Krushevo is perhaps one of the most unique cities in Macedonia and is also a perfect place for a unique experience. The city looks like a postcard filled with small and large homes, surrounded by mountains and untouched nature. It’s a very small town where everyone lives together as one big family, and that is exactly what will allow you to have such a unique experience, because here you can talk with the locals and they can share part of their life with you. If one day the road leads you to Krushevo, try to do at least one of these things:
1. Get to know “dedo” (grandpa) Mile – the barrel-master in town. He is still working with handmade barrels. Unfortunately, no one is interested in continuing the craft, a problem which many other craftsmen face. Meeting with “dedo” Mile will not only allow you to see how barrel-crafting works and what is the ultimate product, but will also let you have the opportunity to hear a story or legend from Turkish time. For example, the legend of the name Krushevo - in the past there was a huge pear tree in the city and the Vlachs shepherds settled around it, so they gave the town the name of name Krushevo (it means the city of the pear). Other people say the word Krushevo pronounced on syllables in Turkish means an eagle’s nest. But this is not everything - if you are curious you can also ask “dedo” Mile to tell you the story of how everything started with his craft. He is the fifth generation of a family that has been crafting these barrels with tremendous love.
2. Visit the last shoemaker in the city – Gjorgji Gabel. In the center of the bazaar of Krushevo, there are still some craftsmen working. When you go inside of his shop you will feel like you went back to another time, in another world where shoes are still repaired with great care. Here you can hear stories from the past. A truly unique experience first because of the opportunity to ask anything that interests you and second to learn something you may not know about this craft and in general about the city of Krushevo.
3. Local lokum shop – Do you love sweets? If the answer is yes, then you should definitely visit the local shop where they sell the best lokum in Macedonia. The lokum is produced here but not in the same shop where you can buy it. Still, you can meet the owner or someone who working there and they will answer any question and curiosity that you have - but just know that they will not unveil the secret recipe why their lokum is the best in Macedonia.
4. The biggest collection of guns and rifles in the area – Are you passionate about guns and weapons? In Krushevo you will have the opportunity to meet with the only weapon collector who will show you his home collection of the oldest guns and rifles. At the same time, he also has his workshop where he still repairs hunting rifles and even produces special wooden parts of the guns that can not be found elsewhere.
5. The local sled shop – in the very city center of Krushevo you can visit the local sled shop “Apolo”. Here you can have a look at how they make their sleds. The owner told us that it takes approximately two years to craft the final product. Their sleds are made from oak and beech wood and likely are the best in Macedonia.
Written and photographed by Elena Mitkovska
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