Macedonia’s Unexposed Beauty: Countryside and Spas
Local municipalities intend to promote the countryside for the purpose of attracting visitors and potential investors as one of the still unutilized ways of filling up their municipal budgets.
A number of municipalities are drafting projects for natural beauties and archeological sites presentation. Negotino is going to promote "a wine street" -- the mayor will get together the few existing mini-wineries, while opening some new ones, as well.
Our plan is to develop every village, because this area is specific and it abounds in grapes and archeological sites. The village of Bisan, for instance, hosts an archeological town with a fortress as big as Samoil's Fortress. We want to show this to the people, Negotino Mayor Gjorgji Kimov says.
The Delcevo villages of Razlovci, Bigla, and Dramce boast a special kind of architecture. US businessmen have paid a visit and are pleased with the idyll of the countryside.
Razlovci is known for the Razlovci Uprising and its very old church. We intend to open this not only to foreign tourists, but to our local tourists, as well. This region's future is not only in tourism, but also in agriculture and fruit growing, Delcevo Mayor Mirko Ivanov has said.
In cooperation with travel agencies, Ohrid Municipality will be organizing lunches for tourists in the Ohrid villages. Several old houses will be restored to show what life was like in the past.
Kocani is drafting a project for a spa center, aimed at exploiting its warm geothermal waters. Another plan envisages the construction of a dirt dam in the river basin area of Aramiska Cesma on Mt. Osogovo with a view to stimulating conventional and eco-tourism in the tourist area of Ponikva.
The environmentally clean nature, the man-made Lake Gratce, and one of the best hunting sites in Macedonia attract foreign visitors. Tourism based on natural resources offers a fresh chance for economic progress, Kocani Municipality representatives say.
According to travel agents, Staravina, Vevcani, Galicnik, and the villages in the foothills of Mt. Pelister and Mt. Malesevo are excellent sites for the countryside and alpine tourism. The lack of road infrastructure, water, and water management systems poses a problem, though.
This year we expect several groups of Austrian tourists, who are going to visit Brajcino and Nizepole. Our villages are rather neglected and something should be done about it, Macedonian Travel Agencies' Association (ATAM) Chairman Mile Spiroski says.
Very few agencies offer village tours. The municipalities say that alpinism, cycling, and a meal in the country instead of a luxury hotel is the real offer that the travel agencies could -- in cooperation with the government -- offer to tourists throughout the year.
The Wealth of Healing Waters in Macedonia
Macedonia spreads over a vast amount of geothermal waters. Inexhaustible underground lakes of this wealth of natural energy are located in Istibanja near Vinica, Kocani, Stip, Gevgelija, and Strumica, all the way to the Vardar River Valley.
Yet, except for Kocani, which has been exploiting its hot springs for as many as three decades, the other areas have barely done anything to make them work and only 0.3 percent of them are believed to be utilized. In Stip, for instance, the story of establishing a major European center for spa tourism, the main asset of which would be the healing waters of the famous Kezovica springs, has been heard for decades, but it is only this year that the local authorities are to do something concrete about it.
Stip is the most unexplored area in this respect, although the announcements of its potentials are exceptionally promising. Drilling at some 80 meters near the village of Krupiste has given way to geothermal waters, which now flow freely at a temperature of 42C. No one has done any research in that area ever since. In Istibanja near Vinica, hot waters flow on the surface of the Bregalnica and Osojnica rivers, but no one explores those sites, either. The potential of Bansko near Strumica and of the Gevgelija area have not been sufficiently investigated, either, although their potential is more modest.
It is only this year that Stip has drafted a main project for exploiting its hot springs in a spa and a recreational tourist center. These geothermal waters are a scientifically proven cure for over 20 ailments. The project envisions saunas, every type of pools, sports halls, jogging trails, restaurants, hotels, and so forth.
Source: Utrinski Vesnik