The longest month of the year is finally over. The days are still cold but sunny, and by looking at the sun going higher above the horizon I can tell that spring is on its way. This I believe is the perfect time to start working on your must-see list for the coming year. In case you are out of ideas for a weekend getaway, my first suggestion is Kuklica village near Kratovo where you will find the stone pillars and petrified wedding party. Kuklica, one of the most beautiful nature’s rarities in Macedonia, is situated in Osogovo region eight kilometers northwest of Kratovo. It is a nature’s work of art over 50 thousand years old created by vertical erosion of porous volcanic rock.
The stone dolls site is actually a complex of several hundred stone figures where nature has carved a masterpiece beyond human comprehension. There are 120 smaller and 15 large stone pillars.
They are an astounding natural phenomenon created by erosion and climate changes that took place in the past. Tourists refer to it as the Stone Town and it has an interesting legend behind it that will not leave you indifferent and surely make you visit the site.
According to legend, great tragedy happened in the village of Kuklica. A village girl was desperately in love with a young man but he decided to marry another girl, and so the forlorn lover threw a curse on the newlyweds. When the wedding day came everything seemed perfectly fine: relatives and other guests arrived and the celebration began. The moment the newlyweds kissed the curse took effect and all the people at the wedding party were petrified. They stand until this day to bear witness to the anguish of the unfortunate girl. Among locals the place is known as “The Merry Wedding” because the guests are still smiling and the bride and groom remained petrified in a tender hug.
With a little imagination, every visitor can fill the gaps in the story, because it is little known what happened to the girl who cursed them. Locals tell that their ancestors tried to break the curse but failed. Also, in about every 5 to 6 years a new doll appears between the two parts of the village – Upper and Lower Kuklica. The bride and groom are the most impressive figures accompanied by their bridesmaid and brother-in-law. They are the largest and are directly looking at each other’ eyes – say the villagers.
We need to take into consideration the scientific aspect of this phenomenon that is quite opposite the legend. Scientists claim that the stone dolls were created even before any kind of life appeared on the planet by vertical erosion of volcanic rock.
Kratovo and Kuklica village are best known for the specific products of erosion called earth pyramids or stone dolls that scientists claim have been created 10 million years ago. Vertical erosion of volcanic rocks created “dolls” which are over ten metres tall and dominate the landscape. In the course of long years nature sculpted a rare masterpiece.
These processes that began over ten thousand years ago continue to this day with some earth pyramids gradually being destroyed and others created. The pyramids are constantly changing shape but the process is slow and cannot be observed over several months or a year. The phenomenon of earth pyramids or stone dolls is a rare occurrence and it requires special geological, geomorphological, climate and vegetation conditions. This is especially evident in the well expressed pillars in Kuklica, therefore the site is protected as a natural rarity. Also, it is strictly prohibited to undertake any activities that could endanger the site or the individual pillars and reduce ambient value or the natural landscape of the place.
Natural phenomenon or legend it is for you to decide, but Kuklica is the perfect must-see place that needs to be on your list for spring weekend getaways.
Text and photo: Kristina Angeleska