If you are looking for a destination in the Balkans where you can enjoy the peace and tranquility of the beautiful nature, then you should take the time to visit the Mariovo region. Today Mariovo is one of the most sparsely populated regions in the Balkans and is located in the southern part of Macedonia.
If you ever visit Mariovo, the inhabitants of this village will surely tell you the legend of Princess Maria, known as Mara Sultania, the daughter of a Christian monarch, who was given by her family to be the sultan’s wife. She accepted to be the sultan’s wife, but on the condition that no conversion will be performed in that area. As a sign of gratitude, the population in honor of Marija who saved the whole region gave the name to the region Mariovo.
There are a lot of similar legends that you will hear from the locals who live in that region. One of those local heroes and also the biggest promoter of the Mariovo region is Mitko Krstevski.
Mitko is always in the mood for a good chat and to give a warm welcome to everyone who visits him.
He is the owner of an ethno restaurant and accommodation facility in the village of Zovic, a village that we say is the new destination for tourists. The village of Zovic is located in the central part of the Mariovo area. It is located on a rocky plain just above the left bank of the Gradeshka River. It is located at an altitude of 725 meters between two hill ridges to the south and north, at the top of which is built the small church of St. Athanasius. Near the village, right after the famous bridge Zovic, flows the river Gradeska, which springs and flows from the mountain Nidze, entering the beautiful rocky gorge.
If you visit his ethno restaurant “Kaj Mostot vo selo Zovic”, you can see how homemade sheep cheese is prepared. The preparation of the cheese lasts for four hours, and the procedure starts with putting the yeast until the squeezing, than it is put in molds and bins and let to boil for 40 days.
Mitko hopes that for the upcoming season they will be visited by a bigger number of tourists than the previous year and that everyone will have the opportunity to taste the cheese he prepares. And also in his gardens there are a lot of local fruits so that he can present the Mariovo region in the right way.
According to him, the tourists who started visiting him were the main reason why Mitko decided to focus and invest in the reconstruction of the old house that used to be a shop. He still remembers the first day he opened the house, to which there was only a mountain unpaved road.
Today, unlike before, Mitko says that things have changed and foreign tourists are delighted with the organization, the climate, the pleasant altitude, the bridge that is not far from the ethno house and most of all, the food.
He prepares the food exclusively in the old traditional way as his grandparents did it in the past. Most of the groceries are picked up directly from the garden in Zovic, and the meat is from local farmers.
According to Mitko, tourists mostly love the dishes made under the traditional oven (Vrshnik), the homemade sour milk, pishii with cheese and garlic, makalo, salads and everything that is authentic for the Mariovo region.
In addition to gastronomic experiences, Mariovo is a region that has countless unique locations where many Macedonian films have been shot. What is of particular importance are the films of Milcho Machevski that were screened at many world film festivals.
The Mariovo region, as Mitko says, is an excellent area for active tourism. Every year, the Mariovo Off-Road Experience passes through the old bridge through a bicycle and mountaineering walk. These trails are 11 km long or 3 hours on foot crossing the rivers Gradeshka and Satoka. The village of Zovic is connected to the village of Manastir in the Prilep part of Mariovo, and there are many old churches and monasteries dating back to the Middle Ages.