Veles (Macedonian: Велес) is a city in the Povardarie region of North Macedonia on both sides of the Vardar, the country's most important river. The city is home to over 43,000 residents, making it the sixth-largest in the country. The larger Municipality of Veles, which includes 27 villages, has a total population of over 55,000. The North Macedonian capital, Skopje, is northwest of the city.
Veles is a city with a rich and varied cultural tradition.
Veles is situated on hills that sit above both sides of the Vardar River. This interesting terrain has given Veles a rather unique cityscape.
Under Ottoman rule, Veles was named Köprülü. Following World War II, it was named Titov Veles in honour of Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito. In 1996, several years after Macedonian independence, "Titov" was dropped from the name.
The city briefly received international attention after it was revealed that a group of teenagers in Veles were producing fake news related to the 2016 US presidential election as a way of generating income.
Veles is a relatively large transport hub, with excellent road and rail connections. It is close to the country's main international airport.
- 1 Veles Bus Station (Автобуска Станица Велес). Veles's bus station is in the city center, on the east side of the river. The city is well-connected to neighbouring cities.
Veles is on the international highway, E-75, which connects Central Europe to the Aegean Sea. The city lies 55 km (33 mi) southeast from Skopje.
- 2 Veles Railway Station (Железничка Станица Велес). Veles is served by a railway station on North Macedonia's main north-south rail line, running from Niš in Serbia to Thessaloniki. The station is in the north of the city, on the west side of the river.
Skopje Airport, the country's main airport, is about 36 km (21.6 mi) north of Veles.
The city center of Veles can be walked but several of the important sites lie further out and are best reached by car or taxi.
- 1 Clock Tower (Саат кула). The defining feature of the city skyline. It was built in the first half of the 18th century as a watchtower for Ottomans. Towards the end of the 18th century, the tower was converted into a city clock. It is on the left bank of the Vardar, on 8th of September Street.
- 2 Church of St Pantaleon (Црква „Св. Пантелејмон“). This three-aisle basilica-type church was built in 1840 by Andrej Damjanov. It is the cathedral church of the Diocese of Povardarie. It sits on a high terrace above the town, making it dominant in the skyline and a good place for views of Veles. The interior of the church is richly decorated with arches, columns, and frescoes.
- 3 Kočo Racin Memorial House (Спомен куќа на Кочо Рацин). Kočo Racin was a Macedonian revolutionary and poet, who is considered a founder of modern Macedonian literature. Established in 1962, it showcases the life and work of the Veles native. The building itself was constructed in the traditional style.
- 4 Kosturnica Memorial (Спомен-костурница). The large memorial is built in the shape of a flower, symbolizing a German World War II helmet, broken in four pieces - a symbol of the defeat of fascism. It is situated at an elevation above the northeastern side of town. There is also a museum about the history of Veles during that period.
- 5 Monastery of St Demetrius (Манастир Св. Димитрија). It's a couple kilometers south of town. The monastery church was built in the 14th century by King Stefan Dušan. The Byzantine-style church has a bell tower built into its western side.
- 6 Church of St John the Baptist (Црква „Св. Јован Крстител“). The oldest church in Veles, St John the Baptist was likely constructed in the 13th century. It is a small church built of stone, about 100 m north of the Monastery of St Demetrius.
- 1 Lake Mladost (Lake Veles; Езеро Младост; Велешко Езеро). This artificial lake north of the city is one of its major recreational areas. Hotel Romantik is on its northwestern shore.
It looks like there are no hotels in Veles. The closest option will be Motel Montenegro Rivijera which is about 3 km away from the city center.
- 1 Motel Montenegro Rivijera, Skopski Pat (3 km away from the city), ☎ . Check-in: 11:00, check-out: 14:00. Quite a decent option on a E-75 Belgrade-Athens highway. Rooms equipped with AC, TV, good size fridge, private bathroom. Friendly and helpful staff. Double 2200 denars.
- 2 Hotel Romantique, Ezero Mladost (8 km away from the city, in the nort-east area of Lake Veles). Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Rooms come with AC, private bathroom and a balcony. Hotel has a restaurant and an outdoor pool. Wi-Fi. double 3700 denars.
- 3 Solunska Glava peak (Солунска Глава) (30km from Veles). One of the highest mountain peaks in North Macedonia, 2 540 m height. Accommodation is available at the mountain house Ceples.
- Stobi - the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia Salutaris dating from 197 BC. The surviving mosaics and other archaeological finds are of exceptional value.