In the 1930s, at the exit from the Matka Canyon, an artificial lake with a concrete dam was built on the river Treska for power generation. Construction work on the dam began in 1935, and the hydropower plant launched in 1938 with an installed capacity of 4.2 MW.
The construction was extensive and a collective enterprise, a capital project of its time, but the person most creditable for its development is Miladin Pećinar, the project’s conceptual author, designer and the man who supervised the construction. When the dam was completed, Pećinar stood at the top of it and shouted, “If the dam goes, let the man who designed it go with it!”
During the Second World War, HPP Matka was one of the strategic facilities over which battles were fought. It was the target of bombings during military operations, during the withdrawal of the fascist forces. There was even an attempt to blow it up, but a group of partisans heroically defended Matka. The dam of the Matka hydropower plant has also saved Skopje from flooding several times, during the great floods of 1962 and 1979, when the dam retained a large quantity of water and contributed to preventing bigger disasters.
Today, the Matka hydropower plant is part of EVN’s renewable energy production in Macedonia. In 2008, it was reconstructed and a completely new hydropower plant was built. Following the construction of a new machine building, located in its immediate vicinity, the old one was decommissioned, after which in 2016 it was converted into an educational/exhibition center.