This is a stunning building, and quite a collection of items. The first impression is of light. The Christian message is not subtle – the whole building from above is shaped like a cross, and there’s a literal ascension into light – and I doubt the whole experience would make sense to people who don’t understand just how beloved this boy was. I knew just a little about him, and at first found it very strange, but it’s moving nonetheless.
Photographs of the inside are forbidden now, but there’s a good collection here:
Description of the concept, site, etc., can be found here:
You enter below ground level, passing artefacts from his childhood (his first guitar, report cards, baby clothes and small toys), a life-size display of his recording studio, and day-to-day items (jackets, a travel shaving kit, boxing gloves) and books that shaped his later spirituality. All along the way are video clips, on screens in the walls, or on free-standing pillars. You ascend to the upper level surrounded by what I think are lyrics to his songs, to a level full of tour clothes and fan tributes. There’s a small gift shop up there too, mostly of CDs, DVDs, and tee-shirts.
It’s unsettling to see a memorial on this scale to someone who died so recently, and who was so young (he was born in 1981, and died in 2007). That makes all these artefacts too new to be in a museum. Among his childhood toys was a small plastic Disney Aladdin, the kind you’d get in a McDonald’s Happy Meal.
About 10km from Kruševo, on a distant hill stands a manastir of Sv.Preobrazenie. (Holy Transfiguration???). Road has many sharp turns, and I wondered why the hell did they want to make it so far from, like, everything.
I suppose it has something to do with peace, meditation and distance from people.
But the view on surrounding is beautiful.
Makedonium is a monument dedicated to the Ilinden Uprising. The Ilinden uprising (so called because it started on Ilinden - St. Ilija's Day) was a turning-point in the national and revolutionary struggle of the Macedonian people. In range and character it was a true national revolution with deep political and social implications.
It began on 2 August 1903, and soon spread over the whole of Macedonia, albeit not everywhere with the same intensity. The fiercest fighting went on first in the area around Bitola, then in Ohrid, Kicevo, Lerin, Prilep, and other regions, with less pronounced fighting in the Solun, Seres, Skopje and Odrin districts. The towns of Krusevo, Nevska and Klisura were captured.
A surprised Turkish government took extensive military measures to quell the uprising: 176,000 soldiers, 3,700 mounted troops and 444 cannon's were sent to Macedonia. After fierce and heroic battles near Sliva and Meckin Kamen, the Turkish forces managed to destroy the Krusevo Republic and showed their customary cruelty in dealing with the rebels in Krusevo and other places. As a result, 201 communities were wiped out, 12,400 houses burned to the ground, more than 70,000 people were left homeless, and 8,816 were killed. Although some 30,000 people fled their homes to avoid reprisal's, the toll was indeed heavy.
The Uprising aroused great interest in Europe. Newspapers followed the course of events with close attention and great sympathy. They printed details of the cruel mass reprisals carried out by the Turks on the inhabitants in rebel strongholds. A powerful wave of protest followed; among the leading spokeman were Lav Tolstoy, Maxim Gorki, Anatole France, Jean Jaures, Victor Berard, Arthur Evans, Henry Brailsford, Georges Clemenceau and others.
In Britain, France, Italy and America, " Macedonian Committees " were set up, and organised mass meetings of support for the Macedonian rebels. Similar action was taken in Russia, Romania, and some other countries around the world.
Following the failure of this uprising, the Macedonian revolutionaries made an effort to close the ranks. At the Rila Congress (held in 1905 in Rila Monastery in Pirin Macedonia), despite differences of interest between the two sides, there was general condemnation of outside interference particularly by the Bulgarian Court, and the ultimate goal - the liberation of Macedonia - was confirmed.
Todor Toše Proeski (January 25, 1981 – October 16, 2007) was a Macedonian multi-genre singer, songwriter and actor. He was popular across the entire Balkan area and further north, and locally he was considered a top act of the Macedonian music scene. Proeski was known for his strong vocal performances and trademark quote "Ve sakam site" (I Love You All), and was once dubbed "Elvis Presley of the Balkans" by BBC News. He died in a car crash in Croatia on October 16, 2007. October 17 was pronounced a national day of mourning in Macedonia. The three days following his death were pronounced days of mourning in the City of Kruševo.
After his death, the government of the Republic of Macedonia, gave him the title "Honorable citizen of Macedonia
His grave on Kruševo graveyard is visited by lost of fans from all around the Europe each day.
Toshe Proeski was a young and very talented singer, famous all over the balkan region, who died in a tragic car accident on October 16, 2007. He was burried in his hometown Kruševo with a state funeral and his grave has since become a place of pilgrimage and one of the main attractions in the town, attracting each weekend hundreds of tourists arriving in busses and private cars, changing the so far rather quiet place into a much more touristic site.
Even during his lifetime, the whole town of Kruševo was very fond of of "their" Toshe Proeski, and, likewise, Toshe Proeski was always proud of his hometown and helped the people and the local organisations with donations and charity concerts. Now, after his tragic death, the photos and memories of Toshe are omnipresent in Kruševo and there are already plans for a "Toshe Proeski Memorial" museum.
While the deep grief and mourning for Toshe is touching and understandable, I wonder whether the extreme worshipping of Toshe, akin to the veneration of a saint, is really in the spirit of the young artist, who -before his death- was always described to me as a unassuming and humble man, who even as a star stayed friends with his fellow citizens and communicated with them at eye-level.
When you travel around in Macedonia, you will soon discover that the orthodox church is investing massivly in new church spires and in the renovation of old churches. In Kruševo they are even building a brand new monastery on the ruins of the ancient monastery of Sv. Preobraženie. The monastery and the church are still being built, but nevertheless, visiting this spectacular site high up in the mountains is certainly worth the hike.
The late Kruševo born singer Toše Proeski, who died in a tragic car accident on October 16, was a big promotor and sponsor for reerecting this monastery high above Kruševo. After his death, people from Kruševo organized a collection for the monastery to finish the works in honor of Toše.
If you have a little bit more time, take another half hour to walk up all the way to mount Musica, the highest point in the Kruševo region at an elevaton of 1788 meters.
The Monastery of St Spas was built in 1836.
The Monastery stands out on a hill when you approach Krusevo from Prilep, but the turnoff for the Monastery (signposted) is low down in the valley before you start climbing up into Krusevo on the main road.
You can spend the night here for a few denars, just make sure you bring your own food. We stayed in a clean and recently restored room. Toilet and shower are in a separate part of the building.
From the Monastery of St Spas we hiked to Krusevo.
This was part of a trip that we did from Ohrid to Prilep and Krusevo, see the link below for more information.
Meckin Kamen (according to the Bradt Travel guide an hour´s hike uphill on the road to Bitola from hotel Montana, but we went by car) was the site of one of the battles against the Ottomans. According to the story, the Macedonians were heavily outnumbered and short of ammunition, so they started to throw rocks. The powerful statue shows a fighter throwing a huge rock. The Macedonians come here every August 2nd to celebrate the independence of Macedonia.
Our visit here was part of a 3-day trip from Ohrid-Prilep-Krusevo-Ohrid.
Nikola Karev is probably the most important hero of the Kruševo uprising of August 1903. He was the president of the short lived Republic of Kruševo from August 3 to 13, 1903. His memorial is located in the upper town, just where the streets from Pusta Reka and the Illinden Memorial come together.
Pitu Guli is, together with Nikola Karev, one of the most famous heroes of the Kruševo uprising of August 1903. He lwas the leader in the battle of Metčin Kamen. His memorial is located on the north side of Kruševo on the road going from the town center to Hotel Montana.
Manču Matak is one of the Most famous Kruševo hreo from the second world war. His memorial is in the very center of Kruševo, just below the church of Sv. Nikola. The photo was taken on September 8, the day Kruševo was liberated from the fashist rule in 1944. Every year on this day, Kruševo honours its heroes with flower.
I saw at least three museums recommended in Krushevo in a brochure. But as I arrived there a Tuesday morning in July, all three were closed. I managed to find an "office for the citizen" organized whith Canadian help, where English is spoken. There, they said the museum of Republic founding is open and confirmed it by phone. I went there once more and it was closed as before. I prefered not to argue again... You never know which punishment you'll get for that. If you want to see more or the less the same, visit the exposition in Sveti Spas in Skopje.
Enjoy the landscape and the singular local architecture. Try to hear a phrase in Aromunian- that also will be difficult.
The Ilinden Uprising monument is on the opposite side of Krusevo of the Meckin Kamen monument. The monument contains the tomb of Nikola Karaev, who was made president of the Republic of Krusevo in 1903 after the Ilinden uprising against the Ottomans.
We visited Krusevo during a 3 day trip from Ohrid-Prilep-Krusevo, see my other tips.
Behind Gumenja, the hill with the Ilinden Monument, there is a small artificial lake. In the hot season it becomes "Kruševo Beach" where people come and take a cool swim. On the other side of the dam, there is even a little camping during summer time.
Kruševo's chairlift connects the town with the skilifts on the slopes on the hills above. A few years ago it was renovated and is now painted in friendly yellow and green. From the upper station one has a spectacular view down to Kruševo. The chairlift operates mainly during the ski season. In summer you can easily walk up either along the aisle or in the shadow of the forest.