Struga - City of Poetry

Struga is a town and popular tourist destination situated in the south-western region of the Republic of Macedonia, lying on the shore of Lake Ohrid. Once known as "Enchalon" -Eel, Struga has a population of approximetly 15 000 inhabitants. It has been known since the time of the Ilirs, and many old writers of traveling guides have noted that Struga was a very vivid city, with developed trade, great markets and the houses of the wealthy citizens were always beautiful and decorative. That is why the well-known saying: "There is no other place like Struga" exists since then. Except the  Ohrid lake in Struga there is a river called Crn Drim which flows gently through the town, as it does not want to disturb the visitors walking along its banks, thrilled by its crystal clear waters. In the evening when many lights are turned on, the river has even a better view by the reflection of light from its waters.

On its way to the Adriatic Sea the Drim forms two man made lakes Globochitsa and Shpilye which are surrounded by magnificent landscapes.Much of the town's meager income is through internal tourism. Struga's location on Lake Ohrid makes it a slightly quieter and more peaceful experience than the more bustling Ohrid. When visiting this quiet town, there are a few other places that show the beauty and culture, like the clay chamber pots at the house of the Miladinovci Brothers, the old Struga bazaar, the century old churches and mosques.

Before the evenings you can enjoy on 3 kinds of beaches called Male beach ,Female beach and the most beautiful called Galeb (Gull), located just before the estuary of the river Crn Drim (Black Drim). Every August at the Poetry Bridge are held the Struga Poetry Evenings visited by poets, writers and artists from all around the world.Every summer in the culture center of Struga - summer open scene, it is organized cinemania and alter music festival ('Come, Row') including rock, metal, electro, hip hop, r'n b and many more groups from around the country. At night you can walk by the lake, by the river, or go at the most popular discos like Oaza,Biser,Tullamur beach.There's also very beautiful bars and pubs located by the lake, by the river and in the center of Struga such as Grifon, Tullamore Dew, Plivalishte, Ženska Plaža Cinema, Admiral, Album, Street, Sweet Cafe, Aquarius and many others.

Source: www.struga.org

History and Culture

It is considered, according to some relevant sources, that the first inhabitants of this area were the Briges and the Enheleians, and later came the Desarets. With the passing of the centuries this fishing settlement grew into a town-like village which was called Enhalon (eel). The name is accidental. Namely, here on the outflow of the river Crn Drim from the Lake Ohrid, the longest journey of the eel starts, which leads to the Sargasso Sea in the Caribean region of the Atlantic ocean where the fish satisfies its biological needs for continuing its kind. The ancient historian Polibius says that in the year 334 BC, king Philip II  of Macedon, conquered Enhalon in addition to Lihnidos and the other towns on the shores of Lake Ohrid. There is an important monument from that period with inscription in classical Greek, discovered by the monastery of St. Bogoroditsa .Enhalon was part of the Macedonian state until the year 148 BC when it was conquered by the Romans. The connection of this area and Rome grew closer with the construction of the strategic road Via Ignatia, which connected Rome, through the town known today as Drach and through Thessalonica, to Istanbul and Asia Minor. The road was passing close to Enhalon.

The name Struga was mentioned for the first time in a document dated from the XI century. In another document dated from the XVI century (Kalimanova Gramota) there is a royal issue: "The incomes of the fishing area in the town of Struga should be given to the monastery Zoograf". The legends say that St. Kliment Ohridski founded a school in Struga. The grounds and the river which was passing through have the name Klimetica even today. It is considered that the medieval Macedonian king Samoil  built a church in Struga devoted to St. George and also erected a church in the village of Vranishta. On his demands one hundred bridges were built over the river Crn Drim, according to the byzantine traveler and author Ana Komnena.

In the VI century Enhalon, Lihnidos and the other inhabited places were in the frames of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. In this period the Brsjatsi tribe settled in this area changing the name Enhalon with a new one, Struga, on which historians and linguists have different opinions; some say that the word comes from the word STRIG (to fleece sheep) and some claim that it means a passage for sheep through a fence which was called STRAGA, STROGA, STRUGA. In addition, there are some claims that Struga means a river branch, a tributary or a river flow.

In the medieval times Struga was frequently visited by authors who wrote about their travels. One of them is Bernard (1591) who describes Struga as caravan-station with caravan-inns, as a crossroad for many caravans. The famous Turkish traveler Evliya Cheleby, who visited Struga in 1671, describes the town in detail. Struga used to be a great fishing are, especially for eel. The local Turkish ruler by the name of Eminaga, who lived in Struga then, from his rich incomes, built a large bridge on the mouth of the river Drim. On the bridge he built his palace (Saray). The traveler Cheleby wrote that the town was built by the lake and consisted of 300 houses all built of hard material. Cheleby adds that the climate is pleasant, and that there are 3 inns and 40 stores in the town. In this town, says the traveler, twice a year a big fair takes place which is visited by up to 50 000 people. During the 10 days of the fair, people traded their goods and celebrated the fair. The crowd of people gathered there is undescribeable, according to Cheleby. In the vicinity of Struga 300 stores were built for the purposes of the fair. Even today the name of the location, described by Cheleby, where the fair was taking place is preserved - Panagjurishte ("panagjur" means a fair in Macedonian).

In 1783 the Englishman John Bew in London printed the map "Turkey in Europe" where one can find Struga. The chronicler Nikola Pop Stefanov in his "Chronicles" says: "June 6, 1808. We built Geladin Bey's Saray on the river. And it was a terrible forced labour..." The saray was built in the middle of the river Drim and was a quite atractive object visited by many authors who wrote about their travels and were passing through Struga. In the years to come, on the sky over Struga, two brighest Macedonian stars would appear, the fighters of the spiritual freedom and self-awareness of the Macedonian people, the dearest sons of Struga, the brothers Dimitri and Konstantin Miladinovski. Dedicated to their mission, they would leave to their people the Golden Book of Macedonian renaissance - the Collection of Macedonian Folk Songs. Their lives tragically ended in a Turkish prison in Istanbul in 1862. The citizens of Struga, in the following years, will get involved in the spiritual and the national liberation. They would take an active part in the Ilinden uprising (1903) and the National Liberation Movement (1941-1945). There is an interesting information that right here in Struga the Macedonian National Anthem "Today over Macedonia..." was sang for the first time by its author Vlado Maleski.

In the period after the Second World War the town lives its renaissance in all fields. Struga becomes a modern town with wonderful banks and wide streets, with many parks and greenery, with beautiful new buildings, trade and industrial areas, and catering objects and cultural institutions. In honor of the Miladinovski brothers every year a renowned festival of poetry is held - "The Struga Poetry Evenings", where many famous world poets take part. Today in Struga there are around 18 000 inhabitants, living in 5430 apartments.

Source: www.struga.org

Travel with a bus

If you considering to go with a bus you have a several of buses between Struga and Skopje.Time travel is 3 hours.Price for one way ticket is 500 denars/8 EUR and two way tickets is 700 denars/ 11.3 EUR.

Time of departure from Skopje: 05:30, 11:00,12:30,12:50,13:15,14:00,14:30,15:40,16:00,16:10, 17:30, 19:00.

Note: If you considering travelling on weekend and holidays please contact the bus station for any changes of the lines.

Travel by train

There is no train line to the city.

Travel with taxi

If you are not comfortable to travel by train or bus, you can always get a taxi.The price for one way is more or less 4500denars /73 EUR.

We recommended:

ABC Logistica
Mob: +389 78 504 500
Tel: +389 2 6143 900

Go with a car or rent a car

If you'd like to explore the land during your travel to you can go with a car or rent a car. Distance between Skopje and Struga is 171 km.

For rent a car we recommended:

ABC Logistica
Mob: +389 78 504 500
Tel: +389 2 6143 900

MIDA Rent-a-car
Office 2 (Airport Alexander the Great)
Tel/Fax + 389 22 56 10 10
24 hour service phones
Mob.1: 070 256 433
Mob.2: 071 223 042
Mob.3: 070 366 958