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Biking tour: The Monastery Tour

This is a very extraordinary journey. Not only you will enjoy the beautiful nature on the hillsides of this western part of the mountain Skopska Crna Gora, but you will also experience the history and the orthodox middle-aged lifestyle.

The ride starts in Gluvo, an old village from the 13th century, and very popular nowadays because of its new symbol of the village, GLUVOWOOD. The first place we are about to see is the Monastery St. Ilija as we head 5km northwest on a nice asphalt road. This monastery from the 14th century, with its church built in the cave, has a beautiful garden and typical orthodox lodgings and it was the first priest school in the country. The people you meet here are renting rooms in the lodging as they come to enjoy the monastery property, the environment, and the mountain, and are always willing to share some stories about the history and the legends of this place. The biggest event organized by the monastery is on the 2nd of August, the national holiday, Ilinden, as the monastery organizes huge festivity.

From the monastery begins the very well kept off-road, which will take us through the mountain in the next 23 kilometers. The now jeep road presents an old gap in the mountain and there are clear to see rests of the “kaldrma”- Turkish style made a road of stones, that was purposely built for the needs of the habitants and villagers to contact, sell and buy things with the other villages from the other side of the mountain massif. It also opened the possibility of traveling towards Kosovo and the Kumanovo region in the North. People used this road very frequently with donkeys to bring goods all over the mountain and abroad.

4 kilometers later, the next small monastery we will meet is the well-hidden “John the Baptist”, which was built by the locals from the villagers of Banjani and Brazda, and not long ago renewed to be kept safe. People used to bring their children here, baptize them traditionally and make a big gathering. This is the perfect opportunity for the second 10 minutes break and a photoshoot with the church bell.

As we go on, we will move towards the “Banjanski Preslap” pass. The height difference will come up until 610m from the start. Banjanski Preslap presents a crossroad and this was a very structural point through the centuries as the people were traveling north, east, or west. If we choose to go east we will come above the village of Brodec and take the attractive ridge of the mountain that can take us to Arachinovo or even to some Kumanovo villages. Here are some abandoned “house-like” places to find, bunkers, etc. This place played a very strategic role in the crisis of 2001. Going right we continue our tour to the sheep perch of shepherd Dzemo. Dzemo is a very well-known man from this part of the mountain because of his lifestyle, here in the middle of the mountain(nowhere), with his best friends – the sheep. He loves to tell stories and hang around.

From this point on we will get some views towards Kosovo and the village of Blace. We will ride generally down and experience a strong and adrenalin full downhill. We will make the last break at the old watering-place where the natural border to Kosovo will wave at us with its natural beauty.

The last two points of our tour will be the monasteries of the “Holy Mother of God” and the well-known medieval “St. Nicetas”,  built around 1300, by the Serbian king Milutin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_St._Nicetas,_Banjane

We will end the tour in Gluvo again, in the ethnо restaurant Ribilisimo, with the best traditional recipes in the neighborhood.

This road is highly recommended in spring, summer, and early autumn.

Don’t miss this opportunity.

Tour details:  37 km length (28km off-road), positive altitude:  +/ – 990m

*Early bookings needed for the restaurant.

*English and German guiding.

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