Culture and Art

      Struga, like other towns in Macedonia, during its history had different rulers and each one of them, in his own way, left part of his culture here. It can be said that Struga is one of the most beautiful towns in the Republic of Macedonia, because besides the excellent locality, similar to the one of Ohrid and Krusevo, the town characterizes with old and authentic architecture, in fact typical for the whole region. Like the history of Ohrid, the history of Struga also begins with the Neolithic period. Proofs for this, can be found in the artifacts from the famous archeological sites such as "Ustata na rekata Drim" ("The Mouth of River Drim") and "Crkovni Livagje" in the village of Vranishta.

      From the time when the Macedonian kings were ruling, there is a bronze helmet, found on the site "St. Ilija" near the village of Delogozhda, which is kept today in the town museum. There are basilicas in the villages of Radolista, of Oktisi and of Delogozhda, dating from the early Christian period, 5th-6th century AD. It is clear that by the 6th century AD, in Struga and its surrounding an intensive life has developed. This can be proved by different objects dating from this period and their excellent treatment, also from gorgeous tomb inscriptions, with pure art design, and above all, these were people who knew how in the utilitarian to try to find elements of real art.

      For the cultural history of Struga and its surrounding the above mentioned early Christian basilicas in the village of Oktisi and in the village of Radolista are of great importance. They are three nave, with naos, narthex and baptistery, and what makes them gorgeous, are floor mosaics. Basilicas of this type are spread over the whole Balkan. Some of them are important by their architectural decisions, and others because of the mosaics and the different decorations. But not so often basilicas with floor mosaics that represent very rear compositions are found: in Oktisi basilica in its narthex there is a composition representing the entrance in heaven, and in the basilica in Radolista, in the naos-central part of the temple-between other known Christian symbols the eel is shown, as fish characteristic for Ohrid and Struga. But in the early Christian period, and later as well, the fish was one of the symbols of Christ.

      In Struga and its surrounding the tradition of St. Kliment and St. Naum is present, for which a lot of names of sites dating from this time can be found: "Klimentica" in the center of Struga, especially the site "Holy Mother of God Prechista" in the village of Vranishta, rarity not only in Macedonia but on the whole Balkan. This church, originating from the 9th-10th century, is a unique oriental basilica, three-nave with one roof on two waters. The central nave was lighted from the windows on the altar apse, and one on the north and south side walls of the basilica. The mystic, present in its interior with this system of lightening, connects this type of basilicas with east, in contrast with other known basilicas in Macedonia and wider, where the central nave is lightened from the windows on the side walls. On the outer east side three naves had apses. Judging by the material for its construction, for the walls and the vaults, brought from a distance of many kilometers, and by bricks for arcs, especially the form of naves together with apses, and by the telling that king Samuil was crowned here, today’s people calls this church "King's church", and most probably it dates from this time. For the time being it is the only monument in Macedonia (excluding St. Sofija in Ohrid and St. Ahil in Prespa) which is connected with the time of Samuil.

      The oldest icon art in Struga is the the icon of St. Georgi (1267), in the church with the same name, dating from the middle century. It represents the patron of the well known main church in Struga, in whole figure, frontally drawn, with sward and spear in his hands. The man connected with this icon is the Ohrid missionary, the deacon Jovan, one of the most important figures in organisation of art activity in the southwest Macedonia, in the third quarter of the 13th century. Painted with outstanding feeling for delicate colorist shadowing, this icon shines with impressive beauty of the face, in subdued gamut, through which cinober and white accents from the yellow surface are shining. Modeling of St Georgija, the graficism, very often used in previous or modern arts, is not so dominant here, which makes this icon one of the most valued and most renowned icons of all. On the icon’s backside an inscription is found, where it is mentioned that the designer of this icon, representing the Holy soldier Georgija, is the fresco-painter Jovan, and as a guarantor again Jovan is mentioned, the administrator of the Ohrid bishop Konstantin Kavasilas.

      From the Turkish period, these objects can be mentioned: the bath, with modest dimensions, but which consists of all the elements of a typical bath in Macedonia, and "Halveti teke", which is under protection of the Institute for Cultural Monuments of Macedonia. The teke (Muslim monastery) is established by Hasan Baba (Asan Dede) at the beginning of the 18th century. The object consists of five rooms, forms the letter "T" which means: mosque which comprises the minaret and the balcony, café-inn, summer inn and reception room. The cupola of the minaret is in octagonal form, which is a symbol of eight heavenly doors, and the crown of the scheih as well.

      From the time of the renaissance there are many churches in the region, in almost every inhabited place. They are all characterized by the famous and so typical for Macedonia architectural style, with rich and valuable carved iconostasis on which a lot of "prestolni" (throne) and "praznicni" (festive) icons can be found, and with the church interior ornamented with wall fresco-painting. The most famous among these is the town's cathedral church "St. Georgija", built in 1853, on basis of older sacral object, the extremely beautiful carved iconostasis is finished in 1850, and the church has been completely fresco-painted in 1874. During the conservation on this church in 1993 many icons were found on the roof, dated from 15th and 18th century, which according to their performance and painted faces, color and forms, are really a rarity not only in Macedonia but on a broader scale, as well. You can read more on the churches, basilicas and monasteries in the region in that section.

        Cultural Center "Miladinovci Brothers
        Icons from Struga and its surroundings
        Traditional architecture
        Musical heritage of the town
        Struški Biseri - Ambassadors of traditional music from Struga
        Traditional handcraft
        National costumes and embroidery
        Folk dancing group Ilinden
        Halveti teke (18th century AD)
        Web encyclopedia of the cultural heritage of Struga
        Calendar of events in the region