Coce Stone, Kratovo

FYR Macedonia, North-East region
GPS: N. 42°.05’.024’’ E. 021°.59’ 227’’

The locality of Coce Stone (Cocev Kamen) is 25 km on the west from Kratovo, nearby the village Shopsko Rudari. It is believed that this was neolith settlement where inhabitants were hunters and farmers. The rock itself represents spiritual shrine, which can be seen today by numerous remains as well as the objects found nearby.


It looks like an ordinary rock from distance. There is a grandiose locality only a few steps away from it. Hollows that look like caves are set on floors, and in front of them there are plateaus, pools for ritual bathing, stair remains, stone throne and seats.10000 years ago, pre-historic people performed ritual dances on the rock, bathed under the waterfall, gave sacrifices to the Gods of wine and fertility. There are stairs from the bottom of the rock leading to the top into the caves. Climbing this steep rock is equal to performing some extreme sport.

It’s unusual to see frescoes on the outside walls of churches and monasteries, but even more unusual to see a Judgement Day theme. People were burning in hell, disfigured animals were torturing townfolk and the village was on fire.

The major ceremonies were performed in the cave on the second level of Coce Stone (Cocev Kamen).There were hollowed one small and one big cesspools. There are two pools on the top of the rock, which probably served for ritual bathing. Part of the rituals were performed on the plateau where were hollowed two thrones and several seats. The Sun, the Moon and stars were watched from the seats. On the east from these chairs, on the next hill to Coce Stone (Cocev Kamen), there are megaliths i.e. orients by sun position was defined. Nearby the major megalith half-moon was hollowed, and on the ground there is a big sun disc. There are caves on the western side of the rock but rituals weren’t performed there. There is some type of a letter on the walls in one of the caves, the symbols are red. Painted orant dominates in the, a type of a god characteristic for late bronze and classical period. Its observatory function from Stone Age, Coce Stone continue to perform this function till Bronze Age. The shrine was abandoned after only few centuries from A.D. The value of Coce Stone was discovered in 1971. Some researchers consider it for a unique locality in the world because a shrine, room for sacrifices and observatory can be found on the same place.