Europe > Balkans > North Macedonia > Western North Macedonia > Tearce-Jegunovce
Tearce is a municipality in western North Macedonia, located east of Tetovo. Part of the Polog region, it has over 22,000 residents spread across 13 villages. Jegunovce is east of Tearce, bordering Kosovo. It has under 11,000 residents in its 17 villages.
Tearce is home to a population of Albanians, ethnic Macedonians and other ethnic minorities. Over the past several decades, however, Tearce has become less diverse. In 1953, the population was 57% Albanian and 38% Macedonian. As of the last census in 2002, Tearce is 84% Albanian and 12% Macedonian. Jegunovce has an ethnic Macedonian majority with a large Albanian minority.
This area was among the parts of the country particularly affected by the 2001 ethnic Albanian insurgency.
- 1 Lešok Monastery (Лешочки манастир), village of Lešok. The most significant Christian spiritual site in the Tetovo area is this monastery established in 1321. The grounds contains multiple active churches as well as remains of older ones. The Church of the Virgin Mary is the oldest of the monastery churches dating to 1326. It is an excellent example of the Byzantine style, containing three layers of frescoes. The main church of monastery is dedicated to Saint Athanasius. It was built between the world wars and then rebuilt following its destruction in 2001. The monastery dormitories got their present appearance in 1818, which is when its library was founded, which made Lešok an important literary center. Kiril Pejčinovik, a cleric considered one of the earliest contributors to the Macedonian language, revived the monastery in 1818 and was hegumen of the monastery until his death in 1845. He is buried on the grounds of the monastery. The monastery is also said to contain buried treasure on its grounds. Lešok Monastery has been severely damaged multiple times in its history - there is even an old song about these misfortunes. The first occurred in 1710 when Ottoman janissaries attacked the monastery; it became abandoned until 1818 when Pejčinovik restored it. The second occurred in 1905 by Albanians as retaliation for the killing of two Albanians in a nearby village, though the damage was not as major. In 2001 for the third time, the monastery was destroyed by Albanian insurgents. This attack caused widespread condemnation and EU funds were provided to restore the monastery which was completed in 2007. Monastic life has been continuous at the monastery since it was revived by Pejčinovik in 1818. There is a popular restaurant at the monastery and the dormitories are open for lodging to visitors.
- 2 Church of Saint John the Baptist (Црква „Св. Јован Богослов“), village of Tearce. Located in Otušište, which historically was a separate village but is now a part of Tearce village, is this tiny 13th-century church. The stone built church suffered damage during the 2001 conflict.
- 3 Dobrošte Lakes (Доброшките Езера), vilage of Dobrošte. Two of the Šar Mountain's 27 glacial lakes are the Upper and Lower Dobrošte lakes, above the village of the same name. The Upper lake is the larger of the two, with a surface area of 1,200 square m (12,916 square ft) and a depth of 1.5 m (5 ft), and it is 40 m (ft) above the Lower lake.
- 4 Church of the Virgin Mary (Црква „Св. Богородица“), village of Jelošnik. This church was built in 1872 atop foundations of an older church. It contains significant frescoes and icons. However, the church suffered greatly in 2001 conflict being a victim of theft and destruction, which remains a somewhat regular occurrence today. Some of its icons are now held at the Tetovo Icon Gallery. Jelošnik, which no longer has permanent residents, is also home to a church dedicated to the Annunciation. It was built in 1913 partially into a rock; its roof was restored in 2016.
- 5 Church of Saint Petka (Црква „Св. Петка“) (village of Siričino). This church was built in 1567, though it didn't begin to carry the name St Petka until its first renovation in 1641. It was again renovated in 1884 and 1958. The frescoes are highly regarded: some were completed in the 17th century, while the rest were completed in the 19th century.
- 6 Oraško Kale (Орашко Кале), village of Orašje. Located about one kilometer (0.6 miles) from the Vardar River and standing 110 m (361 ft) above it, is this set of ruins which date from Late Antiquity through the Middle Ages. Not a great deal is left of the fortifications or the historical mining sites just beneath them, but it is situated on a high hill that provides expansive views of the surrounding geography, such as the peak of Ljuboten.
- 7 Belovište springs and waterfalls (Беловишки извори и водопади), village of Belovište. Above this village further into the mountains are roaring waters, with some of it falling off high enough drops to be considered waterfalls. The base area with a church is easily accessible by car via a paved road, but then the climb can get challenging depending on how far one wishes to ascend.
- 1 Tetovo Folk Fest (Тетовски фолк фест). Held every August on the holiday of the Dormition of the Holy Mother of God at Lešok Monastery is this festival which brings out the best Macedonian folk musicians.
- 1 Restaurant Gryka, ☏ . Traditional food, grill, seafood, garden, terrace, private parking,