Gostivar is situated in Gorni Polog (Upper Polog), West Macedonia. It lies on the left side of Vardar next to the road Skopje-Tetovo-Gostivar-Ohrid and a branch to Debar. It has a favourable geographic and traffic position.
For the first time, it was mentioned as a village settlement in the charter by Tsar Dushan in the 14th century. There are not many records for this settlement during period 15th-17th century. During Austrian-Hungarian vs Turkish Wars and longer period after that it has a status of village.
In the course of the fifties of the 18th century it was mentioned for the first time as a town. There was a livestock market day and the bazaar was in progress at that time in Gostivar. Before this period, inhabitants from the villages in the vicinity had sold their livestock in Tetovo, Kichevo and Debar but these settlements were remote and the roads were not safe. The introduction of the market day indicated beginning of the general economic development of the settlement.
The Bazaar of Gostivar was completely formed in the second half of the 19th century. It is believed that it was established by the merchants from Tetovo and Veles and craftsmen from Prizren
The longest river -Vardar springs in the vicinity of Gostivar
Gostivar is located in the north-western part in Republic Macedonia The longest river -Vardar springs in the vicinity of Gostivar.
Vrutok is the source of the longest river in Macedonia -Vardar. The inhabitants of Gostivar recommend it to every visitor of this region. A village with the same name is located in Gorni Polog and it is ten kilometres on the south-west of Gostivar. The source has water capacity of several cubic meters per second and it is one of the bigger vortexes in Macedonia. HEC Vrutok, which has power of 150 MW, is located in front of the village.
At the end of the 19th century, Turkish Authorities established miderluk in order to administrate easier with Tetovo kaza. Therefore, Gostivar got the status of an administrative centre and by decree from the year 1914 Gostivar became the seat of Gorni Polog.
Before Balkan Wars, the number of inhabitants in Gostivar was 3.735, and before the First World War the number of inhabitants was approximately 4.500. Its major population and economic growth occurred after the Second World War. The number of inhabitants was 8.000 in 1948 and the number reached 35.000 in 2002. Gostivar as well was the biggest number of Macedonian cities has had more intensive population growth after 1961-more than twice.
Nowadays Gostivar is a modern urban settlement with a developed secondary and tertiary activities and it represents an administrative-governing, economic, cultural -educational and health centre in its gravitationally influential area, which is limited by Tetovo as bigger and more centralized settlement in Polog. However, on the other hand, the whole mountainous area i.e. the region of Mavrovo gravitates towards Gostivar - approximately 90 village settlements.
The cave Gjonovica is located in the vicinity of the village Gorna Gjonovica or more precisely in the source part, Gostivar region. It represents a specific cave system about 1.000 meters long. The entrance part is usually dry cave canal which is several hundred meters long, but then an underground cave river can be seen which flows along the biggest cave part. At the end, there is a magnificent underground waterfall at the end, into the underground depths of the cave. This is a rarity in the world's frames. When water level rises, water runs out of the main cave's entrance. In this case, visitors have difficulties to handle that problem.