Viewed 100 times, downloaded 8 times
near Beličica, Општина Маврово и Ростуша (Македонија)
This is a very pleasant and rewarding hike to two small lakes, with a length of 11 km and about 650 m ascent.
The mountain village Belichica (Belicica) is located a bit west of Lake Mavrovo in Mavrovo National Park. We parked at the end of the asphalt road. About 650 m from the end of the asphalt road, take an overgrown dirt road to the right. If you have reached the field with the war monument, you have gone too far. This first part was pretty overgrown in July 2019.
Belicica is infamous for the horrible massacre that took place in 1944. The war monument commemorates this event, in which most of the village was destroyed. The text on the monument is freely translated to:
“This earth gathers in eternal hug
The victims of the fight and terror
Who In the dusk of 19-September-1944
In front of the burned homes of Belichica
Defended the freedom and humanity
Against the treacherous fascist hate.
The earth keeps their dust
Their memory lives in us and in our freedom”
You can find another monument that commemorates this event in Mavrovo National Park.
Overgrown or not, you have to find your way uphill until you arrive at a better recognizable trail in the forest. From here on, it all gets better.
After about 2 km you reach an open plane with good views. The trail is not always very clear, but the GPS track helps you keep a general direction. Keep an eye out for the flocks of sheep and try to avoid them like the plague because the accompanying shepherd dogs are not known for their kindness towards strangers. Better make a big circle around them.
After a bit more than 4 km you reach the first lake. There was still some water it in. From the first lake you start climbing the obvious ridge.
From the ridge you can see the two small lakes. We unfortunately only spend a short time at the top because thunderstorms were predicted for that day and we suddenly felt some raindrops and heard thunder in the distance.
The descent to the second, completely dried lake is freestyle and does not follow a clear trail. On our way back we suddenly bumped into a flock of sheep that was just on the other side of a hill we were climbing, and we had to deviate from the planned course. For that reason and the troubles with the overgrown trail in the beginning, I had to clean-up the GPS track and edit it to show the best route for this hike.
We had been right about our quick descent to avoid the thunderstorms because on our way back it started the rain. Back in Belichica we noticed an interesting old impressive building while looking for the Church of St Nikolas. I am not sure what its function was but the inscription above the door with a cross suggests it was a religious building. The same inscription can be seen above the door of the Church of St Nikola itself.
We found the right path to the church of St Nikolas after some searching. Unfortunately the church was closed and we did not feel like asking around for the key because the village was quite deserted. The inscription above the door suggests that the church is from 1885. I have read that the interior of the flooded church of St Nikola in Lake Mavrovo was transferred to the Church of St Nikolas in Belichica when the dam was build that created the lake.
A nice and not too strenuous hike with good views. Although I’m usually not a big fan of walking back the same route, it gets 4 out of 5 stars.