"Majdanpek" Majdanpek by tayloretc
Majdanpek Travel Guide: 4 reviews and 24 photos
Majdanpek is not a pretty town (but keep reading, it is an interesting one). It was built primarily in support of the mines, and most of the buildings were built for the working class during the 1950s and 60s – not a great time in communist architecture, even at its best.
The communist worker buildings are recent, but the town – and the mines – are very, very old. Evidence of human exploitation of the metals found here date back 7000 years, and this area was important to Greeks, Romans, and Ottomans in the last 2000. These veins of minerals are so rich, spring snows wash gold into the small mountain streams, enough to earn a decent local living panning for it (although as far as I know only one person does this)(ask at the tourist info center to visit Pete – he’s charming).
Majdanpek has an interesting human history, too. When the Ottomans left, there were no local people knowledgeable about mining, so families from Romania, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and other places settled here in the mid-1800s. They’ve long stopped speaking their language of origin, but family names still show where individuals came from.
The apartment blocks in the photo above are set on the hill above the center of town. Less than half a mile the other way is the mine in the photo on the left, literally beginning at the edge of town. It’s huge. The roads you can see around the edges of the lake are built for the kinds of trucks that have tires 10 feet tall. There are several more similar mines nearby (the satellite image here is fascinating and kind of horrifying). In recent years the mine slowed down as the major veins were depleted (dropping from 4000 workers to 1000), but they recently found another vein and are gearing back up (and are hiring).
Majdanpek is the district capitol, so government offices are located here, as well as a regional school, but not a whole lot else. At 10,000 people, it’s one of the largest towns for an hour in any direction, meaning that if you need something as mundane as contact lens solution or a computer mouse you’ll probably have to come here for it. There are good bus connections to towns throughout the area.
Except for the mines, the area and the small villages around Majdanpek are beautiful – miles and miles of old forest that must be spectacular in the fall, with farms, fields, and streams. There’s a defunct ski center nearby that appears to still have trails into the hills, which would probably make for great hiking (although there’s nothing official). There are also two attractions nearby that are worth seeing:
Rajko’s Cave (about 2 km west of town)
Valja Prerast (the “Plain Natural Bridge,” about 12 km east of town)
This place was recommended to me as the best alternative to the fast-food type places that are everywhere or the hotel... more travel advice
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