As we depart west from Skopje, we enter the region of Polog Valley, divided on upper and lower Polog region. The two biggest cities, Tetovo and Gostivar, stretch underneath the glorious mountain reef of Shar Mountain. As part of the Northwestern region, Polog borders with two countries, Albania and Kosovo. The current population of the Polog statistical region is 304,125 citizens and is the only region in Macedonia where majority of the nationality is Albanian.
Tetovo, famous for its mixed ethnicity is the second largest town in N. Macedonia. In the Ottoman period was known by its unique and only in this region, mysterious Dervish unity of Bektashi and their Arabati Baba Tekke. The cultural attractions in the region are placed in the town of Tetovo near the Pena river. The Painted Mosque (Sharena Dzamija) originally built in 1438, was financed by two sisters from Tetovo. A hammam was built across the river and the site used to include an Inn.
The upper region of Polog is popular for the beautiful Shara Mountain, Popova Shapka ski center. Popova Shapka also has a choice of different type of accommodation, from small lodges and villas, to 4**** star hotels that allow skiers to enjoy the ski center for more than just a day. Shara Mountain range is abundant with grazing fields, and stock and sheep breeding and also the home of the indigenous shepherd dog– the Sharplaninec. The lower Polog area is one of the richest agricultural region in west of Macedonia popular for the growth of the famous Tetovo beans. These beans are the sole product in making the unique Macedonian specialty Tavche Gravche that can be combined with the popular Shara burger.
As we continue to the city of Gostivar on the outskirts of this city are the famous springs of the river Vardar, the widest river in N. Macedonia. The springs of Vrutok are used in production of electricity but are famous for the many local restaurants serving the fresh river trout breed directly from the springs. With its local cheese and vegetables one cannot pass the region without enjoying the sound of the spring with the taste of the Polog region.