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Струга (Macedonian)
Strugë  (Albanian)
Aerial view of Struga
Aerial view of Struga
Coat of arms of Struga
Struga is located in North Macedonia
Location within North Macedonia
Coordinates: 41°10′N 20°40′E / 41.167°N 20.667°E / 41.167; 20.667
Country North Macedonia
RegionLogo of Southwestern Region, North Macedonia.svg Southwestern
MunicipalityCoat of arms of Struga Municipality.svg Struga
 • MayorRamiz Merko
 • Total483 km2 (186 sq mi)
693 m (2,273 ft)
 • Total16,559
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Area code(s)+389 46
Car plates
Struga car plate

Struga (Macedonian: Струга [ˈstruɡa] (audio speaker iconlisten), Albanian: Strugë) is a town and popular tourist destination situated in the south-western region of North Macedonia, lying on the shore of Lake Ohrid. The town of Struga is the seat of Struga Municipality.


Old boulevard of Struga

The origins of the name Struga come from a common word in both the Albanian language, "Shtrunga", and Vlach/Romanian, "Strunga", meaning a farming enclosure for milking sheep ("shtrunga e vathës").[1] An alternative explanation from a tourist guide book suggests the Old Church Slavonic language.[2] There are three theories regarding the name, suggested by some locals of Struga.

  • One hypothesis is that the name of the town originated from the geographic location of the town. Located at the foot of an open valley and subject to a windy climate, it was suggested that the name originates from the old Slavic term: струже ветер (it blows wind).
  • Another hypothesis says that the name of the city origins from the straga, meaning a cross.
  • Another hypothesis comes from the word str'g which means water branch.

The ancient name of the city is Enchalon (Εγχαλών), the ancient Greek word for eel, which may be related to the Illyrian Enchele tribe that was known to live in the region. According to E. Hamp, a connection with Albanian ngjalë makes it possible that the name Enchele was derived from the Illyrian term for eels, which may have been anciently related to Greek and simply adjusted to the Greek pronunciation. In Polybius the word 'Enchele' is written with a voiceless aspirate kh, Enchelanes, while in Mnaseas it was replaced with a voiced ng, Engelanes, the latter being a typical feature of the Ancient Macedonian and northern Paleo-Balkan languages.[3]


In ancient times, the Lake Ohrid region, including Enchalon (ancient name of modern Struga) was inhabited by the Illyrian Enchele and Dassareti tribes.[4][5][6][7] The Via Egnatia ran through the Lake Ohrid region, and is believed to have passed west of Enchalon.[8]

Etymologist Qemal Murati believes that the name Strugë-a was first used as the name of a village; this name was used in a document of Tsar Dusan in the 14th century in the form of Struga. Later, in the 16th-17th centuries, the Codex of Slepçan, the name 'Strugi' was used.[9]

During the 16th century, Struga was located in the Sanjak of Ohrid of the Ottoman Empire. It was registered as a Christian village in the Nahiya of Ohrid with 184 Christian families, 20 unmarried men and 36 widows, as well as 8 Muslim families.[10]

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Struga was part of the Manastir Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire.

Struga was the birthplace in 1865 Ibrahim Temo, who would go on to be a doctor and one of the founders of the Ottoman reform movement known as the Committee of Union and Progress.[11]

From 1929 to 1941, Struga was part of the Vardar Banovina of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.


Struga is located in an open valley on Lake Ohrid. The Black Drin river (Crn Drim) starts at the lake and divides the city.


As of the 2002 census, the city of Struga has 16,559 inhabitants and the ethnic composition was the following:[12]

  • Macedonians, 8,901 (53.7%)
  • Albanians, 5,293 (32.0%)
  • Turks, 907 (5.5%)
  • Vlachs, 550 (3.3%)
  • others, 908 (5.5%)

The mother tongues of the city's residents were the following:

  • Macedonian, 9,665 (58.4%)
  • Albanian, 5,615 (34.0%)
  • Turkish, 823 (5.0%)
  • Aromanian, 271 (1.6%)
  • others, 185 (1.1%)

The religious composition of the city was the following:

  • Orthodox Christians, 9,197 (55.5%)
  • Muslims, 7,075 (42.7%)
  • others, 287 (1.7%)
City of Struga population according to ethnic group 1948-2002[13]
census 1948 census 1953 census 1961 census 1971 census 1981 census 1994 census 2002
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Macedonians .. .. 2,194 43.9 3,423 49.9 6,215 54.2 8,002 55.9 9,433 58.9 8,901 53.8
Albanians .. .. 1,109 22.2 1,649 24.1 3,508 30.6 4,149 29.0 4,330 27.0 5,293 32.0
Turks .. .. 927 18.6 994 14.5 730 6.4 832 5.8 887 5.5 927 5.5
Romani .. .. 141 2.82 0 0.0 12 0.1 421 2.9 114 0.7 97 0.6
Vlachs .. .. 536 10.7 0 0.0 0 0.0 337 2.35 462 2.9 550 3.3
Serbs .. .. 42 0.9 54 0.8 106 0.9 84 0.6 91 0.6 72 0.4
Bosnians .. .. 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 0 0.0 16 0.1
Others/undeclared .. .. 47 1.0 737 10.8 904 7.9 500 3.5 720 4.5 723 4.4
Total 4,923 4,996 6,857 11,475 14,325 16,037 16,559

Until the last few decades of the 20th century Albanian Tosk, in particular the geographically central variety of the dialect dominated among speakers of Albanian in Struga.[14] The local Romani population of Struga speaks and sings in the southern Tosk Albanian dialect, as does the local Turkish population.[14] Aromanians in Struga also speak Tosk Albanian.


Frescoes from the rock church in the monastery of Kalishta.

Struga is also a place of important cultural significance in North Macedonia, as it is the birthplace of the poets Konstantin and Dimitar Miladinov.

The main event of the cultural life in Struga is the world's largest poetry gathering, Struga Poetry Evenings, whose laureates have included several Nobel Prize for Literature winners such as

and many others since 1966.

There are several cultural monuments in Struga and in its vicinity such as

  • the Monastery of Kališta, a few kilometers away from the town center, lying on the shore of Lake Ohrid. It is believed that it dates from the 16th century, with frescoes from the 14th and the 15th centuries.
  • Another rock church is present in the neighbouring village of Radožda with frescoes from the 13th and 14th centuries.
  • The Church of Sveta Bogorodica (St Mary) in Vraništa, is believed to be where Tsar Samuel was crowned.[citation needed]
  • The church of St. George is also located in the town; built on top of Samuel's church, it has many icons from the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries.
  • Near the village of Radolishta, a basilica from the 4th century was discovered,[when?] with a mosaic.

Struga's old architecture dates from the 18th and 19th centuries.[citation needed]


Local football clubs FC Struga and FK Karaorman have both played in the Macedonian First Football League. A third club Vllaznimi, currently plays in the Macedonian Third League (Southwest Division).



The Black Drin river flowing through the city.

Much of the town's income is through internal tourism. Struga's location on Lake Ohrid makes it a slightly quieter and more peaceful experience than the more bustling Ohrid.

When visiting this quiet town of North Macedonia, there are a few other places that show the beauty and culture, like the clay chamber pots at the house of the Miladinovci Brothers,[who?] the old bazaar, the century old churches and mosques.

Before the evenings you can enjoy on 3 kinds of beaches called "Male beach" (maška plaža), "Female beach" (Ženska plaža) and Galeb ("Gull Beach"), located just before the estuary of the river Crn Drim (Black Drim) in its own flow, and between the two previous beaches.

Just in front of the "Male beach", at the estuary of the river Crn Drim it is located the biggest 5 star Hotel Drim in Struga.

Out of the town there is another tourist place near the lake called Biser (Pearl), also a hotel.

Every August the Struga Poetry Evenings (SPE) are held at the "Poetry Bridge" (Macedonian: Струшки Вечери на Поезијата) and are attended by poets, writers and artists from across the world.[citation needed]

  • St. George Church - from the 13th century;
  • St. Nicholas Church
  • Church of the Myrrhbearing Women

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Struga is twinned with:

See also[edit]


  2. ^ Macedonia. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 167. Retrieved 2009-10-03. struga name.
  3. ^ Šašel Kos 1993, p. 119.
  4. ^ Dervishi, Nebi (2005). Etnokultura e Fushëgropës së Ohrit. Tetovo: Çabej. p. 175. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  5. ^ Wilkes 1992, pp. 98–99.
  6. ^ Hammond 1982, p. 265.
  7. ^ Strabo, Geography (ed. H.C. Hamilton, Esq., W. Falconer, M.A.), book 7, chapter 7: "...had established their sway, and Enchelii, who are also called Sesarethii. Then come the Lyncestæ, the territory Deuriopus, Pelagonia-Tripolitis..."
  8. ^ Dervishi, Nebi (2005). Etnokultura e Fushëgropës së Ohrit. Tetovo: Çabej. p. 33. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  9. ^ Dervishi, Nebi (2005). Etnokultura e Fushëgropës së Ohrit. Tetovo: Çabej. p. 24. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  10. ^ Dervishi, Nebi (2005). Etnokultura e Fushëgropës së Ohrit. Tetovo: Çabej. p. 113. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  11. ^ Temo, İbrahim (1987). İbrahim Temo'nun İttihad ve Terakki Anıları. İstanbul: Arba. p. 5.
  12. ^ Macedonian census, language and religion Censuses of population 1948 - 2002
  13. ^ Censuses of population 1948 - 2002 Archived 2013-10-14 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ a b Murtishi, Kaim (2001). Ladorishti: Histori dhe Tradita. Asdreni. p. 21. "ndërsa për ruajtjen e identitetit të Strugës, flet fakti se në atë qytet, para disa dekadave, flitej vetëm dialekti toskë, sidomos toskërishtja qendrore, ndërmjet Jugut dhe Veriut të Shqiperisë... Këto fakte gjuhësore i vërteton edhe popullata rome, jevgjit e Strugës, flasin dhe këndojnë toskërisht, gjithashtu edhe popullata turke e këtij qyteti, flet dialektin toskë. Këtë dialekt e flasin vllehët e Strugës dhe të Belicës. Këtë dialekt e flet edhe popullata sllave që ka mësuar të flasë shqip."
  15. ^ Jелена Павловска, Наташа Ниќифоровиќ и Огнен Коцевски (2011). Валентина Божиновска. уред (на македонски). „Карта на верски објекти во Македонија“. Менора - Скопје: Комисија за односи во верските заедници и религиозните групи. ISBN 978-608-65143-2-7
  16. ^ "Kardeş Şehirlerimiz". Retrieved 2021-09-13.
  17. ^ "Orase infratite Arhive". Mangalia (in Romanian). Retrieved 2021-09-13.
  18. ^ "Waterbury and Struga Agree To Become Sister Cities, O'Leary To Visit Macedonia Next Summer". The Waterbury Observer. Archived from the original on 2014-01-28. Retrieved 2014-01-23.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°10′39″N 20°40′44″E / 41.17750°N 20.67889°E / 41.17750; 20.67889