Geo Heritage

The monumentality and variety of the denudation forms that make up the complex Markovi Kuli are a unique geomorphologic phenomenon that evokes a sense of excitement in every visitor. Although such rock formations are an essential feature of the landscape of the Prilep region and can be traced from Mariovo to Kajmakchalan, the area of Markovi Kuli remains unique both in its relatively large area and in the picturesque shapes of the micro-relief forms. The main natural significance and uniqueness of this site is the remarkable variety of denudation forms, a result of the geological composition of the terrain i.e. the presence of granite rocks, imprinted and punctured through older gneiss rocks (Prilep granitoid complex). The process of creating the extraordinary forms in the relief of the Markovi Kuli protected area began as early as the Precambrian era when the upper layer composed of metamorphosed and clastic and carbonate rocks from the Mesozoic period stretched over the lower plates. The granite rocks are generally dated to 300-250 million years (Carbon-Perm), but also traces of older magmatism are dated to 600-700 million years (Precambrian). Due to the heterogeneous mineral composition, these rocks are subject to significant selective erosion. Given the number, diversity, and strikingness of the denudation forms in the granite rocks, the area of Markovi Kuli is one of the very few in Europe and beyond. The geomorphological manifestations quads, stratums, peaks, lobes, seams, mushrooms, balls, and various micro-relief forms give special attraction to space. The main conditions for the origin and evolution of this wealth of forms are due to the geological composition of the terrain, water, climate, relief, wind, wildlife, and human influence. Namely, in some of the inselbergs, the geomorphological forms have been altered by anthropogenic influences through the building of numerous old monuments, then various rock cuttings like troughs, vessels, etc. The fascinating processes of formation of the Markovi Kuli area are visible through the denudation relief phenomena – rocky columns and blocks, as well as the hollows on the rock mass. The rock formations, which occur in groups, but also individually, have the most colossal dimensions and most vibrant forms in the surrounding of the peak Zlatovrv and along the eastern ridge - from the Kukul heap to the Edinak peak. In addition to the inselbergs of titanic proportions, the morphological diversity is also evident in the lonely blocks, which represent the most numerous denudation forms in the relief of Markovi Kuli. According to their appearance, these rocky blocks can be divided into slab-like, stack-like, stool-like and mushroom-like. The lonely rock pillars that remain on the topographic surface during the long process of denudation are called "ostenci". According to the appearance, the individual columns are very diverse, but the ones with the pillar, head and tooth shape are predominant. Special types of phenomena are the so-called rock windows that exist along with the lateral parts of the narrow rocky ridges. Such openings are the result of selective erosion, whereby the softer parts of the rocks degraded faster than the rest of the rock mass. Among the striking shapes that emerged from the denudation processes are the numerous micro-relief forms that appear on the horizontal and vertical surfaces of the rocks at Markovi Kuli. The indentations from the upper surface of the rocks are referred to as footprints, pots, and tubs, whereas on the vertical walls of the rocky blocks as a consequence from the selective erosion by the wind and climatic conditions small indentations can be observed known as tafoni. Among the smaller forms - indentations, stone slats, honeycombs or miniature caves, there are also indentations with larger dimensions, gneiss caves or so-called "Podmoli". The indentations on the horizontal surfaces mainly occur in three transitional forms. At the earliest stage, they form a cup, after which they turn into footprints and pots, and in the final stage, which occurs when the pots merge, tubs are formed.