Radin Bridge, is the subject of a local legend in Kratovo. Its construction was fraught with difficulty, so the nine brothers in charge of the project decided to consult a prophet. Before the bridge could be completed, the prophet intoned, one of the brothers would have to sacrifice his wife. The brothers looked at each other, and came to the agreement that the first of their wives who appeared at the work site the next morning would be the chosen one. That night, only the youngest brother failed to warn his wife… and when innocent Rada appeared the next morning with food and water for her husband and his brothers, they leaped upon her, entrapping and burying her alive within the bridge’s foundation.
Towers of Kratovo
Only 6 of 12 medieval towers of Kratovo have been preserved to the present day. The time of the construction of those towers has not been established yet, but their architectural style and the ornamentation used, indicate that those construction originate from the period of the Ottoman rule. The more significant towers in Kratovo, are the Simiceva tower, Emin-Bey, the Clock Tower, the Zlatkova, Krsteva and the Hadzi-Kostova tower. The most imposant of them is the Simikjeva tower, located in Dolna Maala district, built in 1370 AD. Pictured here is the Clock Tower of Kratovo.
Monastery of Lesnovo
The Monastery of Lesnovo is dedicated to the holy hermit Gavril of Lesnovo. The Church of the Holy Archangel Gabriel in Lesnovo was built built between 1341 and 1349. Lesnovo Monastery is the largest and best preserved among Byzantine endowments of the 14th century in the Balkans, and one the most visually stunning and culturally significant monasteries in Macedonia. The church was built on the foundations of the older shrine that existed in the 11th century during the time of the Vulnerable hermit Gabriel of Lesnovo. The older monastery (dating from the 11th century) was extended and thoroughly rebuilt in 1331 by Despot Jovan Oliver, the representative of the medieval aristocracy and the ruler of Ovche Pole and Lesnovo region. Nowadays Lesnovo monastery is a living monastery, with thriving monastic brotherhood.
The stone valley of Kuklica is an area consisting of over 120 naturally formed stone pillars, located in the village of Kuklica, near Kratovo. The most famous legend bound to the creation of Kuklica is that of a man who could not decide which of two women he should marry. So, the man planned to marry each woman on the same day at different times. When the first wedding was in progress, the woman to marry the man second went to see who was getting married on the same day as she. When she saw her future husband marrying another woman, she cursed all in attendance at the wedding and turned them into stone. Aside from mystic stories and legends, the earth pyramid in Kuklica was formed as a result of natural erosion processes in the Holocene, during the past 100,000 years. Differences in the erodibility of the volcanic rocks of the area are the main factor for the pillars creation. Thus, soft tuffs rocks on the base are overlaid by solid, sturdy andesites and ignimbrites on the top, which are nearly 30 million years old.
Gastronomy of Kratovo
Our friendly hosts in Kratovo will demonstrate with pleasure how the famous crushed (“kcana”) salt is made, as there are only few remaining families in Kratovo that still produce this typical local delicacy. The crushed salt accompanies all sorts of dishes, from meat to traditional pies called “mantii" to the famous Kratovo "pastrmajka", a sort of pita garnished with smoked pork on top. The crushed salt, however, is best suited to simple tastes, and it is usually combined with hard-boiled eggs, sheep cheese, shopska salad, freshly fried peppers and baked beans. All of the dishes we mentioned here get along very well with homemade wine from the nearby village of Shlegovo, whose rich volcanic soil gives the Kratovo wines distinct taste.
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Kratovo, a small picturesque town in eastern Macedonia, one of the regions’ living museums. It lies on the western slopes of Mount Osogovo at an altitude of 600 metres (2,000 ft) above sea level. Having a mild and pleasant climate, it is located in the crater of an extinct volcano. This afternoon local guide will take us for walking sightseeing around Kratovo.
During the reign of the medieval Christian rulers, Kratovo lived its days of glory as important mining center and economical center on the trade routes between ancient Dubrovnik (Ragusa) to Thessaloniki and Constantinople (Istanbul). Miners from Saxony, as well as Sephardic Jews settled in Kratovo, and they were responsible for the town development. The importance of Kratovo can also be judged through the visit of Sultan Murad who together with his army headed towards Kosovo, but stayed in Kratovo in order to visit the already famous town of gold and silver.
Once there were 12 medieval guard towers, but now one can notice six towers which primarily served miners, chiefs and guards. The Kratovo bridges are another characteristic of this town made by old masters. The town also boasts unique and interesting architecture from the 19th century.