“Sharkova Dupka” Cave
“Sharkova Dupka” is located in the Municipality of Mavrovo-Rostushe, in Mavrovo National Park, near the winter tourist resort, more precisely in the vil. Mavrovo. This beautiful cave is located in the vicinity of the last village houses. There is a 10-minute walk to the entrance along the pathway and stairs. The “Sharkova Dupka” cave, which is open for tourists, is protected by an iron door and bars, it is decorated with winding metal staircase and is fully lit by reflectors. The cave is at a depth of about 20 meters from its entrance, it is about 18m wide and 25m long. In the lower part of the cave there is an opening that leads to two more cave halls, but due to lack of funds required for their adaptation, they are still unavailable for tourists. The cave was discovered more than three decades ago by the local population who were afraid to go inside. According to one of the stories related to the cave discovery, the villager whose nickname was Sharko, and who lived in the vicinity of the cave, was the first person to be brave enough to go inside. He had cut several trees, put them down the hole and, by using ropes and with his neighbors’ help, he managed to go inside the cave. Therefore, this cave beauty got the name “Sharkova Dupka” (“Sharko’s Hole”). Apart from this one, there are several other interesting stories about the cave. There is a map placed in front of the entrance door which explains the cave ornaments and the vivid fauna which is abundant in the “Sharkova Dupka” cave. The visitors are able to go down the cave along winding metal staircase leading to the first pit or hall, at about 20 meters underground. There, the temperature is below 12 degrees centigrade. This underground beauty is decorated with stalactites, stalagmites covered in corals, flowstone draperies and other cave decorations, which give an image of untouched beauty. Since the soil is rich in iron, most of the ornaments have the characteristic reddish-brown color. There is a variety of fauna in the “Sharkova Dupka” cave, such as: bats, spiders, lizards, and various types of insects. The cave is open to visitors in organized groups and is an ideal location for organizing educational excursions.
The visit may last up to 30 minutes depending on the group size.
“Bunec” Safari park (European Deer Reproduction Center)
This center covers territory of 430ha which is surrounded with protective fence. The visitors will be able to see the European deer in it, as well as the fallow deer, and the walk around the place is quite pleasant. The location is rich in beautiful relaxation places, many pavilions, a fountain of cold spring water, and an observation tower that has been recently built – it is an ideal place for wildlife viewing from where visitors can take beautiful photos. You will be guided throughout the safari park by skilled persons (Rangers) employed at the National Park. The tour around the safari park lasts from 1 to 2 hours. There is also a children’s educational trail within this location for children from 6 to 12 years of age.
Lokuv Glacial Lake
The Lokuv glacial lake is the lowest glacial lake in R. Macedonia and according to its position it represents a real tourist attraction. It is located on Deshat mountain at an altitude of about 1,568m above sea level, and it is a pride of the local people who have placed several benches for resting in its vicinity, there is a mountain dairy, a fountain with spring cold drinking water, etc. The location is accessible by walking for 8 kilometers through the mountain, along the marked hiking trails. There is a possibility of setting off from two different locations, one from the vil. Bitushe at the former military watchtower, and the other from the vil. Trebishte. There is also a possibility of hiring horses as the trail is of medium difficulty and almost throughout the entire course it is covered in amazing forest and shades. The trail is rich in pavilions from which the canyon of the river Radika, the Saint Jovan Bigorski monastery and other landscapes can be easily seen. At this location you can enjoy the beautiful look of this little known and still undiscovered (by the tourists) lake in which there are several interesting forms of life existing, from which the most famous one is the “Triton” – an amphibian resembling both a fish and a frog. There is a mountain dairy located near the lake in which you can try freshly made cheese, popular by the name “Trebishko cheese”, and other dairy products of this area. It is interesting that the lake water during the summer period is quite warm and the tourists visiting the place have an opportunity to enjoy the waters of a rare mountain beach. There are ideal picnic, camping, and mountain resting places around the lake. In the vicinity of the lake, at about 30 to 40 minutes walk, you can visit the several “mountain eyes” (small lakes with clean and clear water spread along the mountain slopes). Also, you can collect many different tea herbs in these places, as well as other plants which can be used for preparation of natural medicines. The most popular plant having perfectly natural taste, and present in large amounts, is the blueberry (which can be found in the higher parts of the mountain). If you take the trail from the vil. Bitushe, you can visit the first partisan printing shop in the village center. During the latest biological research of the lake water and its surrounding, the Italian experts have discovered many specific types of plants and insects which make this location especially significant.
St. Jovan Bigorski Monastery (St. John the Forerunner Bigorski Monastery)
This is a monastery complex known as one of the most noticeable and most significant in R. Macedonia. When going to Mavrovo National Park it is inevitable to visit this impressive building which was built 1,000 years ago. The monastery itself consists of several objects where in the last 20 years there have been monks who actively work and live there and independently maintain the monastery complex. They also take care of the believers and the tourists who come to visit the monastery. Especially interesting for the tourists is the old wooden iconostasis situated inside the church. The believers and the tourists can rest in the guest rooms, can have a conversation with the monks, and can buy religious souvenirs made by the monks themselves.
“Elen Skok” Bridge
The bridge is located on the way to the villages of Mala Reka – Lazaropole, Gari and Tresonche. It was built during the reign of the Ottomans, and according to some historians it was located on one of the branches of the Via Egnatia road. There are many stories about the reason why the Ottomans built this bridge, the most famous of which tells that it was built in the name of a deer’s courage. The deer which was severely wounded by a Turkish aga during hunting, besides the deadly wounds, managed to jump over the river Mala Reka and to escape on the other side. Realizing the courage of the animal as well as its desire and fight for survival, the aga ordered a bridge to be built on the same place in shape of a deer’s leap (“elenski skok”). The bridge used to connect several villages of Mala Reka to the region of Reka and Debar, and today it is a monument of the past and witness to the rich history of this region. There are several benches for resting by the bridge, and for the mountaineering admirers there is a marked mountain trail to the vil. Sushica. This trail from Sushica continues towards Galichnik, Tresonche or Lazaropole, and it is also suitable for cycling. During the tour you can visit several other museums and monuments of cultural and historical significance.
Duration: 4 to 6 hours
Duf Waterfalls – vil. Rostushe
The Duf waterfalls are located in the vicinity of vil. Rostushe, and you can reach them in about 30 minutes if you set off from the village center. The trail to the waterfalls is marked, well-made, and secured with a wooden fence. It is quite steep at several places, but most of it is easily passable. In order to reach the waterfalls you need to go through the canyon of Duf, which is up to 60 meters high and represents a real attraction. The place is also specific for its pleasant climate and the temperature is from 18 to 20 degrees centigrade even in the hottest summer periods. The river Rostushka flows through the canyon, which is widest in the spring period. The main attraction and a real enchanting view is the Duf waterfall by which the place got its name, and it is found at the end of the canyon. It is about 25m high, and there are several benches for resting in its vicinity where the visitors can spend memorable moments in nature. There is also a “classroom” for classes in the nature. It is interesting to be mentioned that now there is equipment placed on the waterfall itself (metal rings on which a rope can be attached) for descending by a rope. By the trail you can notice the remains of the first hydroelectric power plant in the region through which the region was supplied with electricity. In the past, most of the land and water of this part were used for cultivation and irrigation. The best period for visiting this location is from May to July when the largest amount of water flows through the river Rostushka and through the waterfalls. In the surrounding of the vil. Rostushe you can visit several local restaurants in which you can taste dishes prepared by the traditional recipes at previous order. There is a possibility for these dishes to be prepared for you by the local hosts.
The Mavrovo Lake
This lake represents a genuine pearl both in the National Park and in the Municipality. Although it is artificial, it still captivates with its beauty especially when it can be seen from the ski slopes of mountain Bistra. Besides fishing, the lake offers opportunities for camping, walks, etc. Around the lake there is a well-maintained asphalt road which is suitable for a journey around the entire Mavrovo region from the National Park, visiting the beautiful ski slopes, hotels, villas, and many other tourist facilities. One of the most impressive views that the lake offers is the old church submerged in the Mavrovo Lake, from which in a particular period of the year, when the lake water reaches its highest level, you can see only part of the roof and half of the bell tower. This church was submerged when the lake was created. The most popular resting locations around the lake are the place “Bojkov Kladenec”, “Crn Kamen”, as well as the old campsite located 2-3 kilometers from the dam in Mavrovi Anovi.
St. Nicholas Church
This church was built in 1857 in the Mavrovo field which existed at that time. The church was submerged in 1957 in the process of building the hydro systems of Mavrovo. Although it is underwater in the biggest period of the year, in rare occasions when the lake water withdraws, you can still see its solid construction. The church represents a particular symbol of the village and the wider region. Inside the church and in the yard, you can see old church elements and old tombs.
Picnic Point “Bojkov Kladenec”
It is located in the vicinity of the ski resort and it offers excellent possibility for organizing a picnic. The place is arranged with benches for resting, barbecue space, drinking fountain, and a covered area with a table at which a larger number of guests can be seated.
“Gorna Ledina” Picnic Location
The route starts from the area “Staparov Bridge” near the vil. Velebrdo or through a trail starting before the vil. Bitushe. The walk takes place along a partially marked trail which is well passable and goes through a pine tree forest which makes the journey especially pleasant. If you decide to take a shortcut and set off from the new trail before the vil. Bitushe, then you can reach this place, to some extent, by jeep and then on foot, in about 20-minute easy walking. You will arrive to a place where an interesting cottage has been built, placed on 4 trees and equipped with a relaxation bed, as well as with an improvised terrace with a beautiful view over the entire canyon of the river Radika. The place offers good conditions for mountain rest, and there are benches and a fountain with cold and clean spring water for drinking. In addition, the participants of this mountain activity can go sightseeing at the foot of mountain Deshat, and can collect certain species of plants and herbs which, in this place, can be found in abundance. After the rest at the cottage, the route continues along another trail from the place itself, and goes down along the mountain ridge from where you arrive at the waterfalls in 30 to 40 minutes. After that, you will descend into the canyon of Duf. Also, you can continue upwards to the mountain trails which lead to Krchin.
The Area of Vil. Lazaropole
Lazaropole is one of the settlements with highest altitude in the Republic of Macedonia, located at an altitude of 1,350m above sea level. You will be assured during your visit that it is one of the most attractive tourist locations on the Balkans. Here you can enjoy the beautiful nature and fantastic view everywhere around you, and most directly you will discover the invaluable cultural and historical heritage which represents an important part of the Macedonian and the entire civilization heritage. Lazaropole is located in the region of Reka, an area spreading among the towns of Mavrovo, Debar and Kichevo, and in the west it borders with the Republic of Albania. Together with the neighboring villages: Gari, Tresonche, Selce, Rosoki, Osoj and Mogorche, they make the so-called subregion of Mala Reka (“Malorekanski” subregion) that includes the areas along the flows of the rivers Mala Reka, Tresonechka and Garska, as well as a section of Stogovo mountain.
According to the legends, the village was created by the settlers who originated from vil. Glavino Selo, the biggest Mijak village in the past. Lazaropole was settled later than the other Mijak villages, but it was continuously attracting new Mijak settlers, which contributed to strengthening its Mijak identity. Cherishing the Mijak identity is present among the people of Lazaropole (“Lazorovci”) even today, not only as a form of tradition, but also as one of the most important elements of the cultural and historical heritage of the Mijaks and the region of Reka, and as an important part of the Macedonian identity.
In the past, the main economic activity was stock-breeding, which, according to the traditions and the natural surroundings, had an essential value. However, after the World War II the stock-breeding has been decreasing continuously, which is a consequence of the migration trends. During the 1970s the last family moved out of the village, by which Lazaropole turned from a village into a tourist settlement.
Accommodation and Food
You can find accommodation and food in Lazaropole at the Kalin Hotel, in the center of the village on the left of your present location, as well as in private accommodation facilities.
You can find further information on accommodation and food at:
– Private accommodation – Arso Gligurovski, Tel.: 070 / 451 007.
You can buy groceries at the local shop in the village center.
Picnic and Tour Possibilities
The surrounding of Lazaropole offers a large number of picnic and tour possibilities. The tour features, duration and difficulty can be adapted according to your affinities and capabilities. There are several suggestions with short description below. The tours are categorized in three categories: sports recreational tours, a visit to places with a beautiful view, and a visit to cultural and historical locations.
Sports and Recreational Tours
The sports and recreational tours are described on the info boards where all technical and informative data about the tours are contained.
Visit to Places with a Beautiful View
Although the stay in any part of the village offers the pleasure of beautiful views and landscapes which are present literally everywhere around you, we still recommend a visit to some locations in the surrounding of Lazaropole, from where you can enjoy the unique landscape views.
– Climbing up the hill “Krasta” above the village
– Visit to the area of “Krs”
– Hiking towards the “Sokolica” peak and the big cross
– Climbing up the “Cucul” peak 1,423 meters high
– Climbing up the hill “Chulovec” 1,728 meters high
Visit to Cultural and Historical Locations
Apart from the unbeatable fact that each step of the MIjak area represents a cultural and historical monument in itself where numerous written and spoken legends are present about events, persons, and times through which the story of the Mijaks’ identity is permeated, there are still places which can be distinguished from the others by their importance, and should certainly be visited. We recommend a visit to the following locations:
– The village of Glavino and “Kalina Dupka”
– The small church of Saint George and the “Gjurepi” spring
– The chapel dedicated to Saint Archangel Michael
– The small church dedicated to Saint Athanasius
– The small church dedicated to Saint Paraskeva – Petka
– The small church of Holy Salvation and the great cross on Sokolica – Commemorative park dedicated to the outstanding people of the region