With Jeremy Woodhouse & Luka Esenko
Sept 4 - 17, 2018, max 10 people
Serbia became a stand-alone sovereign republic in the summer of 2006 after Montenegro voted in a referendum for independence from the Union of Serbia and Montenegro.
The end of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro marked the closing chapter in the history of the separation of the six republics of the old Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia which was proclaimed in 1945 and comprised Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia.
Under Yugoslavia's authoritarian communist leader, Josip Broz Tito, the lid was kept on ethnic tensions. The federation lasted for over 10 years after his death in 1980, but under Serbian nationalist leader Slobodan Milosevic it fell apart through the 1990s.
The secession of Slovenia and Macedonia came relatively peacefully, but there were devastating wars in Croatia and Bosnia. Serbia and Montenegro together formed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia between 1992 and 2003.
Macedonia was spared the inter-ethnic violence that raged elsewhere in the Balkans following the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s but it came close to civil war a decade after independence.
Rebels staged an uprising in early 2001, demanding greater rights for the ethnic Albanian minority. The conflict created a wave of refugees and the rebels made territorial gains.
After months of skirmishes, EU and Nato support enabled the president, Boris Trajkovski, to strike a peace deal. Under the Ohrid agreement, Albanian fighters laid down their arms in return for greater ethnic-Albanian recognition within a unitary state.
The country's name remains a contentious issue. It is still referred to as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) at the United Nations.
International recognition of the country's split from Yugoslavia in 1991 was held up over Greek fears that its name implied territorial ambitions toward the northern Greek region of Macedonia.
Day 1, Sept 4, Belgrade
Arrival at Belgrade in late morning, check in at our centrally located hotel. We start with an afternoon walk through central Belgrade, pass Belgrade’s central square, the pedestrian zone, the Orthodox Cathedral Church to the fortress above the confluence of River Sava into the Danube. We continue through the quiet neighborhood of Dorcol to the touristy Skadarlija, where we will have our dinner. D
Day 2, Sept 5, Belgrade – Fruska Gora – Novi Sad – Belgrade
First thing in the morning we will go to visit Kalenic Farmers Market where locals go shopping. Later in the morning we will drive to the north of Belgrade. Passing the endless fields covered in wheat, corn and sunflowers we reach Mt Fruska Gora and the baroque Petrovaradin Fortress, overseeing the Danube and the city of Novi Sad on the other side of it.
After our lunch, we continue with a walk through Novi Sad’s beautiful city center. Return to Belgrade in the evening hours. B,L,D
Day 3, Sept 6, Belgrade – Manasija – Topola - Arandjelovac
Morning shoot at Kalemegdan fortress overlooking the Danube river. After we check out of our hotel we drive to Belgrade’s southernmost end – the squat but picturesque Mt Avala with its marble Monument to the Unknown Soldier and the TV Tower.
Lunch at a restaurant in the town of Topola. A few minutes walk from our restaurant rises the Oplenac Hill crowned by the splendid mausoleum of the Serbian royal family, decorated with beautiful mosaics. Afterwards we visit a small museum and the historic royal wine cellar.
In the evening, we arrive to Arandjelovac where we will spend the night in Hotel Izvor B,L,D
Day 4, Sept 7, Arandjelovac - Golubac - Lepenski Vir - Kladovo
Heading towards the Iron Gates Gorge, the largest gorge in Europe carved by Europe’s second largest river. First stop will be by the recently renovated Golubac Castle (14th century), at the very beginning of the gorge. We will also stop at several more spots with excellent views. Visit to the fascinating archeological site of Lepenski Vir.
Lunch in Donji Milanovac will be followed by a few more stops for taking photos, including one opposite to the enormous head of King Decebalus carved in rock on the Romanian side of the river. Arrival to Kladovo in the evening hours and check-in to Hotel Aquastar B,L,D
Day 5, Sept 8, Kladovo - Negotin - Rajac - Knjazevac - Donja Kamenica - Babin Zub
Our first stop for this day will be the village of Rajac and its famous wine cellars, centuries old edifices made of stone lines in streets and squares. Lunch in a local wine cellar. After some more driving southwards we will stop and stroll through the center of another small town - Knjazevac. Another brief stop will be at Donja Kamenica village to see its medieval church. Ascend up Mt Stara Planina and check in at hotel Babin Zub, followed by a cable-car ride to the peak by the same name for some stunning views of vicinity.
Day 6, Sep 9, Babin Zub - Temska - Topli Do - Pirot
Morning shoot on Babin Zub peak. Descend to the picturesque Temska monastery and then Topli Do village. Return to the town of Pirot and check in at hotel Ana Lux. Walk around the town and its little castle for some more shooting.
Day 7, Sept 10, Pirot - Stara Planina - Poganovo - Pirot
In the morning we will roam around the south face of Stara Planina visiting several interesting natural sights such as the Vladikine Ploce gully or the Dojkinacka Reka river. After lunch we will drive to the canyon of Jerma River, where, by its southern entrance, stands the 14th century monastery of Poganovo. Time permitting we will continue deeper into Mt Ruj to see some of its far flung villages.
Day 8, Sept 11, Canyon Matka - National Park Mavrovo - Galicnik
Arrival in Macedonia before noon. Lunch in a national restaurant at Matka canyon. After that, you can visit canyon Matka with artificial lake “Treska” and cave Vrelo. In the afternoon we arrive at the largest national park in Macedonia - Mavrovo, and there are between unshakable mountain nature can meet local shepherds, wild horses and the end of the day we come to the village Galichnik famous for the traditional Macedonian wedding festival, the most mystical festival in Macedonia. Every year the Ministry of Culture of Macedonia tries to make this tradition of Macedonians is not dead, because every year on 12 July in the village of Galicnik do weddings. Overnight and dinner in Mavrovo.
Day 9, Sept 12, Galichnik - Mavrovo - Debar - Ohrid
After Breakfast leaving Galichnik, we will visit local shepherds, the site of grazing goats and sheep and mountain meadows spend the entire summer season. Heading south along the canyon of the river Radika, which creates two huge lake Mavrovo and Debar, you will reach the lake. We drive for Ohrid and we will check into the hotel “Millenium Palace”.
Ohrid itself is a jewel of Macedonia, the city of Orthodox and Catholic churches, in their narrow alleys history dating back over 3.000 years. Located at the foot of the mountain Galicica Ohrid Lake. Both the city and the lake inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage sites. In the afternoon, walk through the streets Ohrid to reach the highest point - Samuil's Fortress, which offers wonderful landscapes of this area. Overnight in Ohrid.
Day 10, Sept 13, Ohrid - St.Naum - National park Galicica - Prespa
The day may start around. 5:00 sailing with local fishermen to catch fish, and at the same time to capture photographic frames. Breakfast at hotel and check out. Then we will go to visit Bay of bones and Museum of water. After that we are going for settlement St. Naum. In the monastery, the tomb of St. Naum - student Cyril and Methodius – according to the legends, listen to his heartbeat, which obviously only listen to elected officials. After lunch we drive the scenic route of the lake and then we go down to the Prespa Basin. The length of the entire valley spread apple orchards. It is said to be the place where there grow the best apples throughout the Balkans, and we certainly will be able to judge. This long day will finish at night in the village of Stenje and Konjsko at the shore of Lake Prespa. This lake is a home of numerous species of birds. Overnight at Prespa Lake.
Day 11, Sept 14, Prespa Lake – Island Big City - Pelister - Bitola
In the early morning, we go by boat to the island Big City, which is in the middle of the lake Prespa. The island is the habitat for many species of birds—pelicans, cormorants, and white and gray herons. Birds found their refuge only in this desert island. From a boat you can photograph pelicans, which glide overhead as they hunt for fish. On this island it can still approach the habitat of cormorants and herons. In the afternoon we are going for Bitola, where we rest after a long day. Overnight at Mount Baba.
Day 12, Sept 15, Bitola – National Park “Pelister” - Tikves region – Demir Kapija
Morning in Bitola - the city of consuls in Macedonia. Architecture and lifestyle completely different from Ohrid. The city is known by its Turkish style bazaar where you can buy everything from fruit and vegetables and parts for vehicles. Having this amazing atmosphere hustle and bustle, people shopping, mix all kinds of smells and colors—the perfect place for us.
After lunch we drive via Tikves region to Demir Kapija, place surrounded by vineyards, where we taste local wines.
Day 13, Sept 16, Demir Kapija – Kratovo – Kuklica – Kokino - Skopje
After breakfast at hotel, the owner of the vineyard walk you around the property. We'll see vast fields of vine yards and cellars of one of the best wineries of Macedonia. In the hotel you can buy original Macedonian wines. After that we are driving for Kratovo, town, which you remind of medieval period. After lunch we visit the site Kuklica, where you can see stone dolls. Next sightseeing is megalithic observatory Kokino, the fourth oldest (3800 years old) and most important in the World, ranged by NASA. Afternoon arrival to Skopje, dinner and night photography in the old town..
Day 14, Sept 17, Skopje
Morning photography in the old town, breakfast. Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
Image © Luka Esenko
Image © Luka Esenko
Tour Cost $TBA
Trip Deposit $500
Single Supplement (if available) $TBA
Maximum Group Size 10
2 SPOTS OPEN
Jeremy Woodhouse & Luka Esenko
This trip is limited to only 10 participants.