The Millennium Cross in Skopje is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the city. Standing tall at 66 meters, the cross is located on top of Vodno Mountain and offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding area.
In this guide, we will cover everything a tourist might want to know, see, and do when visiting the Millennium Cross, as well as share some of my pictures from my visit up Vodno and to the Millennium Cross to see what you can look forward to.
Let’s start with…
A Brief Introduction to the Millennium Cross
The Millennium Cross in Skopje was built to celebrate 2,000 years of Christianity in the region. It was completed in December of 2008 and stands 66 meters tall on top of Vodno Mountain, making it the second tallest cross in the world and the tallest in all of Europe.
The idea for the cross was first proposed by the late President Boris Trajkovski, who wanted to build a large cross on the mountain to symbolize the country’s Christian heritage and the resilience of its people.
The project was controversial at the time, as some saw it as a political move by the president and questioned the cost and feasibility of building such a large structure on the mountain.
Despite the controversy, the construction of the cross began in 2002 and was completed in 2008. The cross is made of steel and concrete and is illuminated at night, making it a popular attraction for tourists visiting the city.
Today, the Millennium Cross is a symbol of the city and a reminder of the region’s long history of Christianity. It is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike and offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere on top of Vodno Mountain.
How to Reach the Millennium Cross
The Millennium Cross is located on top of Vodno Mountain, which can be reached by taking a cable car.
The ride to the top of the mountain takes about 20 minutes on a low-traffic day and offers beautiful views of the city below.
Alternatively, visitors can access the mountain by car or by taking a local bus. There is a road that leads to the top of the mountain, and parking is available near the cross.
The bus route to the mountain is frequent and easy to navigate and is a good option for those who prefer not to drive.
Exploring the Grounds of the Millennium Cross
Once at the top of Vodno Mountain, visitors can explore the grounds of the Millennium Cross and take in the beautiful views from the observation deck at the base of the cross.
The cross itself is illuminated at night, making it a stunning sight to behold. It is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike and offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere.
In addition to the cross, there are also restaurants and souvenir shops on the mountain (although the souvenir shops may not be open all year round).
Visitors can grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants, which offers a variety of local and international dishes. The souvenir shops offer a wide range of products, including traditional handicrafts, clothing, and other items.
NB: If you find the restaurant is not in operation, don’t worry. There are many other fantastic restaurants spread out throughout Skopje.
Hiking on Vodno Mountain
Vodno Mountain is a popular destination for hikers, and there are several trails that visitors can explore. The trails offer beautiful views of the city and the surrounding countryside, and are a great way to experience the natural beauty of the area.
The trails range in difficulty, from easy and well-marked paths to more challenging routes for experienced hikers. Visitors should be prepared for varying terrain and weather conditions, and should bring plenty of water and snacks.
Other Attractions on Vodno Mountain
In addition to the Millennium Cross, there are several other attractions on Vodno Mountain that visitors can explore.
The nearby Saint Panteleimon Monastery is also worth a visit for its beautiful architecture and peaceful atmosphere.
The monastery is a short walk from the Millennium Cross and offers a quiet and serene environment in contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city below.
5 Quick Tips for Visiting the Millennium Cross
Plan your visit in advance: Some attractions on Vodno Mountain, such as the Museum of the City of Skopje, may have limited hours or require advance reservations. It is a good idea to plan your visit in advance to avoid disappointment.
Dress appropriately for the weather: The weather on Vodno Mountain can be unpredictable, so it is important to dress appropriately for the conditions. Be prepared for hot or cold temperatures, and bring layers in case the weather changes.
Bring plenty of water and snacks: There are restaurants and souvenir shops on the mountain, but it is a good idea to bring your own water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized during your visit.
Be aware of the altitude: Vodno Mountain is located at a high altitude, which can affect some visitors. If you are prone to altitude sickness, be sure to take it easy and listen to your body during your visit.
Respect the local culture and customs: Vodno Mountain and the Millennium Cross are important cultural and religious sites, and visitors should respect the local culture and customs while on the mountain. This includes avoiding loud noise, litter, and dressing modestly.
Frequently Asked Questions About Vodno & The Millennium Cross
Is there an admission fee to visit the Millennium Cross?
There is no admission fee to visit the Millennium Cross. However, there may be fees for certain attractions on the mountain, such as the cable car or the Museum of the City of Skopje.
Are there restrooms on the mountain?
Yes, there are restrooms on Vodno Mountain, located near the cable car station and the Millennium Cross.
Is the Millennium Cross accessible to visitors with disabilities?
The Millennium Cross and the other attractions on Vodno Mountain are generally accessible to visitors with disabilities. However, the hiking trails may not be suitable for all visitors, and some areas may be difficult to access. It is best to check with the attractions in advance to determine their accessibility.
Is it safe to visit the Millennium Cross?
Yes, Skopje, the Millennium Cross and the other attractions on Vodno Mountain are generally safe to visit. However, as with any tourist destination, it is always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to protect your belongings.
Are there guided tours available at the Millennium Cross?
Yes, there are several tour companies that offer guided tours of the Millennium Cross and the other attractions on Vodno Mountain. These tours provide in-depth information about the history and significance of the cross and the other attractions and are a good option for those who want to learn more about the area.
Can I take photos at the Millennium Cross?
Yes, visitors are welcome to take photos at the Millennium Cross (it’s one of the most picture-perfect spots in Skopje), but again I remind you it is important to be respectful of the local culture and customs and to avoid disturbing other visitors or interfering with their enjoyment of the area.