the Strumica Valley to its holders. It is a breathtaking monument to the longevity and meaning of this city and region.

The Monastery "Holy Mother of God-Eleusa" was founded in 1080 AD. It is built on a rocky plateau in the village of Veljusa no more than 7 km from the city center. The monastery's original architecture is well preserved and it is one of the few 11th century structures left in Macedonia. Today, this monastery is the home of the monastic sisterhood of Strumica. 

The church complex "St. Leontius" is located about 4km west of Strumica in the village of Vodocha. It consists of three churches each built in different periods ranging from the 6th untill the 12th century. Abandoned in the Middle Ages, it underwent reconstruction in 1979 and recently in 1996 monastic life was revived here. 

As a testament to the presence of the ancient Romans in this region we have the Roman Thermal at the village of Bansko. This thermo-mineral spa (Balneum) was built in the 3rd and 4th century A.D. at the foot of the Belasica mountain, 12 kilometers east of Strumica. The bath used thermal water with healing properties from the spring Parilo, which is only 50 meters from the structure. Built in Roman style with a total area of 623 m2 it was a meeting place for young athletes and idle people alike and offered various therapeutic treatments to everyone. There are preserved walls from 2 meters to up to 6.7 meters high, and it is thought that with some small technical interventions, this object can be fully reconstructed and have the same functions it had more than one and a half millenium ago. 

 

Apart from man-made structures, Strumica has many wonders created by nature alone. The nearby Belasica mountain hides many amazing places and the most well-known ones are frequently visited not only by tourists but by locals as well. The Koleshino and Smolari waterfalls are the biggest and most visited ones but hidden from the eyes of the public, deep in the bosom of Belasica mountain the Gabrovo Waterfalls display their beauty. At a distance of 1 kilometre there are three smaller waterfalls, from 4 to 8 meters high, and they break and flow from one to the other which makes them unique and the most interesting of all. 

 

Strumica also hosts many events and some of them are so unique they shouldn't be missed. The Strumica Carnival is number 1 on that list. It is the biggest event of the year and it closely relates to the Trimeri holiday and the beginning of Easter fasting. It has existed for centuries and today it is ranked as one of the 20 most succesfull carnival events in the world. 

The Strumica Open Festival is a massive event that lasts more than a week in the summer. It combines culture and entertainment and attracts high profile celebrities and tens of thousands of people every year.  

Another notable event is the International Strumica Art Colony which is the oldest event of this type in Macedonia and among the oldest in the Balkans as well. The art colony is a yearly event that takes place in the first half of August and it has continuously taken place for over 50 years now with more than 1200 artists from the country and abroad taking part in it. 

 

 

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