Alexander the Great and his soldiers drank Tikvesh wine


Alexander the Great and members of his phalanx had toasted with Tikvesh wine while the residents of the Kavadarci village of Resava had made bricks to build their houses mixing them with wine instead of water. These stories are part of the promotional tourist sets, set to be offered to wine tourists as of March.

Established a decade ago, the Tikvesh Wine Route Foundation is compiling the unique national and cultural beauty of the region of Tikvesh in a single attractive tourist offer. Its goal is to prove that sea is not the main requirement for a successful development of tourism.

“All that is beautiful should be shared. The tales of the water of fairies, the rock of fertility, the invaluable archeological artifacts, frescoes, etc. The exquisite wines and rakia, the local cuisine… It is about time we cook visitors from home and abroad meals to taste authentic and traditional cuisine which Macedonia is known for,” says Violeta Jankova, the Foundation’s director.

Mount Kozhuf, whose uniqueness includes high altitude, lush forests, long periods of snow cover, versatile flora and fauna, offers plenty of opportunities for attractive hiking tours, according to her.

“The Macedonian beauty is a magnet for people interested in minerals. In the vicinity of the village of Majden is the mine Allchar. In addition to gold, antimony and arsenic, Allchar is considered the deposit with the highest amount of thallium arsenic sulfosalt – lorándite. Allchar is part of the Emerald Network of Nature Protection Sites. Only rare species of flora and fauna, as well as some reptiles and large­size wild violets, are there to testify about the secrets of the mountain. And legends, too. Reportedly, Alexander the Great was the first one who had discovered the mysterious power of lorándite. It is believed that his soldiers have had their shields coated with lorándite before every battle. Glistening under the afternoon sun, the shields blinded their opponents, thus leading the phalanx into victory. Which is why the Sun was engraved into their shields – it is believed that here lies the connection between Macedonians and the Sun,” Jankova elaborates.


We, too, have Vranec to compete with
The packages, which are due for testing, will include a tour for gourmands, as well as cooking classes for tourists to learn how to prepare specialties of the region of Tikvesh. As part of the fishing tour, tourists will have the chance to relish the taste of mountain river fish or Lake Tikvesh fish, in addition to exceptional beverages made out of grapes.

“Hospitality, wine, music and arts are embedded in the genetic code of Tikvesh. The tour of tradition and cultural heritage of the region will reveal to the tourists part of our immense cultural heritage, including archaeological sites and unearthed artifacts, craftsmanship of the past, wonderful works of art, etc,” Jankova tells MIA.

The Rural Tikvesh Region promotes villages where residents will join tourists to show them everyday activities in the countryside, to cook them delicious home dishes and to enjoy togehter in the natural beauty of these villages.

Venus is a program specially designed for all those who have decided to focus on their health, i.e. to strengthen their body and soul. The program will be implemented by professionals, such as medical experts and athletes.

Through all of these tourist packages, she adds, tourists will be able to explore and experience the region of Tikvesh and its wine routes. The mission of the Foundation is to trace wine routes across the country and to attract as many tourists in Macedonia as possible.

“As soon as we promoted our idea to advertize wine routes in Macedonia, many were skeptical of the idea. The notion of a wine route was somewhat virtual for them. People had no idea what everything is about. But, in the past several years we have managed to convince them that we, too, have Vranec to compete with and that our wine story deserves attention. Our hard work has produced results – wine routes are becoming a reality and many other people have showed interest in them,” she says.


Tourists want to prune the grapes
Jankova says the Foundation is still trying to convince local residents in the Tikvesh region that they could put up tourists, prepare local specialties and quality wine for them.

Several major projects have been already implemented in cooperation with municipalities in the Tikvesh region that have come as a result of cross­border cooperation and finances from European funds. These include the construction of the first tourist information center in the region and a museum of wine in Negotino and a center for education and tourism networking in Demir Kapija.

Macedonia is one of the 33 cultural routes in Europe. Several years ago, the Foundation organized for the first time a competition in grape pruning. At the moment, a project is being brewed that is supported by all nine municipalities in the Vardar Planning Region. Recently, the region has adopted a strategy on wine tourism development.

We’ve asked her if there were tourists for real who are fed up with the asphalt jungle and who would gladly come to prune grapes, or make wine in Macedonia.

“Is this true and does this kind of alternative tourism exist? – Of course, there are people who are interested in this,” Jankova notes. However, certain conditions must be met for this type of tourists. “A team of experts has been set up to identify the needs and desires of clients. There will be tours lasting from two days up to 14 days. Tourists will be offered to stay in hotels or in private accommodation. In a bid to develop monastery tourism, guests will be able to choose to stay in monastery complexes if they want. There are 65 places of worship across the Tikvesh region; churches, monasteries, early Christian churches and cave churches,” she says. Jankova, herself, delights in Temjanika white wine toasting to health, happiness and flocks of tourists visiting the wine routes in Macedonia.

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