Rock Climbing Areas
We start with the area near Skopje - the capitol of Macedonia.
Matka is a canyon on the river Treska situated only 15km from Skopje. This is a very special place where in the past there were thriving orthodox monasteries and the silent prayers of the monks enchanted the entire area with eternal peace. Now there is only one working monastery, but the churches dotted everywhere around still spread the calming vibration throughout the area.
The artificial lake on the river with a restaurant on its bank inspire many people to visit the place regularly – just to sit and enjoy the afternoon after work or the weekend with their family and friends. The river is famous for its kayaking course where European or World championships are held. Also, because of the limestone character of the area there are many unusual caves that can be found that are subject of research by local and international speleology teams, not to mention the great possibilities for hiking...
But for us the most important thing is the rock jutting upwards about 150 metres high. It is certainly the most popular trad crag in this country. It risеs above the artificial lake on the river Treska which is created by the power damn built here in 1938.The rock is limestone, it is where we all made our first steps in the climbing world and it is very dear to us. The long routes here are mostly four pitches and the grades (UIAA) are from III up to VIII+...
|Some of the routes:
The first climb on the face was done in 1957. Otmar Hudomalj and Dragan Trajkovski made it almost to the top of the rock, where Otmar had a fall and died. Three years later Dragan came back and finished the line with Todorka Dimitrova and named it “Otmar” dedicating it to their late friend. Since then there are more than 60 routes on this face and in the surrounding areas where also many short routes up to 30m can be found. They are all very easily reached by short hiking trails and the experience can be a nice family outing since there are routes for beginners and also routes with higher technical difficulties.
We recommend: Good introduction to the big face is the first route climbed on it “Otmar” (IV+) and the routes close to it “Matka – leva varijanta” (V) or “Cigo” (V). They follow nice lines covering chimneys, dihedars and slabs – so you can get a feeling of the rock… After that “Veteranski” (VI-), “Fangova” (VI+), “Panceva” (VI+) - routes with more sustained difficulties on exposed arêtes. It is really hard though to say which one is the best or favorite one since in that rather small area they all cover different terrain and tell a different story. We are sure you’ll enjoy all of them!
Getting there: By bus – bus number 60 goes from the centre of the city to the main parking lot, from where in 5-10 minutes very easy walk - the lake (restaurant, hotel and St. Andrew church) can be reached. By car - from the centre of the city drive westwards toward Tetovo and then follow the signs for Matka. The parking lot is located next to a white water kayak course where often international competitions are held.
Food and accommodation: On the lake there is a nice hotel and a restaurant where they serve good food and you can ask for some traditional Macedonian meals. Also there are two other restaurants near the main parking lot. So you stay in some hotel in Skopje, you can stay at the hotel on the lake or you can put up a tent near the St. Nicholas church which is located on the right side of the river – opposite of the restaurant and St. Andrew church. Here you come down directly after each climb so it is a nice camping place with water available. To this church allow 20min easy hike from the lake that is crossed on small boats (approx half euro for the ride). If boats are not available there is a trail that starts at the parking lot, crosses the bridge on the river and from there going to the right the monastery is reached in 40min. Here (St. Nicholas church) you can also arrange to sleep in the rooms that are built next to it by the people taking care of the place. They are there every weekend… Also for food - there are few stores in the villages that you pass coming in the canyon: Glumovo, Dolna Matka…
While there: Matka means “womb”. It is a spritual vortex - a place enchanted with peace by the prayers of the monk communities that lived here in the past. Many people come with their families just to enjoy a quiet afternoon after work or have a pleasant weekend. Today there is only one living monk community in the Monastery of the Holy Mother of God and few churches that are taken care of the local people: St Andrew and St Nicholas we already mentioned and others all very easily reached by easy hiking trails. Most of them built in the 14-th century.
Also there are few caves in the canyon and some of them are tourist friendly. They can be reached by a small boat (starting point is the restaurant on the lake) and the closest outing to them takes about an hour/hour and a half round trip.
Skopje: Since it is so close to Matka, you can spend some time in the city also. During the day you can visit some of the landmarks such as the Kale Fortress built in the 6-th century AD; the colorful Old Bazaar that is a major trading centre since the 12-th century where there are many mosques, hans, churches and other buildings and monuments; the Stone Bridge on the river Vardar that was built in 15-th century and many more. There are plenty of cultural activities happening every day so you can do some research before coming what you can visit. In the evening you can enjoy the extensive night life of the city...
For ANY other additional info pleae feel free to contact us!