Vevchani is a cute, aging village in a fold of forested mountains with springs, glaciers, and hiking trails in profusion.
Most of the travel blogs I read on North Macedonia suggested the same “must visit” spots every time: Skopje, Ohrid, Mavrovo, and Bitola. Oh, and there’s this little micronation with some nice springs if you have the time, one read.
Wait, what? There’s a micronation in the already tiny country of N. Macedonia? That seemed interesting.
As the story goes, back when N. Macedonia was part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Communist government wanted to redirect the streams that flowed through Vevchani into another town called Struga. The small, but tight-knit community of around 2,500 protested against the decision, as it was their water.
For the first time in the former Yugoslavia, the police used electrical hitting sticks against the demonstrators. This furthered the villagers’ distaste for the dictatorial style of the Communist party and strengthened their desire for democracy. After the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991, Vevchani decided to become an independent state. The residents established themselves as a republic in 2002, and the village is now considered a micronation.
(Sorry, I’m not good at storytelling. That’s the short and sweet of it.)
Cool people, right? It’s like the time we stayed in Dongo, Italy and discovered that had been a town full of anti-fascists who ended up catching and hanging Mussolini! Sometimes there’s a bit of justice in history, thankfully.
We’re staying in Struga for a month, which is seven miles from the Albanian border and seven miles from Vevchani. We caught the bus to Vevchani today. What’s to see there?
Besides hiking to glaciers, lakes, or a monastery in the area, for 20 dinars, or $0.36 per person (yes, it’s that cheap!), you can see the famous and gorgeous springs that the residents so zealously protected. It’s some of the clearest water we’d ever seen! They had built brand new, beautiful rock paths, picnic tables, and bridges all around. The atmosphere was incredibly serene and pleasant.
The water originates from underground, the source being a cave in the mountains. It flows down limestone mountains, the calcium giving it a vibrant blue color.
The old-style homes are 200 or so years old, I was told.
We found this little drinking spot. There were cups, so I assumed it was safe to drink. We filled up our bottles and, wow! cold and no taste at all, just as God intended! (My mom’s reaction, verbatim. 🙂 )
It rained off and on (and hailed! so much for being June tomorrow) during our visit today, so we will have to head back and explore more of the trails and neighborhoods next time!
I don’t know why this neat old town hadn’t topped the lists of other travel blogs, but I think it’s just as worthy a spot as the others. 🙂
Not much comes up online, but there is a wide range of hotels and rooms for accommodation, restaurants, stores, and cafes here. A girl we spoke to at a convenience store where we popped in to buy umbrellas said her rooms are 5 euros (per person, I’m assuming.)
We ate at Pupin’s House.
Let us know if you make it over to this amazing micronation or shoot me a message if you have any questions! 🙂