Download GPX file for this article
41.437522.643055555556Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Strumica (Macedonian Cyrillic: Струмица) is a city in Eastern North Macedonia, situated near the tripoint with Bulgaria and Greece. Strumica is a well developed small city with about 40,000 residents and is the seat of its own municipality. It is a great place to stop by and, depending on your time, you have a lot of things to do. You can go shopping, take a walk through downtown and enjoy the cafés and restaraunts, which are in quite a number, or you can surprise yourself with the historical and natural wealth that this area offers.

Understand[edit]

The Goce Delčev city square, reconstructed in 2010, hosts multiple events, including the local Strumica Open Festival and Strumica Carnival.

To the east the city is connected to the Novo Selo-Petrich border crossing between Bulgaria and North Macedonia. Driving north on the A4 highway you can reach Štip and Skopje. By following the regional road R1401 westbound you will reach the European route E75 which starts from Greece and connects North Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary with other European countries.

The Strumica valley is surrounded with the Belasica, Elenica and Ograzhden mountains. The mountain tourism is well developed in the Strumica region. The old neighborhoods of the city lay on the lower parts of the Elenica mountain, offering multiple easily accessible viewpoints of the city and its villages that are scattered throughout the rich agricultural fields; hence Strumica is called the agricultural capital of the country.

Apart from its traditional association to the agriculture, in the 21st century, the city has developed new features that call on visitors. The city has a good infrastructure. In 2010 the city square was reconstructed and expanded, offering a wide area for pedestrians, today used for many events such as Strumica Open Festival and Strumica Carnival. Strumica also has a lively nightlife scene, so the weekends are marked with loud music and performances by famous domestic and foreign artists, especially in the summer.

History[edit]

Strumica and the surrounding villages are filled with archeological sites that testify about the long history of settlements in the area. A site called Stranata, near the village of Angelci, reveals evidence of a Neolithic settlement dating back to the 6th millennium BC.

In 1014, Strumica was the site of an important battle between Tsar Samuel's Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire. The Bulgarians achieved victory; in order to break their spirit, Byzantine Emperor Basil II blinded thousands of Bulgarian soldiers captured at the previous Battle of Kleidion and sent them to Samuel.

The Strumica-area village of Kosturino was the site of an important battle of World War I in December 1915. This was a decisive victory for Bulgaria and the Central Powers, enabling them to build a Berlin to Constantinople rail line.

Get in[edit]

By bus[edit]

  • 1 Intercity Bus Station (Меѓуградска автобуска станица), Bratstvo Edinstvo St (East of M4 Hwy).

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

Remains of the north tower at Tsar's Towers
Hotel Srpski Kral
  • 1 Goce Delčev Square (Плоштад Гоце Делчев). Strumica's central square lies above Maršal Tito Boulevard, just west of Leninova Boulevard. It was built in 1970, and was completely redesigned in 2010. The mostly concrete square now contains fountains, a modern clock tower, and shrubbery. Its centrepiece remains a large statue of revolutionary Goce Delčev, erected in 1973. Among the other monuments is the statue Strumica Under the Mask, commemorating the historic Strumica Carnival. The Anton Panov National Theatre fronts the square. Goce Delčev Square on Wikipedia
  • 2 Strumica City Park (Градски парк Струмица). If you decide to take a casual walk through the city, then first rule is never miss the park. Strumica offers locals and tourists a common place, a greatly managed urban park that will let you enjoy the nature away from the traffic, but more importantly, walking through the park you will get to know the spirit of the locals. The park has a large area and is accessible from anywhere. If you are on the city square, just head down towards the café street (Blagoj Jankov Mučeto St). The park in Strumica has a good number of features: A few restaurants, playgrounds, but also the Amphitheatre and the football stadium are here. However, the number one place where everyone go to while at the park is the small artificial lake (ezero), in front of the stadium.
  • 3 Tsar's Towers (Strumica Fortress; Цареви кули; Струмичко Кале). Strumica's fortress dates from the 11th century. It sits just west of town, overlooking the city from its elevated position. It was used under the Byzantine, Bulgarian, and Serbian empires. It then fell under Ottoman rule and by the 17th century it was completely abandoned. The site, however, was used again during the Balkan Wars and the World Wars. A restoration effort of the fortress began in 2014. Strumica Fortress (Q7625334) on Wikidata Strumica Fortress on Wikipedia
  • 4 Strumica City Hall (Собрание на Општина Струмица). This building and several of the ones surrounding it were built in the late 1920s in the neoclassical style. The city hall has a prominent balcony over its main entrance. It is located at the intersection of Sando Masev and Gjorče Petrov streets.
  • 5 Old Turkish Post Office (Стара турска пошта), Stiv Naumov. This 19th-century building served as a post office during Ottoman rule. The building is a good example of traditional Ottoman architecture. It was a private residence until 2005 when it was converted into a museum. Old turkish post office (Strumica) (Q12910687) on Wikidata
  • 6 Strumica Museum (Струмички музеј). Established in 1952, the Strumica Museum showcases some of the history, ethnology, and archaeology of the area, including pieces from many of the significant sites listed in this travel guide. It is in a neoclassical building built in 1931, which it shares with the State Archives.
  • 7 Hotel Srpski Kral (Хотел „Српски крал“) (opposite the city hall). This historic building is also in the neoclassical style. Built in the 1920s, it functioned at Strumica's first brothel. For the next couple decades it remained a place frequented by the elite. During communism, the building was nationalised and served different purposes before falling into neglect after the 1980s. ProCredit Bank bought and renovated the building in 2010.
  • 8 Kosturnica Memorial (Спомен-костурница). Built atop a hill in 1979, this communist-era monument memorializes many of Strumica's fallen in the National Liberation War. In 1982, remains of many soldiers were placed in the sarcophagus of the memorial. The complex is made of white marble and sits in not-so-great condition, with graffiti painted in various areas.
  • 9 Orta Mosque (Орта џамија). This building was built as a church during the Byzatine period, presumably in the 11th or 12th centuries. Some remnants of frescoes can be found in the foundations of the structure. Following the arrival of the Ottomans, the church was converted to a mosque. The square-based mosque has one minaret. Within the complex of the mosque are archaeological excavations. While it was in use by the city museum, the building has been closed for years because of fears that it can be damaged. Thus, it can only be viewed by visitors today from the outside.

Churches[edit]

Ruins of the original Church of Saint Fifteen Tiveriopoulos Martyrs
  • 10 Church of Saint Fifteen Tiveriopoulos Martyrs (Црква „Св. Петнаесет тивериополски маченици“). This complex of churches contains ruins from the original church dating from the 4th and 9th centuries, and from the present-day church built in 1972. The church complex is dedicated to the group of martyrs killed in Strumica (Tiveriopoulos) in the 4th century for not adhering to the pagan beliefs during the early Byzantine Empire. The group is considered the patron saints of Strumica and December 11, considered the day of their execution, is observed throughout the city.
  • 11 Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Катедрална црква „Успение на Пресвета Богородица“). This is the cathedral church of the Macedonian Byzantine-Catholic Church, which is in full communion with the Holy See. Construction began on the church in 1925 and it was consecrated in 1931. It is a red-brick church with a taller central tower. Cathedral of Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary (Q12907017) on Wikidata Cathedral of Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary (Strumica) on Wikipedia
  • 12 Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius (Црква „Св. Кирил и Методиј“). This church has an architectural style not commonly found in North Macedonia - it has a tall Russian/Gothic appearance and the funding of its construction in 1905 was provided by Russian missionaries on Mount Athos. The paintings on the iconostasis were completed in 1935. The church has a bell tower on the west side.

Neighbouring villages[edit]

The Church of the Holy Mother of God at Veljusa Monastery
Inside the ruins of the ancient Roman Bansko Baths

Several important sites lies outside the city limits of Strumica but within the larger Strumica Municipality.

  • 13 Veljusa Monastery (Вељушки манастир) (village of Veljusa, 7 km west of Strumica). Among the most important monasteries in North Macedonia is the Veljusa Monastery, built in 1080. Dedicated to the Holy Mother of God, it remains in very good condition inside and out. Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos visited the monastery several years after its construction and expressed a strong admiration for it. The church is cross-shaped with three multi-sided domes, including two above the church and one above the exonarthex. Its important frescoes were primarily painted in 1085, though the porch painting was done in 1164 and most of the nave was done in the 19th century. A cross in red brick on the southern wall of the church is an important symbol of the Macedonian Orthodox Church.
  • 14 Vodoča Monastery (Водочки манастир) (village of Vodoča, 4 km west of Strumica). This monastery, the seat of the Strumica Diocese, consists of the main church dedicated to St Leontius as well as archaeological remains of early Christian basilicas. The earliest remains date from the 5th century and are visible around the complex. The Church of St Leontius, dedicated to the martyr from Tripoli, contains two prominent domes. The church was built in the 12th century but has had multiple revisions over time since its original construction.
  • 15 Bansko Baths (Бања Банско) (at the foot of Belasica Mountain, village of Bansko, 12 km east of Strumica). A thermo-mineral healing spa from Late Antiquity. It was uncovered in 1978 when digging began for the construction of the Tsar Samuel Hotel. The archaeological site covers an area of 1,000 m2 (11,000 ft²). The preserved walls range in height from 2 to 6.7 m (6.6 to 22 ft). There are a total of five thermo-mineral springs. The temperature of the water in the springs remains consistent throughout the year, ranging amongst the sources from 47 to 72 degrees. These waters have long been considered to have healing effects. During Ottoman rule, there were four hamams (Turkish baths) in Bansko, some ruins of which remain standing, due to the mineral springs and the waters still draw visitors to the present day.
  • 16 Strumin Tomb (Струмин гроб) (village of Banica, 3 km west of Strumica). This ancient or medieval tomb is made of limestone. The ruin sits 2.3 m (7.5 ft) tall and 4 m (13 ft) long in a pretty random spot near Strumica where it was uncovered in 1983. There are multiple theories as to who was buried in the tomb, including the sister of King Marko or a relative of Alexander the Great.
  • 17 Gabrovo Waterfalls (Габровски водопади) (village of Gabrovo, 18 km east of Strumica). Above the village of Gabrovo on Belasica Mountain is a group of three small waterfalls located a kilometer apart. The falls range in height from 4 to 8 m (13 to 26 ft). The lowest waterfall is beside the parking lot above the village. The biggest one is the highest of the three up the mountain. A trail leads from the parking lot to the biggest waterfall. The Gabrovo Waterfalls are near the better known Smolare and Kolešino waterfalls in Novo Selo Municipality. The village of Gabrovo is also home to the 1874-built Church of St Elijah.
  • 18 Old hamam and mosque of Banica (Стар амам и џамија во Баница) (village of Banica, 4 km west of Strumica). Banica once had a mixed population of Orthodox Macedonians and Muslim Turks. The latter community has disappeared from the village since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Two major remnants of this community include its old mosque and the Mehmed Aga Hamam. The mosque, built in the 16th century, stands in rough shape with one minaret. The hamam is in ruins. It was built in the 17th century.

Vasilevo Municipality lies just north of Strumica. It is notable, especially as a rural municipality, for growing its population from the 1990s to the 2000s. It also has a significant Catholic minority, and a Turkish minority that was once larger prior to the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

  • 19 Angelci monastery complex (Манастирски комплекс (Ангелци)), village of Angelci. An interesting complex of nine churches, established in 1991 by a villager who was inspired by a dream to build the churches. It is visited by people from around Strumica but it is not actually recognized by the Macedonian Orthodox Church.
  • 20 Church of Saint Petka (Црква „Св. Петка“), village of Trebičino. The most significant church in Vasilevo Municipality, built in 1875. It contains historic frescoes.
  • 21 Church of the Assumption (Црква „Успение на Пресвета Богородица“), village of Vasilevo. The main church of the municipal center of Vasilevo, built in 1840. It was built of stone and features a porch covering three of its sides.

Do[edit]

  • Aside from hiking the nearby Mt. Belasica. Here are the waterfalls of Smolare (Смоларски водопад), 650 m a.s.l., 35 m high; and Kolesino (Колешински водопад), 630 m a.s.l, 20 m high, at the river Baba
  • 1 Culture House (Дом на Културата), Mosa Pijade (Моша Пијаде) St. Events, exhibits.
  • 2 Strumica Park, 11th October (11-ти Октомври) St. Strolling, relaxing
  • 3 Cinema Balkan.
  • 4 Vodoča Lake (Водочко езеро). This artificial lake lies at the confluence of the Vodoča and Trkajana rivers. It covers an area of nearly 2 km2 (1.2 mi2) with a maximum depth of 42 m (137 ft). The lake is a recreational place for the Strumica area.

Sport[edit]

  • 5 Mladost Stadium (Стадион Младост; Blagoj Isatov Stadium). The city's main stadium has a capacity of about 8,000. It is the home ground of FK Belasica and FK Tiverija, but it sometimes hosts matches of the Macedonia National Football Team. Stadion Blagoj Istatov on Wikipedia
  • 6 Park Sports Hall (Спортска сала Парк). Opened in 1981, the sports hall seats 2,300. It is home to three basketball clubs, one handball club, and one ping-pong club.
  • Pandev Sports Center (Спортски центар „Пандев“). One of Macedonia's greatest soccer stars, Goran Pandev, opened this sports center in 2014 in his hometown of Strumica.

Events[edit]

There is a centuries-old tradition and takes place every year in the period of the Christian festival Trimeri, during Lent. The word “carnival” originates from the Latin words: carne – meat and vale – farewell . The carnival represents a vestige of an ancient cult from the pagan time and indicates the glorification of fertility and purification from the spectral energies of the daily routine. In 1670 the Turkish travel-author Evlija Chelebija, while staying in Strumica, wrote: “I came into a town located in the foothills of a high hillock and what I saw that night was masked people running house–to–house, with laughter, scream and song“.

Buy[edit]

  • 1 Global Shopping Center (Трговски центар „Глобал“), at the intersection of Leninova and Marshal Tito Blvd. The largest shopping center in the city, opened in 2008. The building sticks out easily with its almost entirely reflective glass facade and is opposite the city square. The shopping center has a multi-storey parking garage, its entrance is on the north side of the building. On the ground floor you will mostly find fresh food from the locals. There are boutiques, cafés and other shops on the upper floors.
  • 2 Jugopromet Shopping Center (Трговски Центар Југопромет), Blagoj Jankov Mucheto St (Center).

Eat[edit]

Sleep[edit]

  • 1 Hotel Gligorov, Kliment Ohridski St, +389 34 344600.
  • Hotel Car Samuil, village of Bansko, +389 34 777193. Relax at the natural healing waters of Bansko.
  • Hotel Sirius (1.5 km from the city center), +389 34 345335, fax: +389 34 345143, . Hotel four-star spa & wellness, 7 apartments, 45 deluxe rooms, 56 double rooms, 5 triple rooms. Double half board+spa €75.
  • Hotel Tiveriopol - www.tiveriopol.com.mk +389 34 340421; +389 34 340422
  • 2 Hotel Central (Opp. City Hall).
  • 3 Familija Kostadinovi/ Selski Turizam, Village Gabrovo, +389 70 310 467, .
  • 4 Hotel Dukat, village of Bansko, +389 34 37 166.

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Novo Selo - home to North Macedonia's two best-known waterfalls, just southeast of Strumica
  • Bosilovo - home to North Macedonia's only swamp, just east of Strumica
  • Veles - NW 60 km
This city travel guide to Strumica is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.