Kratovo is a small picturesque town in Macedonia, one of the regions' living museums. It is the seat of Kratovo Municipality. It lies on the western slopes of Mount Osogovo at an altitude of 600 metres (2,000 ft) above sea level. Having a mild and pleasant climate, it is located in the crater of an extinct volcano. It is famous for its bridges.
During the reign of the Serbian noblemen in 1282, Kratovo had become a mining centre, thanks to the experienced Saxon, i.e. from Saxony or, presumably, from Flanders, miners who came to activate the mine. The importance of Kratovo can be judged through the visit of Sultan Murad who together with his army headed towards Kosovo, but stayed in Kratovo in order to visit the already famous town of gold and silver.
The mining exploitation continued, until the Karposh's Rebellion in 1689, when the town was devastated and the mine closed. In 1805 the mine was rented by Ali-Beg Majdemdzija and the work continued. According to the writings of Amu Bue, the town had 56,000 inhabitants 1836. Until the end of the 19th century the town rapidly stagnated and the once most beautiful "Čarsija", with goldsmith and silversmith shops, decayed.
Today's Kratovo has many characteristics of the past times. Once there were 12 towers, but now one can notice six towers which primarily served miners, chiefs and guards. The Kratovo bridges are another characteristic of this town made by old masters. The town has unique and interesting architecture from the 19th century and a unique Art gallery of children's drawings, with pictures by Kratovo children which have won numerous prizes at different international exhibitions.
Currently many organizations are working on rebuilding the city. One of the most valiant of these efforts comes from the University of Florida Engineering Without Borders program who are currently working on the development of a sustainable solid waste system to aid the efforts of Macedonia in attaining recognition in the European Union.