Calendar of Macedonian Cultural Events

Macedonia has a whole range of diverse events spread out throughout the year and they make visiting Macedonia even more special than it alreay is. We will explain you about the best events so you can time your arrival here perfectly.

Calendar of events in Macedonia 
  1. Small Bitola Monmartre / Balkan Folklore Festival
  2. Galichnik Wedding / Ohrid Summer Festival / Festival of Аntique Тheatre
  3. Balkan Music Square / Grape collecting in Tikvesh / Strumica Carnival 
  4. Pastrmajlijada Festival / MOT / Manaki Film Festival 
  5. Interfest / Vinoskop / Skopje Jazz Festival
  6. Autumnal Musical Festivities / Krushevo etno city festival
  7. Ilinden – Saint Ilija’s Day
  8. Skopje Summer Festival
  9. Ohrid Summer Festival
  10. Movie festivals 


Location: Bitola
Takes place in: May

This popular event was held from May 23 – 30, on Sirok Sokak in Bitola. More than 150 pupils and 50 of their pedagogues and associates participated in the event. Over 40 countries and 1000 schools participated with 20000 works of art.


Place: Ohrid
Takes place in: July

Member of the UNESCO Association of The International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folklore Art, and The International Organization for Folklore Art. This festival has so far presented numerous original songs and dances from folk culture for more than 30 years. About 1,200 ensembles with 42,000 members have taken part in the festival.

“The Balkan Festival of folk songs and dances” is an international folklore event established in 1962. Its original title was “The Ohrid Festival of Amateur Folk Songs and Folk Bands”. The ceremonial opening took place 20th July 1962 in the town’s square. In 1967 the Festival was restructured and ever since it has been hosting vocal and instrumental bands and solo singers presenting their authentic folk creations and traditional culture through horas, songs, rites, traditional clothes, local costumes, traditional musical instruments, and handicrafts. For more than twenty years “The Balkan Festival of Folk Songs and Dances” has been a member of the UNESCO Associations of CIOFF (The International Council of the Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folklore Art), and IOFA (The International Organization for Folklore Art. Traditionally, the Festival takes place in the beginning of July.

Countries from the Balkans and neighbouring countries take part in the Festival. In the 36 years of its existence, it has hosted about 40,000 folk singers, dancers and instrumentalists from Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, FR Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, as well as from France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Moldavia, Poland, Bohemia, Slovakia, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Australia, USA, Canada, Malesia, and others. Part of the Festival focuses on displaying exhibitions. In recent years the Folklore Institute “Marko Cepenkov” from Skopje organizes seminars on Balkan folklore.


Location: Galicnik
Takes place in: July

On one day every July, St. Peter’s Day, locals and tourists alike are invited to attend the traditional Macedonian wedding celebrations at Galicnik, a legendary old village in the western mountains near Mavrovo.

The three-day feast, which includes much song, dance, eating and drinking, uses traditional customs, costumes, and rituals and dances that have been passed down over the centuries.

The Galicnik Wedding is an incomparable event that every visitor to Macedonia must experience at least once.

Derrick May- and the Mkd filharmonija in Ohrid, via


Place: Ohrid
Takes place in: July

The Ohrid Summer Festival is one of the largest and most important music and drama festivals in Macedonia. The first concert took place in 1961 in the church of St. Sophia, with its exceptional acoustics.

The festival in Ohrid has a particular international flavour because of the participation of a large number of leading musicians and ensembles from the best known European and world music centers. There have been participants from 44 countries.

This Festival has a solid reputation as it has gradually become part of the large family of the most famous European music festival. The Ohrid Summer Festival has its own sound conceptions, and it is able to draw up a musical program that includes artists of world renown. The Ohrid Summer Festival is held each year from July 12 to August 20. The number of performances is about 40 musical events and 12 plays. In the last 45 years there have been more than 1,150 performances in which 30,000 local and foreign artists and performers have taken part. The average annual number of visitors is about 20,000. The performances usually take place in historic buildings or monuments.

The Festival program had been accompanied by several other activities. One of them is the International Master’s School for talented young violinists, cellists, pianists and singers. So far 35 such schools, or seminars, have been held. This is certainly an imposing success for its 45 years, but such a success also imposes an obligation of still greater and more impressive undertakings.


Location: Ancient theater in Stobi, Veles
Takes place in: July

With aim to preserve the tradition of the antique theatre, from 1992, to the initiative of the actors of the theatre of Veles, on the scene of the ancient amphitheatre were presented the performances of the antique theatrical texts.  From 2004, this tradition is transformed in international Festival of antique drama that each year attracts an increase number of theatrical artists worldwide.

The festival is a true attraction not only for the citizens of Veles, but also for the admirers of theatre from all the regions of the state that is confirmed by the big number of visitors, 2000 to 3000 by the piece.

In the framework of the festival, traditionally are allocated the prices for the best presentations, directors and actors. The ancient scene of Stobi is particularly impressive because of the possibility of creation the true spectacles in the authentic ambient of the antique theatre thru the resurrection of the texts of Sophocles, Aristophanes, Euripides and others antique authors.


Location: Ohrid
Takes place in: August

Famous ethno music names from the Balkans will perform within the festival,  The 7th edition of festival Balkan Music Square, will be held in Ohrid’s Antique Theatre on August 10-11. The two-day festival program includes four music structures that focus on the ethno-sound, which is part of the festival’s concept. Group Mystique Voices from Bulgaria will open the festival on August 10, followed by the performance of special guests from Brazil Cacau Brazil. August 11 program includes Serbian structure Arhai, while Macedonian group Baklava will close the manifestation. Free entrance.


Location: Kavadarci
Takes place in: September

The largest manifestation, which makes Kavadarci a special place is the Tikvesh grape collecting. The event overlaps with the celebration of the Liberation Day in Kavadarci on the 7 September and is held every year at the beginning of the second week of September.



Location: Strumica
Takes place in: Changes every year

The Strumica Carnival is a centuries-old tradition of the town under the Tsar’s Towers and is directly connected to the religious festival Trimeri. The only manifestation of such kind in Republic of Macedonia, dedicated to the engaged girls. The date changes depending on date of Easter and it is always on Tuesday after Ash Monday. During the festivity after the carnival procession, the masked groups visit the homes of the engaged girls where among the masked, the girls should recognize their fiance. The first written account of the carnival originates from the Turkish travel writer Evlija Celebija.



Location: Stip
Takes place in: September

This is festival dedicated to the very famous meat pie from the Stip region called “Pastrmajlija”. Last year, at the manifestation have participated over 40 subjects of which 35 were caterers and 6-7 wineries. Every night there was a rich artistic and cultural entertainment program that includes presentation of pop and folk-ethno compositions. This was the second time for the “Stipska pastrmajlija 2011” to be organized on the street “Vancho Prke” which is artistically known as “Street of pastrmajlii”. In the past three days, the caterers from Stip sold pastramalii to a lot of interested citizens from Stip but also to a lot of visitors from other cities and countries. Among all the guests have dominated visitors from Skopje, Veles, Probishtip, Radovish, Kumanovo, Bitola, Prilep and other cities. The novelty was that this year “Stipska pastramalija” is a branded product, which understands protected quality, recipe and name. At the same time on the town square for the past three days was held the “Festival of the honey” and “Days of craftsmanship”, where the honey producers and the craftsmen presented their products. In this way, the manifestation was enriched by two events.


Location: Skopje
Takes place in: September

MOT is a subscribing member of the Informal European Theatre Meeting – IETM (Brussels, Belgium). MOT is also a member of Mediterranean International Theatre Institute-IITM (Madrid, Spain) and founder of the Macedonian Centre of the International Theatre Institute – UNESCO. At the beginning of the New Millennium, – as a support of the United Nations and UNESCO’s International Year for the Culture of Peace (and no-Violence) 2000 – International Theatre Festival MOT celebrates its 25th jubilee. Therefore, our experience with the subject “The Theatre of Power” was a provocation to promote this year the subject THE THEATRE OF POWER.


Location: Bitola
Takes place in: October

The International Cinematographers Film Festival “Manaki Brothers” in Bitola is organized by the Macedonian Film Professionals Association (MFPA).

Founded 21 May 1950, MFPA represents the interests of film professionals and film authors in our country. Besides looking after its members’ rights and interests, MFPA fosters the professional development and growth of film creativity in the Republic of Macedonia. The Association aims to strengthen Macedonian cinematography and to ensure its continuity amid different activities. From year to year, MFPA offers significant contribution to Macedonian cinema and affirms world film art here in our country. One of the main activities of MFPA is the International Cinematographers Film Festival “Manaki Brothers”.



Location: Bitola
Takes place in: October

Interfest is an international festival of classical music, held 2-12 October every year. In 2002, the festival celebrated its 10th anniversary. The 10-day festival gathers prominent musicians and renowned soloists from all European cultural centres.



Location: Skopje
Takes place in: October

The concept of this event is to present the long-time wine production, our cultural inheritance and tradition through wine tasting and sale of quality wine, refreshments, lots of entertainment and enjoyment. This happening is of international character, it is opened for all countries that would like to present their cultures through music, typical cuisine, and of course, good wine. To our great delight we would like to invite you to find your place at this event. The Festival shall last 4(four) days, starting with Gala Opening on October 15th at 19:00, and will be spectacularly closed on October 18th after 24:00 h.



Location: Skopje
Takes place in: October

The Skopje Jazz Festival is a jazz festival held in Skopje since 1982.
It is an institution which had consistent growth in the 1980s, 1990s and continues to grow every year. Even though it promoted a genre which at first glance looks distant from the local culture and tradition, it managed to attract a very large audience and to build a reputation as a prestigious festival not only in the Republic of Macedonia, but in a wider sense in the Balkans and in Europe.
Throughout its history the festival has hosted prominent names from the jazz world such as: Antony Braxton, Ray Charles, Cubanismo, D.D.Jackson, Sierra Maestra, Marshal Allen, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Gotan Project, Maria Joao, Toni Kitanovski, Al di Meola, Youssou N’Dour, Brazilian Girls, and many more.
The festival is part of the European jazz network and the European forum of World music festivals.
Held traditionally at the end of October, the jazz festival has over the years become a distinguishing landmark of Skopje. Some of the greatest jazz musicians of our time have played at the event.
The Skopje Jazz Festival is likely the most recognizable music event taking place in Skopje. This year it was selected as one of the country’s super-brands by an international branding group.
Late October is a good time to be in Skopje.  As leaves fall from tree branches before the breeze of autumn, and wait to be picked up by communal workers, they sometimes dance on pavements to the pulse of jazz in the air.



Location: Skopje
Takes place in: November 1-21

Music, as a universal language with limitless possibilities of expression of the knowledge and the creativity of the authors and performers, knows no borders, time and space when it comes to rendering lofty aims and establishing contacts between people. The Directorate of Culture and Arts in the year 2000 initiated new music manifestation known as the Autumnal Musical Festivities, besides the already existing traditional activities and manifestations, putting itself in a position of an explorer of new and fresh ideas and all with the aim of contributing to the inducement, advancement and development of the culture through the various forms of expression.



Location: Krushevo
Takes place in: July-August

A lot of customs are still preserved and practiced by the citizens of Krushevo. Every year in the middle of the summer (15.07-15.08), the “Krushevo etno city” festival includes about 800 participants, dressed in traditional costumes as insurgents and Ottomans. The participants parade across the town in commemoration of the anniversary of the Ilinden uprising which took place in the city of Krushevo in August of 1903. Lot of accompanying events take place during the festival, such as hand-craft workshops, art exhibitions, concerts (both modern and traditional music). This is a must-see event if you visit Macedonia during July or August.

Ilinden – Saint Ilija’s Day

This national holiday is a dual celebration on August 2, commemorating two major events during Macedonia’s struggle for independence. The Ilinden uprising against the Ottoman rulers in 1903 and the first meeting of the fledgling Assembly in 1944 which laid down the basics of the modern republic are remembered with street parties, parades of horsemen, visits to holy monasteries, family festivities, and a great deal of eating and drinking. The religious significance of the day goes back to the end of the pagan era when the god Perun was replaced by the Christian Prophet Elijah.

Skopje Summer Festival

Skopje’s annual cornucopia of concerts, folk music, traditional events, and museum openings run from June 21 for four or five weeks in venues across the city, which is a feast of indoor and outdoor theatre and musical delights. The entertainment is mostly free and attracts artists and performers from around the world.

Ohrid Summer Festival

From mid-July to late August, the historic city of Ohrid celebrates its Summer Festival with theater, concerts and outdoor street performances. Many of the events are held in the city’s ancient buildings or around historic monuments. The festival is run by Macedonia’s President.

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Iva Sliva ﺕ - Skopje

When i grow up, I wanna be happy! A spiritualist, an optimist, a nature addict and maybe a bit impulsive :) Heavenly moments: snowboarding, surfing, kitting, biking, time spent with my dogs, travelling and ice-cream :j

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Continent: Europe
Capital: Skopje
Population: 2,061,000
Area: 25,333 km2
Currency: Denar
Languages: Macedonian

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