INEFFACEABLE ARE THE IMPRINTS of the material and spirit culture of inclement historical events in the territory of Macedonia from pre-history, antique, Roman period, Middle and New Century. Nowadays, Republic of Macedonia is rich of material, spiritual and cultural values manifested through numerous cultural and historical monuments, ethnographic elements, ambient wholes, city settlements, museums, galleries, monument-collections, gastronomic and manifestation tourist values.
IMPRINTS OF HUMAN EXISTENCE OVER 8.000 YEARS
The earliest imprints of human activity in the territory of Macedonia originate from old stone age - Paleolithic. The real beginning of the pre-history started around 6.000 years BC, with the first settlements along Middle Bregalnica and Ovche Pole, next to Vardar and in Pelagonia. Within the millenniums, Macedonia marks significant and rich civilization development in the material and spiritual culture.
Over 4.500 archaeological localities are registered in Macedonia. Localities of Skupi and Skopje's Fortress at Skopje, then Trebenishta, St. Erasmus, Ohrid Fortress, early Christian fortress, early Christian basilica in Oktisi village in Ohrid-Struga valley, Heraclea Lyncestis and Marko's Towers in Pelagonia, Stobi near Gradsko, Isar and Bargala near Shtip, Strumica's Kale, Vinica Kale, Morodvis near Kochani, Marvinci and Gevgelija Hill in Gevgelija-Valandovo canyon are of special significance.
Fortresses, towers and bridges Major part of fortresses, towers and bridges were constructed in Macedonia that additionally witness the life and culture in these areas. Such are Samuil's Fortress in Ohrid, Marko's Towers in Prilep, Tsar's Towers in Strumica, Stone Bridge and the Fortress in Skopje, medieval towers and bridges in Kratovo.
The east and west civilization intercede in Macedonia. It is normal to see both churches and monasteries in many cities. The major part of the population belongs to the Orthodox Christian religion (65%). According to the representation, the citizens of Islam religion are at the second place (33%). The others are Catholics, Protestants, Atheists and members of other religions.
Churches and monasteries In the Macedonia country, where Paul the Apostle, the Saint Cyril and Methodius and their followers spread the Christianity, numerous churches and monasteries are constructed built in different period. There are more than 2.000 churches and monasteries in the Republic of Macedonia. Major part of them, in particular those constructed from 11th to 16th century all of them are preserved. The following are distinguished: St. Jovan Bigorski in the valley of Radika, St. Naum on the shore of Lake Ohrid, the monastery Treskavec near
Prilep, St. Gavril Lesnovski in Lesnovo village, St. Joakim Osogovski near Kriva Palanka, the monastery St. Pante-lejmon in Skopje region, the monasteries in Vodocha and Veljusa in Strumica region and many others. Fresco painting Macedonia belongs to states with the most beautifully preserved fresco from the period from 11th to 14th century. Several thousand square meters of fresco painting are preserved and greater part of them is in good condition and present masterpieces of Macedonian vivid school. The oldest preserved fragments from early Christian fresco painting are located in the Episcopacy Basilica in the archaeological locality Stobi. The frescos in St. Sofia, the cathedral temple of Ohrid Archbishopric present the best preserved descrip-tion of life of the entire Byzantine during the period of 11th century.
The development of the Macedonia art is at most expressive in frenetic 13th and at the beginning of 14th century when the famous icon painters Mihail and Evtihij worked, inaugurated in new icon painting canons. In 1925, when they started painting the Ohrid temple devoted to St. Holy Mother of God Perivlepta, the new colossal era started in Macedonian fresco painting. The fresco painting in the church devoted to Archangel Mihail in Lesnovo Monastery dates back to 1347, and the frescos in Marko's Monastery in the Church St. Andre] at Matka are the most expres-sive regarding their value and beauty and originated in 14th century. In that period the enormous creative art in the medieval painting is borders by fresco decora-tions and icons by Jovan and Makarie Frchkoski.
After the antique architecture, the intensive construction activity is noted in the Byzanti period, when the construction of St. Sofia in Constantinople established the criteria in all plac under dominance of Orthodox Church. In the period of Ottoman Empire the influence of Islam architecture was dominant the witness of which are numerous objects from that period: Turkish spa, mosques, dervish lodge, bezisten (covered bazaar), bazaars. The most beautiful examples of urban architecture are the objects from the 19th and 20th century. Krushevo and Kratovo in major parts are complete urban whole with kept city architecture from that period, major parts of Bitola and Skopje, as well as the old part of Ohrid. In 20th century Macedonia followed the trends of contemporary architecture.
There are about 600 mosques in Macedonia, where those dating back to 15th and 16th century are the most famous. The mosques of Jaja-pasha, Isa-bey, Mustapha-pasha and Sultan Murat are located in Skopje, Colourful Mosque and Clock Mosque in Tetovo, Isak Mosque, Hajdar Kadi-Pasha and Jeni Mosque in Bitola, Charshi Mosque in Prilep, Saat Mosque in Gostivar and Hajati Babatekje and Ali-pasha Mosque in Ohrid. All of them have most often square construction and portico, covered by cupolas or wood roof construction and they present a form of Turkish Ottoman School. The same are built of stone and bricks and set in horizontal lines so their facades look picturesquely. The mosques were built by the highest Turkish governors (pashas and beys) and they took significant position, often dominant in the settlements.