Pelagonia is an ancient Greek region, whose territory now belongs to the countries of Greece and Macedonia. The part on the Macedonian side forms the Pelagonia statistical region, which also shares a border with Albania in the West. The region is somehow multi-cultural, with only 88% of the 220 thousand inhabitants being ethnic Macedonians, the others belong to various ethnic groups; they are mostly Albanians and Turks. The people from the different nationalities get along surprisingly well with each other. Historically, Pelagonia has been mostly peaceful - which makes it quite special by South-Eastern European standards!

Bitola is the biggest city and the economic and cultural capital of the region. Prilep, which has about 66 thousand inhabitants, is the second-biggest town, a place with a long and rich history - and with many fascinating monuments still there today, including St. Nicola’s Church, which was built in the twelfth century. Further, there are some Roman archaeological sites. Today, Prilep is famous for its fine tobaccos. Due to its very special climate, it produces some of the best European tobacco breeds. Recently, the State Tobacco Institute was founded in Prilep, which operates on a very high technological level, developing genetic modifications for tobacco.

Culture-wise, there is the Center of Contemporary Visual Arts, an art colony, which attracts painters and other artists from all over the country. In fact, Prilep has always been Macedonia's cultural center - even more so than Skopje, the capital. The Macedonian language of today is based on the Prilep city dialect.

The region is mostly mountainous. As for tourism, it clearly has not taken advantage of its full potential. In communist times, the Yugoslav government would send all the foreign visitors to the Croatian coast - and pretty much only there. But Pelagonia, this beautiful spot on the Greek-Macedonian border, has a great future to undergo. In fact, luckily for the region, this process has already begun. This trend is sure to continue.

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Pelagonia, Macedonia

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