Golem Grad (Голем Град, Big City) the only island in Macedonia


The only island in the Republic of Macedonia – Golem Grad (Голем Град, Big City) is located in the southwestern part of the lake Prespa,

at distance of 2 km from the coast. The village is Konjsko (Коњско) is the nearest settlement at a distance of 5 km northwest of the island.

Golem Grad is unusual site, away from old and modern communications, which shows a long chronology of residence or stay of people in this region, starting from the beginning of the first millennium BC until the Middle Ages.
The island size is 20 acres, a vast rock which rises to 30 m from the surface, located on the state border point between Macedonia, Albania and Greece.
The oldest artifacts of pottery and stone weapons indicate the presence of Neolithic man. In the later late-bronze and late-iron time, the presence on the island is more intense, probably because of fishing. But in early antique epoch, ranging from IV century BC, apparently life existed here continuously.
The small rural village, which belonged to the Macedonian tribe Orestes (Орести), especially was revived in the period of IV to I century BC.
Golem Grad (Голем Град, Big City) was appealing to the Roman era and later in the Middle Ages, as is confirmed by two layers of graves discovered as existing church St. Peter (14th century) and the foundations of the church St. Demetrius.
In 1967 was conducted archaeological research on the island, where there were found the remains of two early Christian churches (4-5 century) and according to the legend, the island had seven churches (St. Peter and Paul, St. Mary, St. Atanas, St. Demetrius, St. George, St. Elijah) which indicate that the island was densely populated. 

In the church St. Peter (14th century) a mural facade on the south side, represents the siege of Constantinople and the flight from Egypt, which is extremely rare in the Balkan Peninsula.
The island is protected by law and falls within the National Park “Galichica” (Национален Парк Галичица).
The island is known as a favorite picnic spot for visitors of  Prespa and archaeological site with remains of houses, churches and necropolises.
Compared to the coastal parts of the lake, in “Golem Grad” rules milder climate for which there the snow is rarely seen. The residents of village Konjsko used it for several months to kept sheep and cattle because it is safe from the destructive animals. But due to the long isolation, cattle often went mad, so the owners had a lot of difficulties.
This environment attracts many birds. Most common are Kormorans (Корморани) which feed on fish.




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