Kratovo Things to Do

  • Rotunda at Golemo Gradiste
    Rotunda at Golemo Gradiste
    by Pijlmans
  • Rotunda at Golemo Gradiste
    Rotunda at Golemo Gradiste
    by Pijlmans
  • Rotunda at Golemo Gradiste
    Rotunda at Golemo Gradiste
    by Pijlmans

Most Recent Things to Do in Kratovo

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    Golemo Gradiste (I)

    by Pijlmans Updated Sep 2, 2013

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    Golemo Gradiste (Big Building Site) is a hill that rises about 100 meters above the Kriva river. It served as the acropolis of a fortified ancient city.

    There are many man-made adjustments to be seen in the rocks of the hill, such as rooms cut into the rock, stairs, niches etc.

    Pottery of the 4th-6th centuries has been found here, and evidence suggests that people were living at Golema Gradiste in the prehistoric, Hellenistic, late Roman/late antique and medieval periods.

    About 160 meter south of the hill Golemo Gradiste, there are the ruins of an unusual early Byzantine church in the form of a Rotunda. Next to the Rotunda a new small church was built.

    The roofless Church of St George is about 300 meter southwest of Golemo Gradiste and 400 meter west of the Rotunda.

    For more information about Golemo Gradiste, you can read the paper "Archaeological Investigation at Konjuh, Republic of Macedonia, in 2000" by Carolyn S. Snively. You can download this paper here: http://www.doaks.org/resources/publications/dumbarton-oaks-papers/dop56/dp56ch17.pdf/view. In case the link does not work, let me know and I will send you the paper.

    In my opinion, it is best to go here with a guide. You probably will miss a lot when there's nobody to tell you what to look at. Our guide was Stevce from the Municipal Center of Rock Art in Kratovo. He came with us in our car, and we visited Golema Gradiste, the locality Cocev Kamen, and the Stone Dolls with him. That trip took us about 8 hours and was less than 15 euros!

    Golemo Gradiste is located 41 km east of Skopje near the village Konjuh, south of the Kumanovo-Kriva Palanka highway, not far from Kratovo. It is about 2 km away from the locality Cocev Kamen, on the other site of the asphalt road leading to Cocev Kamen. You have to walk from the asphalt road to both localities, unless you have a 4x4. Note that this asphalt road was more holes than road in 2010, so drive carefully...

    See also my Golem Gradiste tips (II), (III), (IV) and the link below for more pictures in the travelogues.

    Golemo Gradiste Rotunda Church Golemo Gradiste Golemo Gradiste Church of St George at Golemo Gradiste
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    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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    Cocev Kamen

    by Pijlmans Updated Apr 10, 2012

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    The locality Cocev Kamen (or Tsotse's Stone) is an prehistoric observatory similar to Kokino near Kumanovo. Besides, it was used for sacrificial rituals and as a temple.

    Rocks art (paintings on the rocks) is found here as well.

    Cocev Kamen is a spectacular rock formation near Sopsko Rudare, about 45 minutes by car from Kratovo. Although it is an asphalt road, drive carefully because there are many holes in the road.

    There are some natural shallow caves in this rock, and many man-made structures in the rock as well, such as stairs and holes for e.g. wooden piles used to built walls.

    In early times, the entrance to the rock was closed-off by massive wooden gates, you can still see the holes that were cut in the rocks to support gates and piles.

    For more information and pictures, see my Travelogues in the link below.

    In my opinion, it is best to go there with a guide. You probably will miss a lot when there's nobody to tell you what to look at. Our guide was Stevce from the Municipal Center of Rock Art in Kratovo. He came with us in our car, and we visited Cocev Kamen, the old Roman Rotunda Church and the Church of St George at the site Golemo Gradiste, and the Stone Dolls near Kuklica with him. That trip took us about 8 hours and was less than 15 euros!

    Another megalithic observatory in Macedonia is Kokino near Kumanovo, which is actually more famous than Cocev Kamen.

    Cocev Kamen - note the stairs Cocev kamen - Frame cut in the rocks Cocev Kamen - man-made reservoir Cocev Kamen - Altar Cocev Kamen - Megalith

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    Stone Dolls

    by Pijlmans Updated Oct 2, 2010

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    The Stone Dolls, or Kameni Kukli, are strange stone pillars that have been formed 10 million years ago by erosion.

    They are near the village of Kuklica, south of the road from Kumanovo to Kriva Palanka, and close to Kratovo.

    We went here by car together with a guide from the Municipal Center of Rock Art of Kratovo.

    One bridge close to the Stone Dolls was damaged and/or in repair, but could be crossed, otherwise it was easy to get there. This is in contrast to what is written in the Bradt Travel Guide Macedonia (second edition), where it is stated that a 4x4 vehicle is necessary. The road nowadays is asphalted.

    Follow the link below to my Kuklica page for more information and pictures.

    Stone Dolls; The Face Stone Dolls Stone Dolls; The Kiss Stone Dolls Stone Dolls

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    Golemo Gradiste (IV): Basilica

    by Pijlmans Updated Oct 1, 2010

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    North of the acropolis, below the hill of Golemo Gradiste, is an excavation site where according to the map also a basilica was found.

    We did not descend to the basilica, but the pictures show the site seen from the acropolis.

    Golemo Gradiste Golemo Gradiste
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    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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    Golemo Gradiste (II): Room cut into the cliff

    by Pijlmans Updated Oct 1, 2010

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    The most recognizable feature on the western part of the acropolis of Golemo Gradiste is a room that was created by digging horizontally into the cliff face.

    This room included a rock-cut bed under a window, benches and a tomb in the middle of the floor.

    The doorway opens onto a terrace, and cuttings in the rock above the entrance suggest that a porch or a second room was built in front of the room in the rocks.

    Above and around this terrace are niches, stairs, footholds and handholds carved into the rock.

    Room in the rocks Stairs Room in the rocks Room in the rocks Tomb in the room
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    • Archeology

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    Map of Golemo Gradiste

    by Pijlmans Updated Oct 1, 2010

    1) North gate
    2) Area of cemetery
    3) Basilica
    4) Fortification wall
    5) Acropolis
    6) Room cut into cliff
    7) Modern Bridge
    8) City gate
    9) Roman Rotunda Church
    10) Church of St George at Golemo Gradiste
    11) Cemetery Church

    This map was copied from the paper Archaeological Investigation at Konjuh, Republic of Macedonia, in 2000 by Carolyn S. Snively. You can download this paper here:http://www.doaks.org/publications/doaks_online_publications/DOP56/DP56ch17.pdf. In case the link does not work, let me know and I will send you the paper.

    Golemo Gradiste

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    Church of St George at Golemo Gradiste

    by Pijlmans Updated Oct 1, 2010

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    The roofless Church of St George is about 300 meter southwest of Golemo Gradiste and 400 meter west of the Roman Rotunda Church.

    It is located on the cemetery of Konjuh.

    A fragment of a Roman tombstone was built into one of the walls, see the pictures.

    The proposed dates of the construction run from the 14th to the 16th century. It is not known when the roof collapsed, but it happened before 1938 when the church was already reported to be roofless.

    Remains of frescoes can still be seen on the walls (see the pictures).

    In 1954 the Church of St George was declared a "monument of culture" and placed under legal protection.

    Church of St George at Golemo Gradiste Church of St George Church of St George Church of St George Church of St George
    Related to:
    • Religious Travel
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel

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    Rotunda at Golemo Gradiste

    by Pijlmans Updated Oct 1, 2010

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    About 160 meter south of the hill called Golemo Gradiste, there are the ruins of an unusual early Byzantine church in the form of a Rotunda.

    The Rotunda probably dates back to the 6th century.

    Local villagers excavated the building in 1919.

    Next to the Rotunda a new small church was built, an inscription next to the door says it was built in 1955. This modern chapel was built over the northwest apsidal room of the Rotunda.

    The inscription DOMATRIRS has been found at the Rotunda, which is interpreted as "domus martyris", suggesting that the Rotunda had served as a martyrium. More about this you can read in the book "Loca Sanctorum Macedoniae" by Blaga Aleksova.

    For more information about Golemo Gradiste and the Rotunda, you can read the paper Archaeological Investigation at Konjuh, Republic of Macedonia, in 2000 by Carolyn S. Snively. You can download this paper here:http://www.doaks.org/publications/doaks_online_publications/DOP56/DP56ch17.pdf. In case the link does not work, let me know and I will send you the paper.

    Rotunda at Golemo Gradiste Rotunda at Golemo Gradiste Rotunda at Golemo Gradiste New Chapel at Rotunda New Chapel at Rotunda
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    Municipal Center of Rock Art

    by Pijlmans Updated Oct 1, 2010

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    The Center of Rock Art is a one-room information center about Kratovo and surroundings.

    They can provide you with guides to visit Kratovo, the locality Cocev Kamen, the archeological site Golemo Gradiste with its Roman Rotunda Church and Church of St George, the locality Stone Dolls, etc. There is a lot to see and do around Kratovo!

    The owner and guide, Stevce Donevski, does not speak English, but he can hook you up with guides that do, or take along somebody who translates for you.

    The Center of Rock art sells various booklets and flyers about the surrounding attractions as well.

    Stevce came with us for a whole day in our car to visit Cocev kamen, Golemo Gradiste and the Stone Dolls. Without Stevce and his explanations it would have been impossible to find all the important objects that make these sites worth a visit. His services for a whole day cost 800 MKD, about 13 euros.

    Opening times:
    Monday-Saturday 08.00 - 20.00
    Sunday between 09.00 - 16.00

    Municipal Center of Rock Art Municipal Center of Rock Art
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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel

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    Kratovo views

    by Pijlmans Updated Oct 1, 2010

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    Pictures of Kratovo.

    On the main picture you can see the old bazaar, which if found close to the Bazaar Bridge. This used to be a vibrant place where craftsmen sold their products in these small shops, now it looks rather deserted.

    Kratovo - Old bazaar Kratovo - House of Culture Kratovo Kratovo

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    House of Culture / Museum

    by Pijlmans Updated Oct 1, 2010

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    This museum is next to the Bazaar Bridge and the Ottoman Prison.

    When we were there, the paintings of an art colony for children were on display.

    The museum is housed in a former inn.

    House of Culture / Museum

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    Ruins of a defense tower

    by Pijlmans Updated Oct 1, 2010

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    I don't know the name of this Defense Tower.

    It is close to the Srez Tower and Krste's Tower.

    ruins of a defense tower

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    Clock Tower, Kratovo

    by Pijlmans Updated Oct 1, 2010

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    Originally there were twelve defense towers in Kratovo, now only six remain. They are called Hadzi Kostava, Saat (meaning clock), Simitceva, Krste's Tower, Srez Tower or Emin-Bey and Zlatkoviceva tower. The last one that was damaged in 1929, the Hadzi Kostava tower, was rebuilt in 1957.

    These are pictures of the Saat Tower, or Clock Tower.

    The towers originally did not have stairs and you could only access the higher floors with a ladder. The villagers could hide from the enemy in the upper levels of the tower, and take the ladder up with them. From there they could defend themselves against their attackers with weapons, rocks and hot oil.

    Clock Tower, Kratovo Clock Tower, Kratovo Clock Tower, Kratovo
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    Defense towers in Kratovo

    by Pijlmans Updated Oct 1, 2010

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    Originally there were twelve defense towers in Kratovo, now only six remain. They are called Hadzi Kostava, Saat (Clock Tower), Simitceva, Krsteva (Krste's Tower), Emin-bey or Srez Tower and Zlatkoviceva tower.

    The last one that was damaged in 1929, the Hadzi Kostava tower, was rebuilt in 1957.

    The towers originally did not have stairs and you could only access the higher floors with a ladder. The villagers could hide from the enemy in the upper levels of the tower, and take the ladder up with them. From there they could defend themselves against their attackers with weapons, rocks and hot oil.

    Defense tower in Kratovo Defense tower in Kratovo Defense tower in Kratovo Defense tower in Kratovo

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    Srez Tower

    by Pijlmans Updated Oct 1, 2010

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    One of the defense towers in Kratovo.

    According to the sign attached to the tower it is called Srez Tower, but I think it is also called Emin Bey Tower.

    It is found next to Krste's Tower.

    Srez Tower Srez Tower Srez Tower Srez Tower and Krste's tower (right)
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    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel
    • Archeology

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