Guide to SKOPJE

Wonderful tranquility of Treskavec Monastery

Treskavec Monastery is one of the most beautiful but remote and inaccessible places in Macedonia. This ancient sanctuary is wrapped in mystique and thunderbolts, which gave the monastery its name.

Surrounded by mystery, lying on a pentagonal rocky bed it watches over the town of Prilep. It is situated at an altitude of 1300m about 6km north of Prilep and 2km south of Gorno Selo. There are vertical rocks fencing it off to the north and west, and Zlatovrv Peak (1422), the most imposing landmark visible from over 20 kilometres away, towers over it from the south. There you have a spectacular view of Pelagonia valley and the towns of Prilep, Bitola and Krusevo.

Ancient remnants

Archaeological findings suggest that there was a temple on top of the mountain in ancient times. Two inscriptions on marble pedestals from Roman times (2nd – 3rd century BC) have been found. They are dedicated to Apollo (also known as Etheudanos – god of thunder) and Artemide, and mention the name of the place known as Kolobaisa in antiquity. Archaeologists have also excavated tombs dating from Hellenic and Roman times, which proves that priests and devotees lived in and around the temple, and pilgrims travelled from afar to visit Kolobaisa. At the end of the Classical Period a Christian church was built on the foundations of the ancient temple leaving only a few scattered pieces of marble columns and other decorations.

Medieval times

The monastery church dedicated to the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God dates back to the 14th century and was built on the foundations of an earlier church. The monastery complex is fenced with a tall stone wall and consists of a monastery dormitory, warehouses, barns, cellars and other buildings built for the needs of the huge property and monastic economy. In the 13th century Prilep’s marketplace had to pay 100 perpers of tax a year to the monastery and during the uncertain times of the late 14th century the fortified monastery served as a shelter for the local population.

How to get to Treskavec

If you travel from Skopje it takes two and a half hours to get to Prilep. There are two routes – you can take the E75 motorway with 132km to go, or the E75 and M5 with 118km to go. A return bus ticket costs 550 den. (€9), whereas a train ticket is 450 den. (€7).
Prilep is only 50km away from Bitola. A return bus ticket is 190 den. (€3). Considering the fact that Bitola is near the Macedonian-Greek border we highly recommend all Greek tourists to visit the monastery that will surely impress them with its unique beauty.

Once you’ve arrived in Prilep it is best to continue the journey on foot. A tour we recommend to people who seek adventure and are physically fit. It takes about two hours to walk about 6km to reach the top. The trekking path is steep and leads through rocks and short grass with no trees in sight. Those who are not in the mood for adventure should take a 4WD terrain vehicle since the road that leads to the monastery is in a bad condition.

Sasho Noveski