'Friendships can overcome borders'
Written by The Friendship Arabia Team   
Friday, 20 June 2008 21:31

Over the course of the trip, Ali and the rest of the Friendship Arabia team have been receiving many messages of encouragement. From time to time, we will feature some of these on the site.

Here's what Biljana Davceva has to say:

"I am a Macedonian who lives and works in Bahrain. I can't tell you how happy I am that Ali has visited my country on his route through the Middle East and Europe. 

"I do hope that he will have wonderful memories from Macedonia and that my people have given him warm hospitality just like the Bahrainis have offered me their hospitality and friendship during the past 5 years here in Bahrain.

"Your trip is proof that friendships and humanity can overcome any borders. Good luck for the rest of your trip."

• To send Ali a message, please use the Contact form. 


A shared cultural vision
Written by Valentina Miskovska-Petrovich   
Tuesday, 17 June 2008 22:30

With new friends at the MKC, Saso Dodovski and his team

Yesterday was a very busy day. In the morning, Ali had a very interesting meeting with an enthusiastic bunch of young people who work with the Youth Cultural Centre (MKC in Macedonian), based in Bitola.

The people in MKC were very interested in Ali's tour and what it was all about, as their work also mainly deals with promoting understanding between different ethnicities and promoting cultural achievements.

They are currently working on an interesting event called Bitola Open City, which opens next month. Young people from all over the world will come and preform for the citizens of  Bitola, and show what can be achieved with goodwill and understanding.

A ministerial welcome in Skopje
Written by Ali Mushaima   
Tuesday, 17 June 2008 08:27

Ali presents Macedonia's Minister for Foreign Investment Gligor Tashkovich with a copy of the Visitor's Complete Guide to Bahrain (see 

Prior to setting out on the Friendship Arabia Tour, I applied for my Macedonian visa at their mission in Doha, Qatar.

When the Macedonian Ambassador heard of the reason for my visit, he went out of his way to make me feel welcome, sending a car to my hotel in Doha to pick me up, gave me the visa, and asked his driver to drop me back. I was touched and impressed that he would do so much to promote his country.

When I arrived in the Macedonian capital Skopje today, I made it a point to call the Ambassador, who promptly arranged for me to meet the Minister for Foreign Investment Gligor Tashkovich. 

So much to explore in Macedonia
Written by Valentina Miskovska-Petrovich   
Monday, 16 June 2008 07:24

The monastery of St. Jovan Bigorski (John the Baptist), high in the mountains. During the rule of the Ottomans, it was the Muslims from the surrounding villages who would defend the monastery from highway bandits. 

We started early to explore western Macedonia. 

Ali drove through the villages to the town of Kichevo, which is famous for their goldsmiths. From Kichevo, the road took us via the mountain pass of Straza(1,430m above sea level) to the town of Gostivar in the north-west corner of Macedonia. The town is a mix of cultures and religions, mainly ethic Albanian Muslims and Orthodox Christian Macedonians. We visited the main mosque in town, and the clock tower, witch many centuries ago was a part of the notorious Ottoman Turkish prison. 

A busy first day in Macedonia
Written by Valentina Miskovska-Petrovich   
Saturday, 14 June 2008 21:52

Ali's hotel in Bitola, Macedonia , was originally an old house, built in 1915. The architecture is French Colonial with Austro-Hungarian details throw in. 

It feels great to be the newest member of the Friendship Arabia Tour team. Although I live and work in the UK, as a Macedonian, I do know my way around here.

I met Ali around noon and showed him a bit of Bitola. We took a walk through the Shirok Sokak, or Broad Street, and had lunch at a traditional Macedonian restaurant.

After that, we visited Haider Mosque in the heart of the old city. The mosque was built in 1506 and is the oldest religious structure still in use in the city. We also visited St. Dimitrious Church, built in 1863, which has one of the remaining intact wooden carved iconostases (wall of icons) in Macedonia.

We also walked through the old bazaar and market. 

After that we visited Heraklea Linkestis, a town founded by Philip II of Macedon, then taken by the Romans and Busantioum.

From Heraklea Linkestis we took a short ride (10km from the city centre) to Mountain Baba and the National Park Pelister where we stopped to take pictures  of the mountain and the panoramic view of Pelagonia Plain.