Polog is a region in the North-East of the Republic of Macedonia, bordering on Kosovo and Albania. This so-called "Statistical Region" (meaning that it is NOT an administrative unit) has a population of about 300 thousand - but its size, just to give you an idea of it, is similar to that of Greater London - only slightly bigger. The majority of the people is ethnically Albanian, and besides ethnic Macedonians, there also is a Turk minority. In other words: This place is truly multi-cultural - like so many regions in the Balkans.
Polog has lately been undergoing some encouraging developments. Like all of Macedonia, its economy is growing rapidly - mostly thanks to the recent free-market reforms of that nation.
The fact that Polog borders on two other countries has been quite helpful in fostering international trade. When the region was part of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, tourism wasn't a major factor in Polog - but now foreign visitors are becoming more and more important for its economy. However, this trend has just begun, and truly there is still magnificent room for further development. There is a lot tourists can do in this mountainous region, whose history is long and impressive. With a mild continental climate, tourists can enjoy long summers and beautiful, colourful autumns - and in the winter, there are numerous skiing possibilities, like in the ski resort of Zare Lazarevski, which is one of the best ones in the nation of Macedonia.
Zare Lazarevski is just 26 kilometers away from Gostivar, which is one of the two major towns in the region. Gostivar is a historic city with currently a population of about 80 thousand. Not far from Gostivar, there is Šar Mountain - which looks spectacular, being a "sea of grass": In fact, Šar Mountain is the largest area covered with pastures in the whole of Europe!
The other major city in Polog is Tetovo, which is 26 kilometers away from Gostivar. Since 1995, a modern motorway has been connecting the tow towns. Tetovo has a population of 76 thousand, and it is the region's intellectual and cultural capital.
The State University of Tetovo and the South East European University are both located in Tetovo. This city pleases its visitors with a lot of amazing monuments, like the Monastery of Lešok, which includes the Church of the Holy Virgin, built in 1326, which is a famous and beautiful example of Byzantine style. The Sarena Dzamija mosque from 1495 reflects the fact that Islam also plays a big role in Polog.