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Lazaropole: Village of Legends

I n the last 100 years Macedonia experienced extreme urbanization resulting in the move of the rural population into towns which have grown without plan leaving the villages deserted. Thus many big villages with long histories became depopulated ghost places leaving the stories of their past grandeur only in the memories of a few new urban dwellers.

Lazaropole is one such village nested in the legendary Mijak area between Mavrovo and Debar artificial lakes. Lazaropole is not as famous as its neighbour and rival Galicnik, nor has it been revived to the same extent. But at the same time its legends and some renovated houses representative of the traditional architectural style of the region make it a perfect destination, especially in the autumn. Lazaropole is in the bounds of Mavrovo National park, but it lies much higher than the lake. It can be reached both from Mavrovo village and from the Radika River valley near the Monastery of St. John Bigorski. Situated on a flat hilltop plateau, Lazaropole is perfect for long walks in a fantastic oak and beech forest scenery and breathing some of the cleanest air in the country at the elevation of 1350 meters, the altitude at which only a few settlements are built in the country. The mild mountain climate due to the influence of the Mediterranean which extends along the River Radika, gives the area over 2000 sunny hours per year. Scents of mountain flowers, fascinating views of the summits of the surrounding mountains, the herds of wild horses as well as the opportunity to take horse riding lessons at the nearby farm make a visit to the village a splendid experience. Read more …