Roman Bath / Monastery of St Bogorodica Eleusa / Monastery of St Leonthius

Kolesino waterfall / Smolare waterfall

(please click on the name)

Roman Bath in Bansko

About 12 km south-east of Strumica you can find well conserved ruins of an ancient Roman bath house, which was a thermal spa. They are located near the village Bansko. This bath house dates back to the 3rd and 4th centuries. The bath house used the thermal mineral water of the spring Parilo located next to the baths. The site was discovered in 1978 during the construction of the Czar Samuil Hotel. So far 11 rooms of the spa have been discovered.

The village of Bansko is located at the height of 270 m at the bottom of the mountain Belasica, 12 km southeast from the city of Strumica. The waters emerging from the springs of the Banjsko spa are considered the hottest in Macedonia. Their temperature reaches 72C. They assist in the treatment of diseases of the digestive organs, breathing, lung, different rheumatic and intestinal diseases, all gynecological diseases, disorders of the nervous system, sterility, and rehabilitation after heart attacks.

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Monastery of St Bogorodica Eleusa

Monastery of St Bogorodica Eleusa (Holy Mother of God - Eleusa) is in the village Veljusa. Since 1996, when the monks moved to the Monastery of St Leonthius, only nuns live here. The Monastery St Bogorodica Eleusa has a very well kept garden and is an oasis of peace. The view over the village and the Strumica region is great.

The bishop Manuel of Strumica made this monastery, dedicated to the Holy Mother of God (Holy Virgin) Eleusa of Tenderness, in 1080.
The monastery is important because of its architechtural layout, 11th century frecoes, floor mosaic, and the marble iconstatis. It has suffered fires in 1913 and 1968. An interesting fresco of Jesus at the age of 12 can be seen on the ceiling of the eastern cupola. Another fresco of Christ as a young boy can be found in the Monastery of Treskovec near Prilep.

Some of the nuns speak very well English and like to explain more about the monastery. They also sell several things, from oil to hand-painted vases.

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Monastery of St Leonthius, Vodoca

The Monastery of St Leonthius can be found in the village of Vodoca. This monastery is built at the grounds of an earlier monastery, which was built there after the defeat of Tzar Samuil's troops in which 15.000 of his men were blinded by Byzantine soldiers. A fresco in the church reminds of this terrible fact. Right next to the church dedicated to St Leonthius are the ruins of the original church. The church was damaged by an earthquake in 1931, but has been restored in 1995. After the restoration, the monks from the Monastery St Bogorodica Eleusa in Veljusa moved into this monastery.

The church is quite big and remarkably simple, and one can see parts of the original walls. Allegedly, relics of the wife and son of St Kiril are kept in the vaults of the church. The monastery is dedicated to St Leonthius, who was martyred in 320 AD for refusing to renounce Christianity. He was frozen to death in Lake Sebaste in eastern Turkey.

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Kolesino waterfall

The waterfall gently falls over the stone cliffs nestled in the forest of the Belasica Mountain at a height of 19 metres (62 ft.) in multiple watery streams only to reform into the river below. The waterfall is beautiful in ever season and continually changes to reflect nature which surrounds it. In the winter, these fragile streams can become frozen and in the spring, strengthened by the recent rainfalls, the gentle streams rush more powerfully over the cliff sides.

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Smolare waterfall

The waterfall is part of the Lomnica River and is located deep in the Belasica Mountain at an elevation of 630 metres. Crashing down the smooth, black rock face, and surrounded by 100-year-old beech trees, this waterfall is visited by tourists throughout the year.

To reach the majestic beauty of the Smolare Waterfall, visitors must wind their way up a nature path which includes 300 stone steps made from natural materials. Once at the site, deep within the forest, tourists can gaze at the waterfall from a wooden bridge constructed in front of the crashing water, enjoying the refreshing spray at the waterfall collides with the rock face and meets the river below.

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