If you are looking for a destination that combines history, culture, nature and gastronomy, then Prilep is the place for you.
Prilep is the fourth-largest city in North Macedonia, located in the northern part of Pelagonia Valley, in the southwestern part of the country.
It has a population of about 63,000 and is known as “the city under Marko’s Towers” because of its proximity to the towers of Prince Marko, a medieval ruler and folk hero.
It was the capital of the Kingdom of Prilep, the realm of Prince Marko, who fought against the Ottoman Turks in the 14th century.
Prilep is also a center for high-quality tobacco and marble production, as well as a hub for culture and art.
A Tapestry of History
Prilep’s historical roots stretch deep into antiquity, with evidence of early settlements and prehistoric sites dotting the region.
Among the notable archaeological sites is Stibera, near the village of Chepigovo, which offers a fascinating glimpse into ancient civilizations.
Prilep’s strategic location in the heart of the Pelagonia Valley made it a prominent center for various industries, including tobacco, metal processing, electronics, textiles, food, and marble.
Tobacco in Prilep
Prilep has long been synonymous with tobacco production, with its climate providing the ideal conditions for cultivating this prized crop.
The city’s high-quality tobacco finds its way into the factories of renowned cigarette manufacturers worldwide.
The Tobacco Institute, established in Prilep, fosters innovation in tobacco production, ensuring a thriving industry for the city and its inhabitants.
Industrial Marvels and Festive Delights
Prilep’s industrial landscape includes not only tobacco production but also the Prilep Brewery and a thriving marble plant, adding to the city’s economic vibrancy.
Moreover, Prilep is famous for its annual beer festival, Pivofest, where locals and visitors alike gather to celebrate the art of brewing, accompanied by live music and a jovial atmosphere.
Craftsmanship in Every Sip Prilep Brewery stands as a testament to the city’s long-standing brewing traditions.
With a history spanning over several decades, the brewery has perfected the art of crafting exceptional beers that captivate the palates of locals and visitors alike.
Prilep Brewery takes great pride in using high-quality ingredients, traditional brewing techniques, and a commitment to excellence.
How to get to Prilep from Skopje
Prilep can be reached by car, bus or train from Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia, which is about 128 km away.
The main road A3 connects Prilep with Skopje and Bitola, another major city in the region.
There are regular bus and train services between Prilep and other cities in North Macedonia and neighboring countries.
Bus timetable: 08:30// 09:00//11:00//12:30// 13:30// 14:30// 15:30// 16:30// 17:30// 18:00// 19:00// 21:00
Not all of the buses are direct, so some of them have final destination Bitola or Ohrid.
You can also fly to Skopje International Airport and then take a bus, train or rent a car to Prilep.
What to see in Prilep
Prilep has many attractions to offer to visitors, ranging from historical monuments to natural wonders. Here are some of the highlights:
Markovi Kuli (Marko’s Towers)
These are the ruins of a medieval fortress that was built on a rocky hill above Prilep by King Volkashin and his son Marko in the 13th and 14th centuries.
The fortress was the seat of the Kingdom of Prilep and a symbol of resistance against the Ottoman invasion.
Today, you can hike up to the fortress and enjoy the panoramic view of Prilep and the surrounding mountains.
Burial Mounds of Undefeated
known as “Споменик Могила на непобедените” in the local language. These enigmatic burial sites carry the weight of centuries of untold stories, offering a glimpse into the indomitable spirit of the past.
The Burial Mounds of Undefeated in Prilep stand tall as solemn reminders of the unwavering courage displayed by those who fought to protect their lands.
Each mound serves as a memorial to fallen heroes, their bravery etched into the annals of history.
This is an ancient monastery that dates back to the 12th century, located on a mountain slope about 10 km from Prilep.
The monastery is famous for its frescoes, icons and relics, as well as its secluded and serene atmosphere.
You can reach the monastery by car or by hiking along a scenic trail.
This is another old monastery that was founded in the 14th century, situated on a plateau about 25 km from Prilep.
The monastery is known for its architecture, frescoes and icons, as well as its stunning views of the Pelagonia plain. You can visit the monastery by car or by bike.
Prilep’s Old Bazaar
This is the historical center of Prilep, where you can find many shops, cafes, restaurants and mosques.
The bazaar dates back to the Ottoman period and preserves the traditional atmosphere and architecture of that era.
You can stroll around the bazaar and admire the old buildings, such as the Clock Tower, the King Marko Statue and the Holy Annunciation Church.
St. Paraskeva (Св. Петка)
It is a symbol of remembrance and reverence for the tragic event known as Karpalak.
It commemorates the sacrifice of 10 defenders from Prilep who lost their lives in an ambush by Albanian terrorists on August 8, 2001.
Construction of the church began seven years later, on the same date in 2008. The church is dedicated to Venerable Martyr Paraskeva – Petka Romanka, honored by the Orthodox Church on August 8.
Combining modern construction techniques with traditional materials, the church showcases a unique blend of styles.
The interior boasts a meticulously crafted iconostasis made of exquisite white Prilep marble.
Salida Aqua Park
This is a modern water park that offers fun and entertainment for all ages.
The park has various pools, slides, fountains and playgrounds, as well as a restaurant and a bar.
The park is open from June to September and is located 3 km from centre of Prilep.
What to do in Prilep?
Prilep is a city that offers many opportunities for recreation, adventure and culture. Here are some of the activities that you can enjoy in Prilep:
Hiking in Prilep
Prilep is surrounded by mountains and hills that offer many trails for hiking and exploring.
You can hike to Markovi Kuli, Treskavec Monastery, Zrze Monastery or other nearby villages and enjoy the nature and the views.
Bike in Prilep
Prilep is also a great place for biking, as there are many roads and paths that lead to different destinations.
You can bike to the Pelagonia plain, the Mariovo region or the Prespa Lake and discover the rural and natural beauty of the area.
Prilep is one of the best places for paragliding in North Macedonia, as it has favorable wind conditions and spectacular scenery.
You can fly from the hill of Varosh or from Markovi Kuli and experience the thrill of flying over Prilep and the mountains.
Festivals to attend in Prilep
Prilep is a city that hosts many festivals throughout the year, celebrating its culture, art and history.
Some of the most famous festivals are: Pivofest (a beer festival in July), Prilep Summer (a cultural festival in August), International Children’s Folklore Festival (a folklore festival in September) and Marko’s Fair (a traditional fair in October).
As the fourth-largest city in North Macedonia, Prilep captivates visitors with its historical significance, evident in landmarks like Marko’s Towers and the Burial Mounds of Undefeated.
The city’s thriving tobacco and marble industries showcase its economic prowess, while the annual Pivofest beer festival and the renowned Prilep Brewery add a delightful touch of festive indulgence.
Prilep’s proximity to picturesque hiking trails, paragliding spots, and biking routes ensures ample opportunities for outdoor adventure.
Plan your visit and immerse yourself in the magic of this remarkable Macedonian city.
Prilep is a city that you should visit at least once in your life!