Cover photo credits ©Ptahhotep/ Wikimedia
Cover photo credits ©Ptahhotep/ Wikimedia

Pelister, the oldest national park in North Macedonia

2 minutes to read

One sad truth is that humanity reached a point where nature has to be protected by law in order not to be harmed. A national park is a park in use for conservation. The common idea behind this notion is the preservation of ‘wild nature’ for posterity and as a symbol of national pride.

The first national park is Yellowstone National Park in the USA, since 1872. The national park with the largest protected area is Northeast Greenland National Park. And what is the most beautiful one? To answer this question, you must hit the road now, and here on itinari, we will share with you all we know. May the selection begin. I will present you the oldest national park in Northern Macedonia, Pelister

Pelister National Park is located in the southwestern part of North Macedonia, close to Bitola, and covers an area of ​​12,500 hectares. It was proclaimed in 1948 as the first protected natural area. Very characteristic for this national park are the many peaks and elevations higher than 2000 meters, which are separated by deep valleys among themselves. The highest peak is the Pelister (2601 m).

The name originates from the Greek word “περιστέρι” (Peristeri) which means dove. The white stone of the peak, when you look at it from a distance resembles a dove.

Photo credits ©Jovanovdalibor/ Wikimedia
Photo credits ©Jovanovdalibor/ Wikimedia

The main reason Pelister is a national park today is the characteristic pinewood, called Molika. This pinewood has leaves (needles) in bundles of five, with a deciduous sheath. We also find this tree on other mountains in the Balkans, but here it builds the densest forest community. Walking through Pelister, you will encounter pinewood of this type older than 230 years.

Photo credits ©Ptahhotep/ Wikimedia
Photo credits ©Ptahhotep/ Wikimedia

"Pelister (Mountain) Eyes" refer to the glacial lakes of Pelister. They named one of the two lakes, the Big Lake, and the other is the Small Lake. There is also a legend of their formation. It goes like this. A long, long time ago, there was a beautiful boy named Pelister. Two sisters were madly in love with him, both. Pelister was the reason why these two sisters were in a constant fight. The mother of the sisters wasn’t glad at all to see her children fighting. She had to solve the situation. The mother isolated her daughters in the mountain, and she cursed them to be very close one to another, but unable to see each other until they stop loving Pelister. We assume this took a while, as true love does. The two sisters got stuck in the mountain, long enough for each one of them to cry out a lake. Rumor has it that remained in love with Pelister. The mother’s method was unsuccessful in solving the triangle, but a big “thank you” for the beautiful lakes!

Pelister is a wilderness of rugged mountains, hidden villages and deep glacial lakes, and a haven for hikers.

When you are visiting this national park, you can find a place to sleep in Bitola or some of the villages that are near, like Malovishte, Brajcino, and Ljubojno. As a popular ski destination, several hotels are also available here. Consider this place if you are searching for a hiking spot and raw nature.


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The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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