Saturday, January 24, 2009

What is Tourizm?

is travel for recreational or leisure purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people who "travel to and stay in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes not related to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited".Tourism has become a popular global leisure activity. In 2007, there were over 903 million international tourist arrivals, with a growth of 6.6% as compared to 2006. International tourist receipts were USD 856 billion in 2007.

Despite the uncertainties in the global economy, international tourist arrivals during the first four months of 2008 followed a similar growth trend than the same period in 2007.However, as a result of the economic crisis of 2008, international travel demand suffered a strong slowdown beginning in June 2008, with growth in international tourism arrivals worldwide falling to 2% during the boreal summer months, while growth from January to April 2008 had reached an average 5.7% compared to its 2007 level.
Tourism is vital for many countries such as U.A.E, Egypt, Greece, Thailand and many island nations such as The Bahamas, Fiji, Maldives, Seychelles due to the large intake of money for businesses with their goods and services and the opportunity for employment in the service industries associated with tourism. These service industries include transportation services such as cruise ships and taxis, accommodation such as hotels and entertainment venues, and other hospitality industry services such as resorts.

Macedonia abounds in natural beauties and rarities. Many have named it "the pearl of the Balkans." Its numerous mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes represent a great tourist attraction. The country is rich in water resources. It is often called "the land of lakes" because of its numerous tectonic, glacial, and man-made lakes. There are about 50 large and small lakes, the most significant ones being the lakes of Ohrid, Prespa, and Dojran. The rivers form three basins, the largest one -- the Vardar River .
The high mountains present its impressive, spectacular landscapes. Because of the great variety of plant and animal species, some areas in the mountains have been proclaimed national parks: Mavrovo, Pelister, and Galicica.

The main administrative center of the country is Skopje , with a population of 467,257 inhabitants. It's a place where many roads and civilizations have met and mingled. Other major towns are: Bitola , Prilep, Kumanovo, Tetovo, Ohrid.
The town of Ohrid, situated on the shore of Lake Ohrid, with its natural beauties, historical and cultural heritage enjoys the protection of UNESCO. Ohrid abounds with a large number of historical and cultural monuments, lovely beaches, and accommodation facilities.

The second "pearl" of Lake Ohrid , the town of Struga is renowned for its old architecture, the river Black Drim, its fine beaches, excellent hotels, and campsites.
The basin of Lake Prespa is another popular tourist destination with its wild beauty. The lake offers peace in several various accommodation facilities on Otesevo and Pretor tourist centers.
Lake Dojran, the smallest of the tectonic lakes, due to its mild climate and warm water, is considered to have medicinal qualities. There are several hotels and campsites on the shore of this lake, too.

Heraclea -Bitola

Famous for its dazzling mosaics, ancient theater and Roman baths, Heraclea is the most vividly preserved city from the Ancient Macedonian empire surviving in the country.

Founded in the 4th century B.C.E. and conquered by the Romans two centuries later, it was built on the Via Egnatia and became one of the key stations on this trading route.

From the 4th-6th centuries C.E. Heraclea also had an Episcopal seat. The first excavations were done before the First World War, but only since then have the full glories of the ancient city been revealed. Beautiful Roman baths, the Episcopal church and baptistery, a Jewish temple, portico and a Roman theater now used for summer concerts and theater shows all survive in excellent condition.


The ancient city of Stobi, lying in a fertile valley just a few minutes off the central north-south highway that connects Macedonia with Greece, was a vital trade route in its day. This crossroad of ancient civilizations has left a rich legacy of antique theaters, palace ruins, brightly-colored mosaics and religious relics for visitors today to enjoy.

As a city, Stobi is first mentioned in documents from the 2nd century B.C.E. However, archaeologists believe that the town had been inhabited from 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 biggest period of growth from the 3rd-4th centuries C.E.

The 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 buildings such as the 2nd century amphitheatre, the Theodosia palace, and early Christian ruins with extensive and ornate mosaic floors.

Markov Monastery - Skopje

Only 20 km (12 m) distant from the city, yet a world away in terms of atmosphere, Markov Monastery sits amidst flowering woods in the village of Markova Sushica. The construction of the church, dedicated to the martyr St Demetrius, began during the reign of King Volkashin (1346/47) but was painted and completed only some 30 years later. The church was built on a three-nave base with a vaulted dome on stone. Unlike many monasteries affected by Ottoman rule, Markov has retained its original structure and form.

The church has tremendous importance for Byzantine art, as it contains many examples of highly unique frescoes. Some seem to have arrived here out of the blue, as it were, while others of a known iconographic design underwent such dramatic stylistic changes that they came to form new iconographic entities in their own right.

During Byzantine times, the monastery had its own school and many manuscripts were written by the monks and priests. Among the most famous ones are the Prologue – a preface written by deacon Nikola (1370), and a letter (1362) by a monk known as Varlam.

The monastic complex today contains dormitories, dining room that are richly decorated with frescoes, a bell tower, an old mill, a wishing well full of cold spring water, and storerooms. The monastery still has an operating oven and a special stove for making rakija (a kind of brandy).

Baba Mountain

Baba Mountain overlooks the city of Bitola in the Republic of Macedonia. Its highest peak is Pelister (2601 meters, or 8533 feet). Baba mountain is the third highest mountain in the Republic of Macedonia after Korab and Šar Mountain. Other peaks besides Pelister are Dva Groba (2514 meters), Veternica (2420 meters), Muza (2350 meters), Rzana (2334 meters), Shiroka (2218 meters), Kozji Kamen (2199 meters), Griva (2198 meters), Golema Chuka (2188 meters), Skrkovo (2140 meters), Babin Zab (1850 meters), and many more. The Baba massif splits up the rivers in the region, so that they either flow towards the Adriatic, or the Aegean sea.

Pelister National Park is filled with exquisite flora and fauna. Among flora elements, the presence is especially significant of the five-needle pine molica , Pinus peuce - a unique species of tertiary age being present on only a few mountains in the Balkan Peninsula. The beauty of the landscape is enhanced by the diversified wildlife: bears, roe deer, wolves, chamois, deer, wild boars, rabbits, several species of eagles, partridges, redbilled jackdaws, and the endemic Macedonian Pelagonia trout.

Pelister is the oldest and second largest national park in Republic of Macedonia after Mavrovo. It is one of the leading tourist areas in the country, since it is a well-known ski resort, along with Ohrid, Prespa, Dojran, Popova Shapka, and Krushevo.

From Pelister you can see the Pelagonia valley, Lake Prespa, mountains Nidzhe, Galichica, Jakupica, and the city of Bitola. Interestingly, Pelister is one of the most southern mountains in the Balkans that has an alpine character.

Pelister is also known for its two mountain lakes, which are called Pelister's Eyes. The Big lake is 2,218 meters above the sea level while the Small lake is 2,180 meters high. Here are the sources of many rivers. The climate in Pelister National Park is diverse.

On the peaks, there is snow even in July, and in some places the new snow meets the old from previous years.

On Pelister mountain, there is a TV transmitter using an additionally guyed lattice steel mast as antenna tower.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Macedonian Cities -- Tetovo Mt.Sar

Mt. Sar is one of the three Alpine mountain ranges in Macedonia, the other two being Mt. Korab and Mt. Bistra. It is at an altitude between 1,600 and 2,531 m and can be reached from Tetovo either by road or by a cable car (6,589m long). The Mt. Sar range is 80km long and 12km wide, and it is covered with snow from November till March or April. The Popova Sapka Ski Center is one of the most attractive winter resorts in Macedonia, offering 20km-long ski runs, 14 ski lifts, and two cable cars with a capacity of 13,770 people per hour.

In the summer, Mt. Sar can be described as an ocean of grass and green fields, with numerous sheep flocks on its slopes, watched by shepherds and the special and rare dog type called Sharplaninec, and it offers a host of hiking trails. The range has a number of lakes, such as Golemo Ezero, Belo Ezero, Bogovinsko Ezero, and Crno Ezero, as well as rock climbing sections at Crnen Kamen, Kobilica, and below Mount Plat.

Mt. Sar is considered to be the largest compact area covered with pastures in Europe. The traditional Sar Championship takes place every year and is on the list of international FIS championships.
Countryside & Spas

Macedonia’s Unexposed Beauty: Countryside and Spas

Local municipalities intend to promote the countryside for the purpose of attracting visitors and potential investors as one of the still unutilized ways of filling up their municipal budgets.

A number of municipalities are drafting projects for natural beauties and archeological sites presentation. Negotino is going to promote "a wine street" -- the mayor will get together the few existing mini-wineries, while opening some new ones, as well.

Our plan is to develop every village, because this area is specific and it abounds in grapes and archeological sites. The village of Bisan, for instance, hosts an archeological town with a fortress as big as Samoil's Fortress. We want to show this to the people, Negotino Mayor Gjorgji Kimov says.

The Delcevo villages of Razlovci, Bigla, and Dramce boast a special kind of architecture. US businessmen have paid a visit and are pleased with the idyll of the countryside.

Razlovci is known for the Razlovci Uprising and its very old church. We intend to open this not only to foreign tourists, but to our local tourists, as well. This region's future is not only in tourism, but also in agriculture and fruit growing, Delcevo Mayor Mirko Ivanov has said.

In cooperation with travel agencies, Ohrid Municipality will be organizing lunches for tourists in the Ohrid villages. Several old houses will be restored to show what life was like in the past.

Kocani is drafting a project for a spa center, aimed at exploiting its warm geothermal waters. Another plan envisages the construction of a dirt dam in the river basin area of Aramiska Cesma on Mt. Osogovo with a view to stimulating conventional and eco-tourism in the tourist area of Ponikva.

The environmentally clean nature, the man-made Lake Gratce, and one of the best hunting sites in Macedonia attract foreign visitors. Tourism based on natural resources offers a fresh chance for economic progress, Kocani Municipality representatives say.

The Wealth of Healing Waters in Macedonia

Macedonia spreads over a vast amount of geothermal waters. Inexhaustible underground lakes of this wealth of natural energy are located in Istibanja near Vinica, Kocani, Stip, Gevgelija, and Strumica, all the way to the Vardar River Valley.

Yet, except for Kocani, which has been exploiting its hot springs for as many as three decades, the other areas have barely done anything to make them work and only 0.3 percent of them are believed to be utilized. In Stip, for instance, the story of establishing a major European center for spa tourism, the main asset of which would be the healing waters of the famous Kezovica springs, has been heard for decades, but it is only this year that the local authorities are to do something concrete about it.

Stip is the most unexplored area in this respect, although the announcements of its potentials are exceptionally promising. Drilling at some 80 meters near the village of Krupiste has given way to geothermal waters, which now flow freely at a temperature of 42C. No one has done any research in that area ever since. In Istibanja near Vinica, hot waters flow on the surface of the Bregalnica and Osojnica rivers, but no one explores those sites, either. The potential of Bansko near Strumica and of the Gevgelija area have not been sufficiently investigated, either, although their potential is more modest.

It is only this year that Stip has drafted a main project for exploiting its hot springs in a spa and a recreational tourist center. These geothermal waters are a scientifically proven cure for over 20 ailments. The project envisions saunas, every type of pools, sports halls, jogging trails, restaurants, hotels, and so forth.