Kratovo - A view from our expert author

Buried within a burnt-out volcanic crater, this small village is punctuated by ancient defensive towers.

Midway between the start of the E871 (Highway 2) at Kumanovo and Kriva Palanka is the turn-off for Kratovo and Probištip, which joins Highway 2 to Highway 27. On this road, deep in the belly of an ancient and burnt-out volcanic crater, is the small village of Kratovo. Nearby are Stone Age observatories at Cocev Kamen and Kokino, cave dwellings at Konjuh, volcanic droplets from the volcano that once was, and the place is littered with Stone Age rock art.

In Roman times this mining town was known as Kratiskara, meaning crater, and variations of its name, Koriton and Koritos in Byzantine times, have centred around this meaning. The crater-like hollow of the village has demanded high-arched bridges to cross the river and ingenious architecture to scale the steep ravine. The difficulty of getting to Kratovo has also left the town relatively free of communist concrete. Six defensive towers hark back to the time of King Karpoš.

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