The sleepy mountain town of Vevčani may be home to only some 2,400 inhabitants, but it's one of the more interesting and peculiar destinations anywhere in the country. Nestled amongst the mountains at over 1,000m above sea level and only 14km northwest of Struga and Lake Ohrid, the town and its people have always been a bit different. They still speak their own Vevčani-Radožda dialect, and have twice become an independent republic (of sorts) within the past three decades. The first time was after the breakup of Yugoslavia, with the proclamation of the Independent Republic of Vevčani, including the advent of their own flag and coat of arms, before shortly thereafter being absorbed into the Struga municipality. The second attempt at statehood saw the quasi micronation of Vevčani reborn in an attempt to further develop the tourism sector in 2000, which was apparently successful, since we're writing this story on the terrace of a lovely restaurant in the centre of Vevčani and you're reading it with presumably at least some interest in one day visiting.
Political novelty aside, Vevčani is best known for its natural springs, found just to the west of town, as well as its annual Carnival of Vevčani, which takes place from 12-14 January and has existed for more than 1400 years, making it one of the oldest and largest events of its kind in the region or anywhere in Europe as far as we know. The town itself is on an expectedly modest scale, with centuries-old brick houses set along narrow, winding lanes, and there are quite a few excellent traditional Macedonian restaurants, which are popular with the city folk from the lakeside below.