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© Esenko Workshops 2018

ESSENTIAL BALKANS:

SERBIA AND MACEDONIA

August 18th - September 2nd 2020 - 3 spots available

Serbia

Serbia became a stand-alone sovereign republic in the summer of 2006 after Montenegro voted in a referendum for independence from the Union of Serbia and Montenegro.
The end of the Union of Serbia and Montenegro marked the closing chapter in the history of the separation of the six republics of the old Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia which was proclaimed in 1945 and comprised Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia.
Under Yugoslavia's authoritarian communist leader, Josip Broz Tito, the lid was kept on ethnic tensions. The federation lasted for over 10 years after his death in 1980, but under Serbian nationalist leader Slobodan Milosevic it fell apart through the 1990s.
The secession of Slovenia and Macedonia came relatively peacefully, but there were devastating wars in Croatia and Bosnia. Serbia and Montenegro together formed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia between 1992 and 2003.

 

Macedonia

Macedonia was spared the inter-ethnic violence that raged elsewhere in the Balkans following the break-up of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s but it came close to civil war a decade after independence.
Rebels staged an uprising in early 2001, demanding greater rights for the ethnic Albanian minority. The conflict created a wave of refugees and the rebels made territorial gains.
After months of skirmishes, EU and Nato support enabled the president, Boris Trajkovski, to strike a peace deal. Under the Ohrid agreement, Albanian fighters laid down their arms in return for greater ethnic-Albanian recognition within a unitary state.
The country's name remains a contentious issue. It is still referred to as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) at the United Nations.
​International recognition of the country's split from Yugoslavia in 1991 was held up over Greek fears that its name implied territorial ambitions toward the northern Greek region of Macedonia.

TOUR INFO

Dates
Duration

 

Group size


Price
Single room

Trip leaders

Arrival
Departure

AUG 18 - SEP 2, 2020
16 days / 15 nights

max. 8 guests

5.990€
450€

Jeremy Woodhouse 

Luka Esenko

Belgrade Airport (Serbia)
Skopje Airport (Macedonia)

Difficulty level

This workshop involves moderate walking on hiking trails. There may be a limited amount of uphill walking. Sturdy hiking boots are advised.

ITINERARY

Arrival to Belgrade in late morning, check in at our centrally located hotel. We start with an afternoon walk through central Belgrade, pass Belgrade’s central square, the pedestrian zone, the Orthodox Cathedral Church to the fortress above the confluence of River Sava into the Danube. We continue through the quiet neighbourhood of Dorcol to the touristy Skadarlija, where we will have our dinner.

Day 1

Belgrade

Day 2 

Belgrade

First thing in the morning we will go to visit Kalenic Farmers Market where locals go shopping. Next door is the monumental Church of St Sava, one of the three biggest Orthodox Christian churches in the world. After that we will drive to Zemun, nowadays a quarter of Belgrade, once a small town on its own with many picturesque nooks and a grand vista across the Danube. 

Day 3

Belgrade – Fruška Gora – Novi Sad

We drive northwards, passing the endless fields covered in wheat, corn and sunflowers to reach Mt Fruska Gora with its monasteries and forests. At its foot is the small baroque town of Sremski Karlovci. A short drive away is Petrovaradin Fortress, overseeing the Danube and the city of Novi Sad on the other side of it. After our lunch, we continue with a walk-through Novi Sad’s beautiful city centre. We will spend the night in Novi Sad.

Day 4

Vojvodina

We have full day to explore the northern province of Vojvodina. This is an agricultural part of Serbia where cultures have mixed through centuries. We will explore rural areas, small villages and historical towns with Central European architecture. This is also great opportunity to try some of local cuisine, which is different from Central and South Serbia.

Day 5

Novi Sad – Valjevo – Zlatibor 

Sunrise shoot in Novi Sad after which we head southwards. We will stop in the town of Valjevo and visit its old high street. Afternoon arrival to our hotel at Zlatibor plateau. After check in we explore the golden expanses of the highland and capture the sunset before returning to hotel for dinner.

Day 6

Zlatibor – Sirogojno – Sjenica 

Morning photography around Zlatibor where we have a chance to photograph local life, shepherds, small villages and scenic landscapes. After breakfast we drive south to Sjenica. On the way we will stop at ethno village Sirogojno where time seems to have stopped long ago. Overnight at Sjenica.

Day 7

Uvac – Pešter

We start our day with a short hike to the canyon of Uvac, a river that negotiates its way between the mountains in a spectacular zigzag manner that we will observe from high above. Afterwards we will drive to Pešter highlands where Muslims and Christians live side keeping many old traditions alive. In the evening we will return to our hotel at Sjenica.

Day 8

Sjenica - Novi Pazar - Niš

In the morning we drive to Novi Pazar and by the ancient, 9th c church of St Peter. From there we drive across the Kopaonik massif to reach southeast Serbia and its capital – the city of Niš. Evening shoot in central Niš, including its Ottoman fortress.

Day 9

Niš – Donja Lokošnica

In the morning we will drive to Donja Lokošnica village where most of the local farmers produce chili peppers, most of which they dry in late summer sun creating wonderful carpets of red. We can photograph red pepper harvesting on the fields around the village. We have a lunch at a local farmer’s house and a chance to experience village life. In the evening we return to Niš, where we stop at Bubanj socialist monument before we head for dinner.

Day 10

Niš – Stobi (Macedonia) – Popova Kula

Free time in the morning to explore Niš town. After breakfast we leave Serbia bihnd and drive to Macedonia. Our first stop is at Stobi, ancient Macedonian city which is now an archaeological site. In the afternoon we arrive at Popova Kula winery which is our base for two nights. Sunset among vineyards and dinner with wine tasting.  

Day 11

East Macedonia

We have a full day to explore eastern part of Macedonia known for its agricultural riches. We can meet farmers working on the fields, harvesting red peppers, tobacco, watermelons or grapes. Lake Dojran has kept its fishing villages tradition where one can still see the old ways of fishing. Return to Popov Kula winery for dinner and another round of Macedonia’s finest wines. ​

Day 12

Popova Kula - Podmochani – Kuratica – Ohrid

After breakfast we drive west. Our first stop is Podmochani village, known for its ethnographic museum. On our way to Lake Ohrid we stop at Kuratica village where locals will prepare traditional style lunch. We can try making bread ourselves. Or take a donkey ride to the viewpoint above the village. In the afternoon we go on to Ohrid, where we stay for the next two nights. Sunset shoot from a viewpoint above Lake Ohrid.

Day 13

Ohrid – St.Naum – Ohrid

In the morning we walk through the streets of Ohrid to reach the highest point – Samuil’s Fortress, which offers wonderful views on the town and the lake. We will visit the cathedral Church of St. Sofia, the Ancient theatre, and from the medieval church St. John the Evangelist, we get back in the centre by small boats. In the afternoon we drive to St. Naum monastery and the lake springs. In the monastery from 9th Century, we can see the tomb of St. Naum – student of Cyril and Methodius. According to the legends, we can still listen to his heartbeat. Today we have a chance to sail with small boats through the springs of the lake. Back to Ohrid and free time. In the evening dinner in local restaurant, including Macedonian folklore dancing group.

Day 14

Ohrid – Jovan Bigorski – Tetovo – Skopje

After morning shoot and breakfast, we drive to the Orthodox monastery of Jovan Bigorski. Next stop is Tetovo to visit the famous painted mosque. Tetovo is the centre of the Albanian minority and very different than other Macedonian towns. Late afternoon arrival to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia. Evening shoot in the old town of Skopje, followed by a dinner.

Day 15

Skopje

We will start panoramic and walking city tour which includes Kale – Skopje fortress, Old Turkish Bazaar, Museum of Macedonian struggle, the Archaeological museum of Macedonia, the Stonebridge, Monument and fountain of Alexander the Great, house of Mother Teresa. After that we will drive in the Ethno village (10 km) to lunch  on own and also you will have chance to take a photos of 16 different architecture type of Macedonian houses. Free time before the farewell dinner in a national restaurant. Overnight in Skopje.

Day 16

Skopje

Breakfast at hotel. Check out from hotel. Transfer to the Skopje airport to catch your flight home.

Tour Fee Includes

  • Ground Transportation  with 2 professional photographers and local guides for 16 days

  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners

  • Tour accommodation, as listed

  • Transfers from Belgrade Airport to the hotel (if you are arriving early, you will need to make your own way to the Hotel Moskva.

  • Transfer from Skopje to the Airport at the end of the tour

Tour Fee Does not Include

  • Arrival/departure flights

  • ​Travel insurance

  • Alcohol

  • Pre- and post-tour accommodation

JOIN OUR 16-DAY JOURNEY

PHOTOGRAPHING ESSENTIALS OF BALKAN