Not an ordinary Macedonian village: Velmej

Zlata Golaboska | Live the World

November 23, 2022

It is very often the case that whenever we talk about a Macedonian village,** we are talking about places that 50 years ago were functioning while nowadays are either abandoned, or populated only during some periods. A general common characteristic for all Macedonian villages is a perfectly natural position since they are chosen very intuitively. One of the most vivid villages in the Ohrid area is Velmej, the village with the best natural water you can imagine**.

Several churches and one meeting point

The main village church "St. Nicholas", together with the village cemetery, is located in the middle part of the village, dates back to the 13th century, and the present architectural appearance dates back to the XIX century. The church has an iconostasis, with icons dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as an interesting carved bishop's throne. According to the writings of the Russian traveler Viktor Grigorovich in 1845, during the conversion of the church, the villagers built an old manuscripts and books in the walls of the church because of fear of being destroyed by the fanatics.

The church "St. Gorge" is located in the northeastern part of the village, on a high slope. Probably it is built in the 17th century, and renewed 1930.

The church "St. Virgin Cell" is located at the entrance of the village, on the southeast side. It is a small church from 14th century. Even the dimensions of this church are small, the value that it brings to the Macedonian history of art is big. Most of the original fresco paintings inside the church are saved.

The fountain called "East" is in the western part of the village. This is an imposing fountain called "Istok", which has a plentiful water flow through 18 dunes. Here a memorial plaque is raised for the fallen fighters from the village in WWII and the Ilinden Uprising. One of the main traditional wedding ceremonies "Bringing water to the bride" is also performed here. Today there is a water supply system built in 1982, while the "East" still has that old tradition of collecting Velmejs people here.

The best periods to visit Velmej is during Easter and during Ilinden (Second of August). Ilinden is the village celebration day and if you find yourself here, you will be welcomed to visit many houses for lunch or dinner, and don't hesitate to do, because the people from here are friends for a lifetime.

Around the village, more than 20 archaeological sites are located. The people from here can tell you hundreds of stories related to different eras of human existence, and all of these stories somehow are proven by the archaeological sites. A magical land that hides tonnes of mysteries!

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