The Stone Bridge
Zovich is a village in Municipality of Novaci, located at 680 meters above sea level, 49km away from the city of Bitola. The village revives during the summer months when returnees and tourists visit the village, but also during the holiday “Mitrovden” (November 8 – St. Dimitrij, St. Demetrius), the day when the village celebrates its patron saint. The “Stone Bridge” near the village or also known as the “Movie Bridge” is one of the most beautiful architectural creations in all of Mariovo. It is made of carved stone and prone stone blocks. It has an arc shape, adapted to the configuration of the terrain. In the lower part adjacent to the river on the side of the village, a watermill was built, which until recently was used by the local population. The watermill is also built of carved stone and covered with stone slabs as all traditional houses in the region of Mariovo.
Alšar, an ancient mine located in the region of Mariovo, is said to contain minerals that are found nowhere else on the planet. The rarest of them all—the lorandite, a crystal of thallium. The lorandite is thought to have the potential to unravel the so-called "neutrino puzzle". By serving as a geochemical detector of the neuron, the lorandite could validate or disprove the theory of the standard solar system. In simple terms—it would let us understand the work of the Sun. The Ottomans, who ruled the peninsula until the beginning of the 20th century, called it Majdan (the word for "mine" in Turkish). This was also the name given to the nearest village. They explored for gold. But they were not the first ones at the mine. According to some, the mine has existed for over 5,000 years. The mine has been closed for decades.
Monastery of Saint Nikola
The Monastery of St. Nikola is located in the beautiful wilderness of the Mariovo region, near the village of Manastir, and is one of the oldest monasteries in the Republic of Macedonia. According to an inscription located on the southern and northern walls of the central nave, the church was built in 1005 by Alexius, the cousin of the Byzantine emperor Alexius Comnenus. The Abbot Akakie, who before his monastic vows was called Joanikis in 1266 raises the present church, on the foundation of the small already ruined church in 1095. The entire church is fresco painted, and definitely is among the highlights of the Byzantine and medieval architectural and artistic legacy of Macedonia and the Balkans.
The village of Vitolishte is the biggest village in the region of Mariovo. It is located on Mt. Kozjak, on the right coast of Crna river (an area known as Old Mariovo). Visitors of the village enjoy the rustic ambient, beautifully preserved traditional architecture, as well as the dairy products such as the famous "bieno sirenje" (special type of salty cow cheese produced in the area).
Bonche is a village in the Prilep part of Mariovo. In September 2007 archaeological excavations revealed a tomb of what is believed to be the burial site of a Macedonian king dating 4th century BC. The finds in the area also revealed that on the high mountain plateau Visoka in the 4th century BC was formed a small, but solid and representative early ancient palace, assumed to be the seat of the Kingdom of Macedonia IV (one of the four administrative units - meridas - of the ancient Macedonian kingdom after it was finally conquered by the Romans in 168 BC). The coins that were concurrently discovered belong to the Macedonian kings. The photo here shows the entrance of the burial site.
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Mariovo is the mountainous region in southern Macedonia known for its natural beauties and uniquely wonderful white traditional costumes. The Mariovo area is somewhat large, but since there has been no urban development in these spaces over the past century, this region contains no actual urban settlements and towns, but only rustic villages, that represent one of the most distinctive ethnic clarity and common identity of the Orthodox Slavic population in Macedonia. Mariovo is situated at the average elevation of 1050 meters, between the mountains Selechka (highest peak – Visoka 1471 m) on the west, Nidze Mt (highest peak – Kajmakchalan 2520 m) and Kozhuf (highest peak – Zelenbeg 2171 m) on the south, Kozjak (highest peak – Baltova Chuka 1822 m) in the east and Dren (mountain) (highest peak – Studenica 1663 m) in the north. Those majestic mountains of Mariovo area divide the Vardar part of Macedonia and the Aegean part of Macedonia. The largest village in Mariovo is Vitolište, situated in Prilep’s municipality.
Mariovo suffered heavy population decrease during the years of the First World War, as the front lines of the Macedonian front were in this region, so the heavy fighting which took place in the area caused massive migration of the local population to Prilep and other areas of Macedonia. Another big migration took place during the 1960s and 1970s, in the years of rapid industrialization of Macedonia, when the newly opened factories in the cities required workers, and this triggered another mass migration, which devastated the economy of the entire region. Today Mariovo has less than 500 permanent residents which live on a huge territory of 1390 sq km.