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Debar is a city in the very western part of western North Macedonia, right on the border with Albania. Debar has about 14,000 people in its city limits, with a total population of under 20,000 in Debar Municipality which includes 17 surrounding villages. The city sits on the north shore of Lake Debar, an artificial lake formed by damming where the Black Drin and Radika rivers meet. Debar is also a gateway into Mavrovo National Park from the park's southern boundary.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

A border crossing from Albania exists just north of the city in the village of Spas. Within Macedonia, Debar can be reached from the east or south via highway R1201.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

Looking to Lake Debar from Rajčica Monastery
Frescoes inside the Church of the Assumption, Gari

Most of the sights of interest of the Debar area lie in its surrounding villages.

  • 1 Inkjar Mosque (Инќар џамија). The oldest mosque in Debar was built in 1468. Its construction was ordered by Sultan Mehmed II. Set in a spacious courtyard, the mosque is rectangular with a pyramidal roof. It has a single minaret. The courtyard has an interesting octagonal türbe (tomb) built in the 18th or 19th century and other graves.
  • 2 Clock Tower Mosque. New mosque and clock tower in central Debar. The minaret stands taller than the clock tower.

Rajčica[edit]

Rajčica is a village immediately adjacent to Debar. Situated at the eastern entrance to Debar, it has over 100 residents.

  • 3 Rajčica Monastery (Рајчки манастир). The convent counterpart to the Monastery of St John Bigorski in Mavrovo. Established in the 14th century, it is above Lake Debar 2 km (1.2 mi) from Debar. The main church at the monastery, dedicated to St George, was built in 1852. The convent was in rough shape until 1999 when it was restored and cooperation was established with a convent in Boston. A chapel was added to the grounds in 2006.
  • 4 Church of Saint Barbara (Црква „Св. Варвара“). A small medieval church sitting above Lake Debar. It was built in 1597. The church was robbed by Turks of important icons in 1913. There is a small cemetery around the church.
  • 5 Church of Saint Athanasius (Црква „Св. Атанасиј“). This small church was constructed between 1868 and 1877. The fresco work was done in 1875.

Further afield[edit]

The villages of Debar Municipality, set in mountainous scenery, are home to places of interest, particularly churches and monasteries. Gari and Osoj, on the slopes of Stogovo Mountain, are particularly known for their architecture as villages inhabited by Mijaks, a group of Macedonians known for their building skills. Gorno and Dolno Kosovrasti are on Dešat Mountain above the Radika River, with the latter being at a lower elevation.

  • 6 Church of the Assumption (Црква „Успение на Пресвета Богородица“) (village of Gari). Built during the "renaissance" era of Macedonian churches in the 18th century, the Church of the Assumption has particularly rich fresco paintings done by noted artist Dičo Zograf. The iconostasis was done by another famous artist, Petre Filipovski-Garkata, and his brothers, natives of Gari. The rectangular-shaped church is mostly built of stone and has a side porch.
  • 7 Elen Skok (Елен Скок) (village of Mogorče). A single-arch stone bridge crossing the Little River. It was built in the 18th century and designed by Mimar Hayrudin, the architect behind the Old Bridge in Mostar. It is just within the boundary of Mavrovo National Park.

Do[edit]

The Balkan state of North Macedonia caters to those who want some pampering on their holiday. Lap up the thermal mineral spas in the Debar region which have been proven to provide medical benefits.

Buy[edit]

Eat[edit]

  • Restaurant Uraniku, +389 46 831 401 ext 108. In the center of the town, Hotel and Restaurant Uraniku serve the best Albanian specialities.
  • 1 Taverna Cami, s.Spile, +389 70 391 355.

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

  • 1 Banjisht Hotel & SPA Debar, Selo banjishte (village of Banište, 6 km north of Debar), +389 46 831 092. Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 10:00. 880 m above the sea level with clean mountain air. The spa is known throughout Macedonia for its healing mineral water baths. Standard / Modern / Suite €24/28/34 per person.
  • 2 Hotel Kosovrast, Selo Dolno Kosovrasti (Горно Косоврасти) (NE 6 km), +389 46 842 222. Hotel Kosovrasti is on the cost of Debar's Lake. It offers medical treatments using thermo-mineral waters. Standard / Modern / Suite €24/28/34 per person & full board.
  • Villa Topila, village of Gari, +389 70 510 674, .
  • 3 Breathtaking view B&B, village of Dolno Melnicani.

Connect[edit]

Nearby[edit]

Reconstructed home of Atatürk's parents in Kodžadžik

Within Centar Župa Municipality, bordering Debar to the south:

  • The village of Kodžadžik, about 21 km (12.6 mi) south of Debar, was once the home of Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's parents. Their home was reconstructed and now serves as a memorial museum. The family house was built in the 19th century in this mountain village.
  • The Church of the Immaculate Mother of God in Dolno Melničani was built in 1884. It is a three-nave church mostly made of stone with a front porch and a separate bell tower. The village sits on a mountainside across Lake Debar from the city of Debar.

Go next[edit]

  • St. Jovan Bigorski - this monastery is dedicated to St. John the Forerunner. It was made in the 18th century and includes beautiful frescos and icons in Rostuse. It is located about 20 minutes north of Debar. It is a must-see when visitng Macedonia.
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