Between the two rivers, 150 meters high on the rocky hill over the town, the Stip Fortress, or better known as the Isar stands guard. isarPeople say that the fortress was built by King Marko, while his sister Maria was building a road and bridge through the canyon so that the people could cross the Bregalnica River. Even though she advised her brother to build things that would be useful to the people instead of a fortress that will exist only during his life time, King Marko was stubborn and built the fortress. The prediction of the clever Maria came true; the fortress was of short duration. For a long time after that, the people spoke of Maria’s good deed, singing a song whenever they passed the road through the canyon that she built, while the fortress of King Marko was soon in ruins.

The exact time of the construction of the fortress is unknown. It can only be said that it dates from the early Middle Ages, having all the characteristics of medieval art. Located high above, it guarded the town of Stip in the state of Czar Samoil. In the 13th Century the fortress was under Bulgarian administration and after that under the Serbian ruler Stefan Decanski. In 1382 it was conquered by the Turks. After firearms were invented, the fortress was deserted. Some of the building material of the fortress was from the ancient town of Astibo.

Three churches were built under the fortress as protectors from three sides: The Church of St. Vlasius is to the north. Today only its foundations can be seen. The Church of Holy Archangel Mihail is to the east and the church of St. John The Baptist to the south side.

During ottoman empire fortress was destroyed and till today it remains mostly in ruins with very little preserved parts of the construction.


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