(Prince Marko and Musa Kesedžija, 1900 painting by Vladislav Titelbah; Prince Marko is on the right)
KRALI MARKO TRAILS – FEEL THE LEGEND, RUN THE MYTH
King Marko – а hero above all heroes! Hundreds of Macedonian and Balkan folk tales, songs, myths and legends have been inspired by his greatness. The list of heroic deeds and acts of bravery of this medieval and legendary ruler on the grounds of Prilep and Macedonia is infinitely long. Long and heroic as an ultra marathon is!
King Markо is a great historical figure born around 1335 as the eldest of King Volkashin’s four sons. After his father’s death he reigned over a big part of the Prilep kingdom with its capital in Prilep – the city which lies proudly under the walls of its fortress – Marko’s Towers.
You can find places named after King Marko and his acts of bravery all over Macedonia and the Balkans, but certainly the most numerous are precisely in its capital – the city of Prilep and its surroundings. Marko’s Towers – (in local dialect Marku(j)Kule) proudly upraising above Varos with the numerous churches where the new city had been built (“attached” – Prilepi, in Macedonian), the ancient monastery in Treskavec under the imposant Zlatovrv Peak are the places where you will find and walk (run) following Marko’s footprints and trails (even in their literal meaning).
This last ruler of the region, before the conquest of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the XIV century, was sung about, and immortalized in numerous pieces of folk literature where he fights and encounters hundreds of real historical, and imagined, mythical and legendary figures. In Macedonian folklore, the songs of King Marko stand first in number, for its aesthetic value and meaning, and he is the most remarkable figure and beloved hero, equally popular in other Balkan and South Slavic nations’ folklore.
His heroic deeds described in the songs and stories are often about competing and proving his physical strength and supernatural proportions such as skipping whole mountains, throwing stones at huge distances, riding and running extremely long distances, and almost endless lands…
Such acts of bravery part of King Marko’s legends combined with the extraordinary nature of the environment are the main reason for organizing the ultramaraton Krali Marko Trails. Hundreds of years later, you have a unique opportunity to follow his footsteps, to explore and become a hero yourself..
King Marko, the epic hero, invites you to do the following: Come and run the myth, come and feel the legend!
Written by Mario Sharevski – versatile lover of Macedonia