Gradeshnica village in the Municipality of Novaci, according to many who have visited it, is one of the most beautiful villages in the Republic of Macedonia. Located beside the clean Gradeska Reka, 52 km from Bitola, the village is hilly and lies at an altitude of 800 meters.
View toward Gradeshnica village
It is not known when exactly the village was formed, but according to archaeological findings, it can be established that there was a continuity of life on this place even from prehistory. The proof of this is the ceramics decorated with spirals built in the church of St. George, in the upper part of the village.
What only a few people know is the fact that in this village in 1952 a tooth of Mastodont was found, one of the nine samples found in Macedonia, which today is kept at the Natural Museum in Belgrade, Serbia.
At the entrance of the village, visitors can see the church St. Demetrius, one of the oldest in Bitola region. It dates from the XIV century and is built of stone and mortar, and the roof of stone slabs.
Church St. Dimitrij
Particularly interesting is the fresco painting in this church and the fact that the altar section is divided by a walled iconostasis, which is a real rarity.
During the First World War, the church was directly hit by an artillery grenade, which fortunately did not explode. Thus, this building was the only one in the village that survived the war.
In the center of the village is the church of St. Nicholas, which is the largest of the seven churches located in this village. Above the entrance to the church, is a text which says that it was restored in 1863, but when it was built and if there was older one smaller church in that place, it is not yet known. During the First World War, the church was severely damaged.
St. Nicholas church in the center of the village Gradeshnica
The church St. Nicholas was repaired in 1923, and the frescoes were restored in 1927 by Kosta Nikolic with his sons Jakim and Theodosius, originally from Lazaropole. It was consecrated the same year by the Metropolitan Joseph from Bitola.
The village celebrates the holiday St. Elijah (Sv. Илија) – Ilinden (August 1st) when a large number of guests from all Mariovo villages gather in the monastery near the village.
St. Elijah Monastery (also called “Bren”) near village Gradeshnica
The pure Gradeshka River is a gift from God for this village. It springs on the Kozjak Mountain at an altitude of 1,600 m above sea level and, by its course, to the village there is literally no source of pollution. It is interesting that the locals even drink from it in the upper part of the village, near the so-called “Temnichki Vir”, which in the summer is one of the favorite places for cooling.
Also at the very entrance of the village, about 200 meters from the bridge is another place that the local people use for cooling in summer, the so-called “Dolnimaalski Vir”.
About 1 km from the entrance of the village is the fortress “Peshta”, known by the story of Kalesh Angja, a Mariovo girl with steel will, willingly and at the cost of her life to preserve her faith and not give herself to the Turkish kadi (judge) in Prilep who kidnapped her to become his wife.
View toward Peshta fortress
The beautiful girl “Kalesh Angja” was captured in an insidious manner and her rescue from the Kadi’s home is in some way an introduction to an organized uprising against the Ottoman Empire or the so-called. “Mariovo Rebellion” (1564/65).
The population in Mariovo gave a great resistance to the Ottoman army and on several occasions, it resisted the attacks. However, surrounded from all sides, the insurgents had to withdraw to Peshta fortress, located between the villages Staravina and Gradeshnica. Unable to conquer the fortress by force, the Ottoman army located and cut the underground canal, through which the fortress was supplied with water. Without water, some of the prominent rebels decided to go out of the fortress and fight to the death, while the others together with the women and children surrendered.
Today, little remained of the former fortress, but the walk to this location using the dirt road for terrain vehicles is a great opportunity for a short 15 minutes walk. Especially impressive is the view of the picturesque landscapes of Mariovo, which offers this location.
It can be said that nature was really generous in this village in Mariovo region, which with its ecologically clean environment is widely known for its products such as Mariovo lamb, “Beaten”(Bieno) Cheese and Mariovo honey.
100% natural and photographed in Gradeshnica
How to reach Gradeshnica village
To the village leads the regional road R1311 which from Bitola, trough the villages Logovardi, Novaci, Makovo, Rapesh, leads to Gradeshnica village (52 км). A large part of this road (49 км) is paved with asphalt, while around 3 км is still dirt road which is expected to be paved in 2019.
Suggested Jeep tours near Gradeshnica village:
- Macedonian Front – First World War – one-day excursion in Mariovo region
- Feel the nature – оne-day jeep excursions to “White” River – Mariovo
- Mariovo – Rural Adventure – one-day jeep excursions
- Zovich village and Chebren monastery – one-day jeep excursions
- Dobro Pole – WW1 Location – Jeep Excursions