Gostivar (Macedonian: Гостивар) is a town in the Western North Macedonia. It is the second-largest city of the Polog region, beneath the Šar Mountain range. The Municipality of Gostivar has over 80,000 residents, of which under half live in the city of Gostivar.
Gostivar is in the Polog Valley in northwestern Macedonia, near Mavrovo National Park and the source of the Vardar River.
Gostivar is the seat of the fourth most populous municipality in Macedonia, with over 80,000 residents. The city has just over 35,000 residents, making it Polog's second-largest city after Tetovo. Gostivar is ethnically diverse with 47% of the population identifying as Albanian, one-third as Macedonian, 13% as Turkish, and the rest as Roma (Gypsy) or other.
Gostivar lies on the main road Skopje-Gostivar-Kicevo highway. This road is smooth and nice but you have to pay a toll to drive on it.
Gostivar is well connected by bus to both to Skopje and Ohrid. Many of the Ohrid-Skopje buses travel this route.
- 1 Gostivar bus station (Next to the railway station).
Macedonia Railways (MŽ) operate a daily service to and from Skopje (towards Kicevo). The Skopje-bound train leaves at 06.06, while the train from Skopje departs at 16.45. Unless you're an avid rail fan, the early start might not be worth it - though if you are, you might enjoy the aging rolling stock, witness the rare occasion of a single carriage being pulled by the locomotive.
- 2 Gostivar railway station.
- 1 Church of Saint Mary (Црква „Св. Богородица“). This church stands prominently on the central square of the city. It was built in 1923 and contains a prominent central tower.
- 2 Clock Tower (Саат-кула). Gostivar's clock tower is one of its main symbols, found on both the city flag and coat of arms. It was built in 1729 by Ismail Aga; the date is inscribed in Ottoman Turkish on a stone atop the entrance. Located in central Gostivar, this clock tower is among the better preserved ones in Macedonia and still displays the correct time.
- 3 Bey's House (Бегова куќа). Also known as the Yellow House, this is the oldest existing building in Gostivar. It was built in the 18th or 19th century for a wealthy Turkish family, designed with oriental elements by Daut Boletini.
Vrutok is a village in which the source of Macedonia's most important river is found. It is on the slopes of Mount Bistra, and is home to several fish restaurants at the source of the Vardar. The village, southwest of Gostivar city, is home to over 1,100 residents.
Brodec is a mountain village in the west of Gostivar Municipality with the largest area of any village in Macedonia. While Brodec is nearly completely depopulated today, it has much traditional village architecture worth seeing, complemented by the mountainous scenery. It also features a monastery complex established in 2015 and a small waterfall.
- 4 Church of Saint Nicholas (Црква „Св. Никола“) (village of Brodec). The main church of Brodec, Saint Nicholas was built in the 19th century. It has a single dome and features interior painting of the Mijak style.
Notable sites in other villages of the municipality include the below.
- 5 Church of Saints Peter and Paul (Црква „Св. Петар и Павле“) (village of Dolna Banjica). This 19th-century church was built of stone. It is the main church of this village, and near medieval ruins of a necropolis.
Vrapčište Municipality is north of Gostivar. It is primarily Albanian-populated with Turkish and ethnic Macedonian minorities.
- 6 Church of Saint Marina (Црква „Св. Марена“), village of Zubovce. Built in 1845 atop foundations of an older church, it includes paintings done by notable artist Dičo Zograf. His work here includes the 50-icon iconostasis. Macedonian politician Ljube Boškoski painted an icon that resides at this church. Saint Marina is built of stone and has an attached bell tower.
- 7 Crno Lake (Црно Езеро), village of Senokos. Meaning "Black Lake", this is the second-largest of the 27 glacial lakes of Šar Mountain. It sits at an elevation of 2,120 m (6,955 ft) above sea level. A well-marked trail to the lake begins in the village of Gjurgjevište, despite the lake being within the boundaries of Senokos village.
- 8 Church of Saint Nicholas (Црква „Св. Никола“), village of Požarane. This cross-shaped domed church was built in 1912 by the same builders who built the Church of the Virgin Mary in Gostivar's city center.
- Imerial Restaurant, ☏ +389-361-762.
- 1 Fish Restaurant "Kaj Sime", s.Vrutok, ☏ +389 70 472 311.
- 2 Restaurant Antika, village of Forino, ☏ +389 72 223 333. Traditional food, barbecue, fish dishes, garden, bar
- 3 Restaurant Bigor, village of Vrutok, ☏ +389 75 304 993. Traditional food, griil, homemade bread, garden.
- 4 La Terrazza, village of Vrutok, ☏ +389 71 433 259. Fish dishes, seafood, desserts, kids' playground, garden, Private parking.
- Imperial Motel, ☏ +389-361-762.