Welcome to Day #37 of 100 Days of Travel! With lodging options closing down all over the country due to winter and COVID, I’m heading back to the capital of Skopje to plan my next steps. Along the way, I stopped over in Veles, the crossroads of Macedonia.

You may not have heard of Veles, but this small city is the home of one of the greatest disinformation campaigns in modern history. In the final months of 2016, over 100 pro-Trump websites, most of them built by teenagers chasing ad revenue, ushered in the era of fake news. Hopefully, in this article, I can show you the real Veles that I saw and not the one typically represented in media. Here are a few interesting things to see in the city.

Memorial Ossuary
In a world of surreal Macedonian war monuments, this is one of the classics commemorating fighters from WWII. With a prime spot overlooking the city, it’s certainly something to witness. It was built in 1979 by sculptor Ljubomir Denković and the architect Sava Subotin with a nod towards Macedonia’s history with brutalist architecture.

Hillside Hiking
Veles is built in a steep river valley, so pretty much every walk tends to go straight up. The way that the houses and streets are constructed on such steep heights is quite amazing and you can get lost wandering the cobbled back streets.

Street Art, Oddities, and Architecture
Just a few of the random shots I took while wandering around the city. Most of these are from Blagoj Gjorev, the main street of Veles.

The Vardar River
Nearly splitting the city in half is Macedonia’s most famous river. Old men gather on the shores in the evening to fish the waters and there are various paths and walkways. You can follow it south into a canyon, and I suspect more than a few hiking routes. Clearly, I’m obsessed with this bridge.