About 12 km south-east of Strumica you can find the well preserved ruins of an ancient Roman bath house. They are located near the village of Bansko. This bath house dates back to the 3rd to 4th centuries AD. The bath house used the thermal mineral water of the spring Parilo located next to the site. The site was discovered in 1978 during the construction of a hotel. So far 11 rooms of the spa have been uncovered. The waters emerging from the springs of Bansko are considered the warmest in Macedonia. Their temperature reaches 72C, and they have great medicinal properties.
Monastery of Holy Mother of God
Monastery of St Bogorodica Eleusa (Holy Mother of God - Eleusa) is located in the village of Veljusa. Since 1996 its a female monastery. The Monastery St Bogorodica Eleusa has a very well kept garden and is an oasis of peace. The panorama over the village and the Strumica region is magnificent.
This monastery was built in 1080 AD by the bishop Manuel of Strumica, and was dedicated to the Holy Mother of God (Holy Virgin) Eleusa of Tenderness.
The monastery is important because of its architectural layout, 11th century frescoes, floor mosaic, and the marble iconostass. It has suffered fires in 1913 and 1968. An interesting fresco of Jesus at the age of 12 can be seen on the ceiling of the eastern cupola.
Monastery of Saint Leonthius
The Monastery of St Leonthius is found in the village of Vodocha. This monastery is built at the grounds of an earlier temple, which was built there after the defeat of Tsar Samuil's army in the battle of Belasica, in which 15.000 of his men were blinded by Byzantine soldiers.
A fresco in the church reminds of this terrible fact. Right next to the church dedicated to St. Leonthius lie the ruins of the original church. The church was damaged by an earthquake in 1931, but was restored in 1995. The church is quite big and remarkably simple, and one can see parts of the original walls. Allegedly, relics of the wife and son of Saint Cyrillus are kept in the vaults of the church. The monastery is dedicated to St Leonthius, who was martyred in 320 AD for refusing to renounce Christianity. He was frozen to death in Lake Sebaste in eastern Turkey.
The waterfall is part of the Lomnica River and is located deep in Mt. Belasica, at an elevation of 630 metres. Crashing down the smooth, black rock face, and surrounded by 100-year-old beech trees, this waterfall is visited by tourists throughout the year. To reach the majestic beauty of the Smolare Waterfall, visitors must wind their way up a nature path which includes 300 stone steps made from natural materials. Once at the site, deep within the forest, tourists can gaze at the waterfall from a wooden bridge constructed in front of the crashing water, enjoying the refreshing spray as the waterfall collides with the rock face and meets the river below.
The Koleshino waterfall gently falls over the stone cliffs nestled in the forest of Mt. Belasica at a height of 19 metres in multiple watery streams, only to reform into the river below. The waterfall is beautiful in every season, and continually changes to reflect nature which surrounds it. In the winter, these fragile streams can freeze, while in springtime, strengthened by the recent rainfalls, the gentle streams rush more powerfully over the cliff sides.
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Strumica is the largest city in eastern Macedonia, near the Novo Selo-Petrich border crossing with Bulgaria. About 100,000 people live in the region surrounding the city. It is named after the Strumica River which runs through it. The city is also the main agricultural center in the Republic of Macedonia. It has food industry, textile factories and a developed domestic and international trade network.
The town was first mentioned in 2nd century BC with the Hellenic name Αστραίον (Astraîon, Hellenic for “starry” by Ptolemy and Pliny). It was later known as Tiveriopolis; it received its present name from the Slavic settlers of the Middle Ages. In modern Greek the town is known as Στρώμνιτσα (Strómnitsa), and its name in Turkish is Ustrumca.
There are number of sites in the vicinity of Strumica. If one feels like hiking then they should visit the nearby Mt. Belasica and the dazzling waterfalls of Smolare and Koleshino. Visitors shouldn’t leave without experiencing the exquisite solitude of Vodocha and Veljusa, two nearby Byzantine monasteries where monks and nuns still live, and are quite known for their fresco paintings, mosaics and immense historical legacy.