Spectacular views, commanding structure, mountaintop camping: Millennium Cross, Republic of North Macedonia

FEATURED ARTICLES, ACTIVITIES, STAFF, EUROPE, Scenic Wonders, WALKING/HIKING — By on January 11, 2019 at 23:23

Text & photos Copyright © Estrella Azul

A COMMANDING SPECTACLE AT THE summit of Vodno Mountain, and proudly overlooking the city of Skopje in the Republic of North Macedonia, is the 66-meter (217-ft) high Millennium Cross.

Millennium Cross on top of Krstovar Peak

At 1,066 meters (3,497 feet), Millennium Cross was constructed on Krstovar Peak as a memorial of 2,000 years of Christianity. Krstovar means “place of the cross.”

Amazing mountain views

One morning during our stay in Skopje last winter, we took the Number 25 bus up to the cable cars station. It was bone-chilly, so we were careful to check the return bus schedule. We wanted to come down in time to catch it back to the city without too much lingering in the cold.

Dramatic skies over wrinkly snowy mountains

If one travels to Skopje during warmer weather, however, lingering near the cable car station looks like much fun. There are camping tables, shelters and spaces set up for enjoying one’s sandwich, a playground for kids, walking paths, as well as plenty of benches to rest on and observe the comings and goings.

There are bird houses all over. Information panels describe bird types and other critters that make the place their home.

Camping area welcoming tourists to the cable cars

Although it was morning and we arrived before they started the cable cars, there was already a line of tourists. We didn’t have a terribly long wait, but I recommend getting there early; especially in warmer weather when the place will be swarming.

Mountain backdrop for inspired camping

On the other hand, if one wants to avoid the lines altogether, the mountain has quite a few hiking trails that will take you to Millennium Cross and beyond. Some of the trails start from the parking lot.

The station and its cable cars that take tourists up to Millennium Cross

There are four different lengths of paths in different color codes. Red has a length of 2.2 km and Green is 2.3 km—these two are difficult. Pink is 3.3 km long and Yellow is 4.9 km—these are the easy paths.

Trail markings provide both tourists and locals with safe hiking.

Sitting on top of Krstovar Peak

We met a few people who did just that. Some of them even said they’d hiked over from Macedonian Village (see The lesser delights of Scupi, the Skopje Aqueduct and Macedonian Village).

Observation deck near the cross

On the bus ride up to it, and from the park near the cable cars, there was already a nice view of the capital city below, albeit trees did cover some of it. On the cable car we sat so we could see the city on the way up, but once we reached the peak we were well and truly blown away by the amazing views.

Foggy, blue-looking Skopje


Spectacular views all around us

The cross itself if not open to the public to enjoy views from its very top, but the panoramic view of Skopje is absolutely amazing from nearly any view-point of Krstovar peak. The mountains surrounding the city and the entire Macedonian countryside is such a beautiful sight. We enjoyed using the observation deck overlooking the valley to fully enjoy the nature setting.

The valley behind Krstovar Peak

Next to the cable car station and the Millennium Cross stand a few radio towers, with a new one currently under construction.

A coffee shop at the foot of the cross offers visitors hot beverages. We were warmed and comforted by the delicious tea and coffee.

Radio towers and leisure spaces on Krstovar peak

As in the park from where the cable cars start, benches provide a place to sit and rest. Visitors have the opportunity to camp nearly anywhere around the cross and there are play areas for the kids. We noticed a few cabins where during warmer weather vendors display their merchandise.

My favorite picture taken on top of Vodno Mountain

We had a lovely walk and spent such a wonderful time exploring around the cross! Whether you hike or take the cable car, Millennium Cross is a definite must-see when you visit Skopje.

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RELATED TOPICS

There’s a similar cross in the city, in Skopje’s most urban municipality know as Aerodrom. You can see a picture of it in my travel story Quirky architecture of Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia.

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Estrella in the Greek Amphitheatre ruins, Taormina, Sicily

Estrella Azul is a young emerging writer, passionate about reading, floral art and photography, with an artistic personality and a soulful outlook on life. She is a Hungarian girl living and writing from Cluj-Napoca, Romania, the capital of historical region Transylvania. Estrella is our European correspondent, she currently serves as the photo editor here at Milliver’s Travels, and she dreams of embarking on a round-the-world trip. To read more of her creative writing, her thoughts and daily happenings, visit Life’s a stage – WebBlog©. Read more of her stories on Milliver’s Travels by visiting Estrella’s story index.

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