Welcome to Day #8 of 100 Days of Travel. It’s a new world and a new type of traveling. For the next 100 days, I’m exploring Macedonia and Albania as safely as possible. While the city of Prilep in central Macedonia is an ideal base for trips around the region, there’s quite a few reasons to check out “The City Under Marko’s Towers.” 

The first thing that hits me in Prilep is the smell. It’s September and the air is choked with the wonderful aroma of roasting red peppers. Macedonians are gathered in their yards preparing peppers for the winter season. And underneath that sweet smell is the darker scent of tobacco. Tobacco leaves are being dried everywhere – in fields and abandoned lots and from the eaves of nearly every house.

Prilep is easy to skip on your way from the capital of Skopje to the lakes of Ohrid or the mountains of Pelister National Park, but I found it to be an agreeable small city. Like most of Macedonia, the squares are lined with numerous cafes and is less hectic than Skopje. Here is a short list of activities that keep me entertained over a few days.

Marko’s Towers

Named for a Serbian king of legend, this is the obvious highlight of Prilep. It’s an impressive short hike that you should check out. Read more about my own legendary experiences conquering Marko’s Towers here.

Treskavec (Holy Mother of God) Monastery

If you keep trekking past Marko’s Towers for a few hours, you’ll eventually reach the Holy Mother of God Monastery sitting under the foreboding peak of Zlatovrv mountain. This is a beautiful hike and if you have the time, I recommend it.

Treskavec is straight ahead

Mound of the Unbeaten

It wouldn’t be a proper Macedonian city without a surreal monument and Prilep’s entry is the Mound of the Unbeaten, a memorial to soldiers from World War II. The eight marble memorial urns symbolize the formation of the first partisan detachment in Macedonia. The monument is on top of a beautiful city park and perfect for wandering around on a sunny day.

The Clocktower

Hey Pisa, how about letting some of the poorly constructed towers around Europe get some notice? This tilted tower (I estimate it at a hardy twelve degree lean), is the centerpiece of the old town and is downright delightful. You can’t go inside, but you can sit in one of the numerous cafes at the base and guess which business it will eventually crush.

Alexandria Square

The main square of Prilep boasts the requisite statue of Alexander the Great. Scattered across the square and nearby is more interesting artwork, including the paint splattered municipal building, a time honored tradition where Macedonians show their displeasure of government corruption with a paintball assault.

The Old Bazaar

The Skopje bazaar was a bit too hectic for me, but the historical one here in Prilep is a more manageable size. It’s not as overwhelming as Skopje and I was able to track down a headlamp. You’ll find all sorts of local foodstuffs here.

City of Tobacco

So much tobacco!

More Pictures From Around Town

And finally, some assorted random shots from my strolls around town.