Dojran is located in the south-east region in Macedonia and includes the two settlements Nov Dojran (New Dojran) and Star Dojran (Old Dojran) and the smallest of the three main natural lakes in the country, Lake, you guessed it, Dojran. Out of the tree, the settlement Star Dojran that lies on the coast of the lake makes the main tourist attraction, has a few hundred full time residents and during the summer period has thousands of visitors.
View of Dojran Lake (photo by: Vesna Markoska)
Dojran was known under three names during history. In ancient times during Alexander the Great and after that the Roman Empire, the first settlement at this location was the city-fortress named Taurian. It is believed that a cholera epidemic during the 9th century AD, forced the whole city to move to the south to form Polin. The city remained as Polin until the Ottomans arrived and changed the name to Dojran. There is a whole legend surrounding the name change into Dojran. The Ottoman general that commanded the troops settled in Dojran set his eyes on a beautiful, Christian, Macedonian girl named Dojrana, but she was in love with a man named Labin. One Sunday at the traditional gathering near the lake, Dojrana was dancing with Labin when suddenly the Ottoman general appeared. Angry at the sight of the two dancing, the general wounded Labin. Dojrana wanting to get him away from the general dragged him to the edge of the lake. Trapped from all sides by the general and his guards and unwilling to surrender, the two swam into the lake never to return. In their honor, the lake and city were named Dojran.
Military Generals enjoying the Lake (photo by: Municipality of Dojran)
In 1914 Dojran was a big city for Macedonia with a population of 30,000. But as World War I came, from 1916-1918 the city was destroyed by bombardment and intensive combat . Dojran was left in ruins, and the small number of citizens that decided to stay re-built their homes in Nov Dojran (New Dojran). Star Dojran was promoted for a tourist destinations during the years of Yugoslavia with many people building vacation homes, and the state building many hotels.
Dojran is known for the lake huts built from straw that are used for fishing with nets. The traditional way is to set up the net as to form in a cage that captures the fish while the fishermen carefully guide the fish towards it. Many times the fishermen have competition from the local bird life, such as garo and cormorant . For that reason the fishermen build a feeding ground for the birds called pelikatnik and leave freshly caught fish to feed the birds.
Dojran lake hut (photo by: Aleksandar Lazovski)
The most important landmark in Dojran is the Church of St. Elijah (Sv. Ilija) which is still in ruins since it was destroyed during the first WW, on its facade you can still see the marks left by bullets. Besides the church there are also the remains of the old clock tower and the amam city baths.
St. Elijah Church in Star Dojran (photo by: Vesna Markoska)
During your stay in Dojran don't forget to try out the country famous Dojran Carp which is traditionally prepared in this region.
Carp prepared in traditional style (photo by: Marjan Lazarevski)