A TOWN OF BRIDGES, TOWERS AND UNDERGROUND TUNNELS. It is considered that Kratovo is located into an extinct volcanic crater, therefore it has got its amphitheatrically appearance with characteristic arranged architecture of the town. Kratovo is located in the north-eastern part of the Republic of Macedonia. This town is located in the south-western foothill of Osogovo Mountains in the valley of Kratovska Reka (River), a left tributary of Kriva Reka. It is assumed that a town called Kratiskara existed on today's town location. The settlement was mentioned under the name Kratis or Koriton in the Byzantine period, and the present name is derived from the location of the town in a crater in an extinct volcano.
In the course of the Middle Ages its most significant function was mining, which was developed in its immediate vicinity by Sasi population. As an important trade-mining settlement in the second half of the 13th century, Kratovo became a famous trade center in the 14th century, which was visited by Dubrovnik merchants. During the Ottoman reign mining and trade were prospering. Kratovo was the biggest mining center in European part of Turkey in the 16th century. During the 16th century and the following 17th century silver coins were minted and copper products were made in Kratovo.
After Austrian- Turkish War and Karposh Uprising, Kratovo decreased economically. There were from 5.000 to 6.000 inhabitants in the first half of the 19th century and decreased to approximately 4.000 inhabitants at the end of the 19th century. In the period between the two world wars, Kratovo did not mark increase in terms of economy and popu-lation. In the period after the Second World War, the population figures developed progressively but at a rather moderate pace, therefore from approximately 2000 inhabitants in 1948 grew to 7.000 inhabi-tants in 2002. Kratovo lies on the road. There is a simple traffic connection to Kumanovo and Kriva Palanka on the north-west and it is connected to Probishtip on the south. Nowadays, Kratovo is is an administrative-governing, educational and health center in its gravitation area. Mining and industry have leading roles in its economy.
Kratovo Architecture - Relief conditions of the area directed development of a special architectonic-construction approach in Kratovo. The houses are arranged amphitheatrically with significantly distinguished upper part comparing to the lower part. There are mainly two floor houses with distinguished balconies so you can have a view of town's panorama. Kratovo architecture is featured by narrow and steep streets, larger number of bridges, as well as numerous traditional craftsman shops and other various individual older and newer buildings.
Kratovo Stone Bridges
Distributed around the town-center, together with its towers give to the town medieval feature and a look of a town-museum. There are several rivers in Kratovo: Manceva River, Baba Karina River and Tabachka River, which flow into Kratovo River in the center of the town. The bridges were built from refined stone and all of them have a form of a bow. Built over deep and steep river beds, one bridge can be seen from the other bridge. The most famous is Rada Bridge but other Kratovo Bridges enchant with their beauty such as Grovchanski Bridge, Downtown Bridge, Yokshir Bridge, Argulichki Bridge and Gornomalski Bridge. The legend of Rada Bridge says that Rada was buried alive inside of its foundation. According to the legend, the bridge was being built by nine brothers but the bridge was falling down several times therefore the brothers decided to bury inside the bridge the youngest sister-in-low alive.
She begged them to leave her right breast free in order to feed her son. The bridge is over Manceva River, erected on two towers. Kratovo is a town with the largest number of medieval towers, altogether 17. Twelve of them are located on the left side of Kratovo and five on the right side. Only six of them are preserved while the rest of them are pretty damaged. Most of them were damaged during Karposh Uprising. Zlatko's Tower is the oldest and the richest, built in 1365. It got the name after its last owner Gjorgji Zlatkov who bought it from Asan Efendija till then the tower was named after him. It is constructed with thick walls and it is six meters high. It has three floors and you can enter there by movable stairs. There is a hollow in the southwestern wall, which was a bath with a sanitary knot.
Emin Bey Tower
Is approximately 13 meters high and 6 meters wide. The door was made from hewed stone. A pyramid as a separate object was constructed; it was a bathroom. It has three floors, separated by wooden partitions.
Doors are thicker compared to other towers and they are opened by turning around thick axes supported by stone flute. There are a fire place, niche, shelves and household cupboards.
Coce Stone (Cocev Kamen)
A rock of volcano origin, it is about 100 metres high and several million years old, it is believed that this rock was prehistoric observatory. The locality of Coce Stone (Cocev Kamen) is 25 km on the west from Kratovo, nearby the village Shopsko Rudari. It is believed that this was neolith settlement where inhabitants were hunters and farmers. The rock itself represents spiritual shrine, which can be seen today by numerous remains as well as the objects found nearby. It looks like an ordinary rock from distance. There is a grandiose locality only a few steps away from it. Hollows that look like caves are set on floors, and in front of them there are plateaus, pools for ritual bathing, stairs remains, a stone throne and seats.
10000 years ago, pre-historic people performed ritual dances on the rock, bathed under the waterfall, gave sacrifices to the Gods of wine and fertility. There are stairs from the bottom of the rock leading to the top into the caves. Climbing this steep rock is equal to performing some extreme sport. Its observatory function from the Stone Age, Coce Stone continued to perform this function till Bronze Age. The shrine was abandoned only after few centuries AD. The value of Coce Stone was discovered in 1971. Some researchers consider it for a unique locality in the world because a shrine, room for sacrifices and observatory can be found on the same place.
Is the most important and the most beautiful tower in Kratovo. It was constructed in 1370 by the ruler of Kratovo at the time, the dignitary Kostadin Dejanov. The interior is divided into four floors. The fourth floor is the most beautiful and it has a wonderful view of the town.
You have to use tunnel stairs situated in the south wall in order to get upper floors; therefore a visitor gets an impression that goes through a tunnel. There are 69 stairs, lighten by three small apertures, one of them is an observing post protected by a stone shield in the north wall. A city clock was placed on the tower in 1921, therefore it is known as the City Clock Tower.