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The Symphony of Bell Towers

Krusevo (pronounced ‘krushevo’) remains one of the most beautiful Macedonian towns. A unique combination of a picturesque location, traditional architecture, rare crafts and recreational facilities turn it into a magnet for tourists.

The traditional architecture of the town is deeply associated with its formation. The city started from scratch when refugee Vlach (Aromanian) population settled here after their hometown of Moskopole (in presentday Albania) was destroyed in 1778 by the notorious Ottoman ruler Ali-Pasa. Both Moskopole and Krusevo lie on considerable elevations, have a similar urban shape, and the same number of churches. The Vlachs retained their old economy consisting of stock breeding and trading, thus preserving and developing their trades over time. In Krusevo, the architectural style developed in an original way relying on the masonry skills of the neighbouring Mijak masters who were widely known as excellent builders. They inhabited the town together with other communities who felt insecure in the plains where many gangs constantly attacked the villages. The houses they built are free standing, mostly symmetrical, without open spaces typical of other towns in Macedonia. The backs of the houses are built of stone, while the front is of the so-called bondruk construction of wooden columns and beams covered with white plaster. There is almost always a well in the ground floor. The main façades are characterized by painted decorations in blue, often with Masonic symbols. A small balcony with a triangular pediment on the upper floor accentuates the symmetry of the house.

Large churches subtly dominate this condensed urban fabric. They are mostly three-nave basilicas built in busy locations. The frescoes, icons and iconostases are evidence of the wealth of the residents and examples of the artistic style of the religious painting and building of the 19th century, when the majority of them were built. Read more …