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A land of rolling mists and bracing mountain air, Mavrovo national park is home to the highest peaks in Macedonia - hiking, skiing, cycling, and bird-watching are all popular pursuits.
Comprising some 22 forest and 16 grass eco-systems, the park’s landscapes are as varied as they are rugged: vertiginous canyons with 300m high walls, serene glacial lakes, crashing white-water rivers, desolate karst regions, verdant valleys, grasslands, forests, bogs, and many miles of subterranean caves all punctuate the region.
Ecologically, Mavrovo’s forests represent a vital storehouse of rare vegetation. Home to 1300 species of plants and 145 species of trees - Crimean wild juniper, Norway spruce, Greek maple, yew, and chestnut among them – it is an extremely pristine setting with a rich genetic heritage. Its fauna are no less exciting, including rare avian species like hawks, eagles, and vultures, as well as large mammals like wolves and European lynxes.Read more
Thanks to its rugged topography, the region has managed to preserve its cultural and folkloric traditions too. Evocative songs, dances, and rituals recall ancient myths and legends, or otherwise mark important moments in the annual agricultural cycle. Religious festivals are celebrated with aplomb, as are traditional weddings, which offer a fantastic opportunity to partake in unrestrained feasting, dancing, and merriment.
One of the region’s most spirited festivals is the Day of the Sheep and Goat Breeders, which includes raucous wrestling matches and competitions in sheep shearing and milking. Equally exciting, the Reka Cultural Summer Festival is a synthesis of local traditions, crafts, and culinary skills – the time to taste delicious pies and home-cooked Macedonian cuisine. Elsewhere, a host of atmospheric archaeological ruins lie scattered throughout the region. Don’t miss the submerged church of St. Nicholas, its steeple and rooftop appearing to mysteriously rise from the waters of Lake Mavrovo.