Greece by Land

June 2017


Greece By Land

Greece By Land ~ I joined a small group with OAT in June of 2017 traveling to Northern Greece, Albania, Macedonia and Serbia. Photos left->right: Belgrade church, Byzantine warrior, Thessaloniki White Tower, Albania National History Museum façade, Naïve art, Casting a net, Rousanou Monastery, St. George's Church, Farmer's market.

Land Map

Land Map ~ In June of 2017 I joined a group with OAT to travel to Northern Greece, Albania, Macedonia, and Serbia. The 3 week long trip began in Thessaloniki, Northern Greece. There we spent one day exploring the port city and another traveling to nearby Mount Olympus. We then traveled to Meteora, a village of monasteries perched high atop rock pillars. Then on to the quaint village of Metsovo nestled in the Pindus Mountains, and continued onto the mountain town of Vista perched near the Viko Gorge where we had a walk. Then traveling from Greece to Albania we walked the Butrint ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We explored Berat and then traveled to Tirana. On our 11th day our journey brought us to beautiful Lake Ohrid in Macedonia where we enjoyed a delightful 3 days. Then onto Tetovo, a place of the Matka Canyon where we took a boat ride up the river to view one the regions many natural caves. We then traveled to Skopje where we explored the Ottoman-era Kale Fortress. On the 16th day our group thinned to the fab four for a post-trip Serbia extension, spending 2 days in Niš and 4 days in Belgrade. My favorite time in Serbia was a day we journeyed to Kovačica, a picturesque village that is world-renowned for its Naïve art.

White Tower of Thessaloniki

White Tower of Thessaloniki is a monument on the waterfront of this city in northern Greece. The present tower replaced a 12th century Byzantine fortification that the Ottoman Empire reconstructed to fortify the city's harbor sometime after Sultan Murad II captured Thessaloniki in 1430. The tower became a notorious prison and scene of mass executions during the Ottoman rule. Reference Wikipedia

Byzantine Warrior

Byzantine Warrior ~ Displayed at the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki. Circa 16th century.

Stone Bridge of Meteora

Stone Bridge of Meteora ~ I came across this old stone bridge on a walk down from the Monastery of Varlaam down to the village of Metéora.

Monastery of St. Stephen

Monastery of St. Stephen is located in the village of Metéora whose name literally means "middle of the sky", "suspended in the air" or "in the heavens above." A formation of immense monolithic pillars and hills-like huge rounded boulders dominate the local area. It is also associated with one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second in importance only to Mount Athos. The monasteries are built on natural conglomerate pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. Metéora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

This monastery was shelled by the Nazis during World War II who believed it was harboring insurgents and was then abandoned. In 1961 the monastery was given over to nuns and they reconstructed it into a flourishing nunnery, with 28 nuns in residence as of 2015. Source Wikipedia

Monastery of Rousanou

Monastery of Rousanou (St. Barbara) was founded in the middle of the 16th century, Today, 2015, it is a flourishing nunnery with 13 nuns in residence. Source Wikipedia

Circumspect Lady of Metsovo

Circumspect Lady of Metsovo ~ While exploring this town's tightly packed homes on its mountainside, I observed this elderly lady walking very slowly down the path.

Metsovo is a town in Epirus, in the mountains of Pindus in northern Greece, between Ioannina to the north and Metéora to the south. The largest center of Aromanian life in Greece, Metsovo is a large regional hub for several small villages and settlements in the Pindus region, and it features many shops, schools, offices, services, museums, and galleries. The economy of Metsovo is dominated by agriculture and tourism. Source Wikipedia

Dream Home of Metsovo

Dream Home of Metsovo ~ It's a fixer-upper, could be yours!

Fethiye Mosque at Ioannina

Fethiye Mosque ~ Also known as the "Mosque of the Conquest," it is an Ottoman mosque in Ioannina, Greece. The mosque was built in the city's inner castle immediately after the conquest by the Ottomans in 1430. Originally a wooden structure, it was replaced in 1611 by a stone building, and was extensively remodeled in 1795 by Ali Pasha. Source Wikipedia

Flowers of Ioannina

Flowers of Ioannina ~ This painting was displayed as a window on a home in Ioannina, Greece. How nice!

Orange Juiced!

Orange Juiced! ~ Great old car. I saw this parked along the waterfront of Lake Ioannina, Greece.

Bridge of Noutsou

Bridge of Noutsou (or Kokkori) ~ This footbridge in the foreground crosses the Vikos River in Northern Greece, between the villages of Kipoi and Koukouli. It was originally built in 1750 with a donation made by Noutsos Kontodimos, and then rebuilt in 1910 with a donation from Kokkori, from whom it acquired its two names. The arch has a span of 77 feet and a height of 28 feet. The bridge in the background is the new road bridge.

Butrint National Park

Butrint National Park in southern Albania is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The National Park comprises a diversity of natural and artificial habitats such as freshwater marshes, forests, as well as coastal waters. These habitats shelter a high diversity which makes the Butrint area one of the most important areas for biodiversity in Albania. The park also includes the ancient town of Butrint which today represents a span of over two thousand years from Hellenistic temple buildings of the 4th century BCE to Ottoman defenses created in the 19th century. Reference

Albania's Flock

Albania's Flock ~ While on the road in southern Albania we paused to let this flock of sheep and goats cross the road. ... The answer is to get to the other side.


Contemplation ~ Playing the tourist is hard work!

National History Museum Mural

National History Museum Mural ~ This marquee is proudly displayed high on the front of this museum in Tirana, Albania.

Warrior & Woman

Warrior & Woman ~ A bronze statue in Tirana, Albania.

Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market ~ Great fresh fruit and vegetables at a farmer's market in Tirana, Albania.

Village of Ohrid

Village of Ohrid ~ Ohrid is a city in the Republic of Macedonia, is the eighth largest city in the country with over 42,000 inhabitants as of 2002, and is the largest city on Lake Ohrid. Ohrid is notable for once having had 365 churches, one for each day of the year, and has been referred to as a "Jerusalem (of the Balkans)." The city is rich in picturesque houses and monuments, and tourism is predominant. In 1979 and in 1980 respectively, Ohrid and Lake Ohrid were accepted as Cultural and Natural World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Ohrid is one of only 28 sites that are part of UNESCO's World Heritage that are Cultural as well as Natural sites. Reference Wikipedia

In the high background of this picture is Samuil's Fortress, a fortification that dates to the 4th century BCE.

Church St. Virgin Pandonos

Church St. Virgin Pandonos, also know as Church of the Holy Mother of God, is a Macedonian Orthodox Christian church located in the old part of the city of Ohrid. It is built on the foundations of an old medieval church.

Casting a Net

Casting a Net on Lake Ohrid, Macedonia.

Rainbow Over Lake Ohrid

Rainbow Over Lake Ohrid ~ While dining on fresh Lake Ohrid trout at an outdoor lakeside cafe, a storm caused turmoil on the lake. Dark clouds, lots of wind, big waves breaking all around us, but thankfully rain only in the distance. As the storm abated this rainbow appeared.

Ohrid Flowers

Ohrid Flowers ~ Every once in a while you come along a home with a beautiful display of potted flowers. These were from a home on a hill of Lake Ohrid, Macedonia.


Domesticity ~ Colorful, but not as quaint as potted flowers. This domestic life is from a home on Lake Ohrid, Macedonia.

Group Photo

Group Photo trip with OAT to Northern Greece, Albania, and Macedonia in June of 2017: Jim (far left), Jan, John (front), Herb (back), Atlee, Frances, Carole (sitting), Nancy, Masood, Ronald, Ed (back), Sondra (front), Karen (front), Bob (back), Richard (far right).

Bali-Bey Mosque

Bali-Bey Mosque - The Bali-Bey Mosque, circa 1521, is located in the central part of the Niŝ Fortress in Niŝ, Serbia. The mosque was the endowment of Bali-Bey from Edirne, a high ranking Turkish civil servant.

The Niŝ Fortress is located in the city Niŝ, Serbia, on the bank of the Niŝava River. It is a medieval fortress in the central Balkans. It was destroyed and restored a number of times by the Romans, Byzantines, Slavs, Bulgarians, and Serbs. It assumed its final form in 1723, when the Turks built it, facing the end of their reign in this area.

Čigar Monument

Čigar Monument ~ Čegar is a location in Serbia where the Battle of Čegar Hill took place. The monument is in the shape of a tower and is a symbol of the soldiers' fortification. It was erected for the 15th anniversary of the liberation of Niš from the Turks, on June 1, 1927. Reference Wikipedia

Skull Tower Memorial

Skull Tower Memorial is a structure embedded with human skulls located in Niš, Serbia. It was constructed following the Battle of Čegar of May 1809, during the First Serbian Uprising. The memorial originally contained 952 skulls embedded on 4 sides in 14 rows, but now has fewer because, as lore provides, loved ones wanted their soldiers properly buried. Reference Wikipedia

Constantine the Great

Constantine the Great ~ Flavius Valerius Constantinus, as he was originally named, was born in the city of Naissus, (today Niš, Serbia) part of the Dardania province of Moesia on 27 February, probably in the year 272. This bust is displayed at the National Museum of Serbia in Niš. Reference Wikipedia

The Fab Four

The Fab Four ~ Hear no evil, Speak no evil, More speak no evil, and See no evil. We were the smart ones who ventured to explore Serbia on our OAT trip extension.

Tea House

Tea House ~ It turned out to be a perfectly charming afternoon at this tea house. Not advertised, so only locals visit this charming Niš establishment. Everything we tried was delightfully wholesome with homespun service by its owner.


Football ~ Statue in Niš, Serbia.

St. George's Church

St. George's Church is an Orthodox Church located in Belgrade, Serbia. It was built between 1928 and 1932, and was designed by the Russian architect Androsov. The church is situated on a hill overlooking the Sava River. Source Wikipedia

Ružica Church

Ružica Church is located in the Belgrade Fortress, Serbia, in a building which in the 18th century served as a gunpowder store. When the fortress passed into Serbian hands in 1867-69, it was converted into an army church called the Ružica (Rose Church). An older church of the same name stood here during the time of Despot Stefan Lazarević, but was demolished by the Turks in 1521.

Ružica Church

Ružica Church (Rose Church) is built of stone and, together with its steeple, is pressed up against the Belgrade Fortress. In 1925, after major damage sustained during the First World War, the church was rebuilt from donations by women of Belgrade whose family members had taken part in the liberation struggle.

Temple of Saint Sava Reflection

Temple of Saint Sava [reflection from nearby building] is a Serbian Orthodox church located on the Vračar plateau in Belgrade, Serbia. It is one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world and ranks among the largest church buildings in the world. The church is dedicated to Saint Sava, the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and an important figure in medieval Serbia. It is built on the Vračar plateau, on the location where his remains were burned in 1595 by Ottoman Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha. From its location, it dominates Belgrade's cityscape, and is perhaps the most monumental building in the city. Reference Wikipedia

Temple of Saint Sava Mural

Temple of Saint Sava, Belgrade, Serbia ~ Construction of the church began in 1935, 340 years after the burning of Saint Sava's remains. The work lasted until the 1941 WWII Axis invasion of Yugoslavia. In 1958, Patriarch German II renewed the idea of building the church, and it restarted in 1985. As of 2009, the church is mostly complete. This photo is a snippet of the church's murals. Reference Wikipedia

Nikoli Tesla

Nikoli Tesla was born an ethnic Serb in the village Smiljan, Lika county in 1856. He was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist who is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity. In 1891, aged 35, Tesla became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Reference Wikipedia

Street Art

Street Art of Belgrade, Serbia. A possible title: The wise and the wise-ass!

Naïve Art by Zuzana Chalupová

Naïve Art by Zuzana Chalupová ~ Displayed at the Naïve Art Gallery in the village of Kovačica, Serbia, are numerous paintings from local naïve artists.

Naïve Art by Jan Knjazovic

Naïve Art by Jan Knjazovic ~ Displayed at the Naïve Art Gallery in the village of Kovačica, Serbia, are numerous paintings from local naïve artists.

Naïve Art by Pavel Povolni-Juhas

Naïve Art by Pavel Povolni-Juhas ~ Displayed at the Naïve Art Gallery in the village of Kovačica, Serbia, are numerous paintings from local naïve artists.

Bishop's Palace

Bishop's Palace ~ The city of Novi Sad, near Belgrade, is the second largest city of Serbia. Novi Sad is located in the southern part of the Pannonian Plain, on the banks of the Danube river. The town was founded in 1694 when Serb merchants formed a colony across the Danube from the Petrovaradin fortress. During the 1848-1849 Revolution, the city was heavily devastated, but was subsequently restored. Bishop's Palace was demolished in the bombing of Novi Sad during the revolution. By 1900, Bishop's Palace was reconstructed to its current style. Today, along with the capital city of Belgrade, Novi Sad is the industrial and financial center of the Serbian economy. Source Wikipedia

Ballet Dancer

Ballet Dancer ~ Statue in the city of Nova Sad, Serbia.