At the Bottom of the Volcano
Kratovo is located in the northeastern part of Macedonia. It is one of the oldest towns in the country; and still pulsing with life. The rivers Maceva, Baba Karina and Tabichka converge into one. And form the Kratovo River. This river divides the town on two sides; left and right. It also has many bridges on it to connect those sides.
Nevertheless, it is a town with a typical traditional Macedonian architecture. A town with the most bridges and towers in the whole country. Precisely these components give a distinctive, personal touch to this beautiful town. As well as make it different from the rest in Macedonia. When there; you don’t get the feeling of already seen and felt. It’s a place where you experience the whole story for the first time.
In addition, Kratovo is considered as one of the oldest settlements in Macedonia. With that said; it lies on the western slopes of the Osogovo Mountains. At the bottom of an extinguished volcanic crater. However, it is mentioned under the name Kratiskara; in roman times. Along with Koritos; in the byzantine period. It was a significant mining and trading center in the middle ages. Therefore; the Ragusans had their own trading colony in the town.
In addition, the mines in Kratovo were rich with lead, silver, gold, copper and iron. During the Ottoman rule in the 16th and 17th century; the town was famous for forging silver coins. After the Austro-Turkish war of 1689 as well as the Karposh Uprising; the mines were closed, and the town was left ravaged. Consequently, Kratovo revived into a small settlement; as it is today.
Town of Bridges in Kratovo
However, there are 17 bridges in the town; although not every one of the still functions today. Тhey are built from smooth carved stones and shaped in the form of a bow. Also, these bridges are mainly erected over deep and steep river banks, and can be seen from one another. The most famous is the Radin Bridge. But the others are captivating as well.
The Legend of Radin Bridge
As a matter of fact; there is a poignant story about this bridge; that makes it the most famous among others. It tells the tale of a girl; called Rada. That was being immured alive into the bridge. According to the story; nine brothers were building this bridge. But it kept destroying itself. To strengthen and solidify it; they decided to put their youngest bride into it.
Nonetheless, she was apparently devastated. This was because she had a baby boy. She begged them to leave one of her breast accessible; so she could feed her child. Not to mention, this bridge is on the river Manceva. Built in 1833 its left tower is 28 meters high. Along with the right one; which is 29 meters high.
Seventeen Towers in Kratovo
Twelve towers are located on the left side of Kratovo; as well as five on its right side. At the moment, only six of these towers are as they were. The rest of them are in a very bad shape. The Zlatko’s tower is the oldest and the richest one. Built in 1365 got its name from its owner. It is six meters high; as well as its walls, which are made of thick stone. Having three floors; you can enter this tower by stairclimbers. These towers and bridges are the beauty of Kratovo.
The Simike’s Tower
This tower is the most important; most beautiful and highest in Kratovo. Constructed in 1370 from the Kratovo’s ruler at the time; Constantine Dejanov. In the inner part it is divided into floors; of which the fourth one is the most impressive. From there you can have a beautiful view on the town. The top floors are reachable by stone stairs; that are located on the south wall. These 69 stair steps are illuminated; by three wall holes.
Whether you go for a full tour of the town, or just wander its streets; there is a lot to be observed. Eventually, the old architecture will take the most of your day. Although, there are many places where you can sit back and relax. There is no way you could miss the few cafes. As well as restaurants. Decorated in the town’s theme; they just complete the picture. As well as the general impression of the authentic beauty of this city.