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Skopje - Excursion through the capital of Macedonia

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Skopje - First Excursion through the capital of Macedonia

Of course, we were excited in looking forward to our first impressions what would convey our first trip to Skopje.

Before starting our trip we had been advised already that there would be a large number of sculptures and monuments in the city center, which would have swallowed a lot of money, that should have been better invested for regional infrastructure. So at least the first information about Skopje, we have got. The time was right to make our own judgments. We had also taken our bike freak Piotr on the way which we promised to take him to Skopje by car, since the trip by bike along the busy main road was just too dangerous. So we take off early in the morning.

We always followed the E-65 / A2 signs to towards Skopje, initially through green valley landscape, then following the road steadily climbing, when between Slivovo and Gostivar we had to cross the mountains. From Gostivar, a part of the highway to Skopje is finished already, so we quickly came over to Tetovo into downtown Skopje. We had booked a room in the city center, which we wanted to see first of all, after that, we had to say goodbye to Piotr.

On the way to the hotel we passed through a first part of a pedestrian area, next to the monument of St. Clement of Ohrid. Along the way we also met the small museum house, which was built here in memory of Mother Theresa. Mother Teresa was born on 26th of August 1910 in Üsküb, what was the name of Skopje during the Ottoman Empire, was a nun and missionary of Albanian origin who also owned Indian citizenship. Worldwide known due to her services and her support to the poor, the homeless, the sick and dying, for which she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. In the Catholic Church Mother Teresa is revered as blessed. Mother Teresa died on 5th of September 1997 in Calcutta, India.

After checking in at the hotel and a quick snack we were ready for a first tour through the capital Skopje. First, we went along on the banks of the Vardar river, we were surprised by the many huge cafes and restaurants, which were accordingly well attended. We noticed the first still under construction wooden monument which was created in the river bed as a restaurant in the shape of a medieval ship where we initially completely missed the reference to Skopje. Was the Vardar river once been navigable until here?

A little later, we reached the first of the newly constructed bridges crossing the Vardar River and even here we realized what people had been trying to explain us in terms of sculptures and monuments: the footbridge was full of "modern" figures from antiquity, which certainly all a have a relation to the history of Macedonia, however, were represented in so frequent number on the railing of the bridge, that after a few meters no one had anymore interest in reading names and dates. Too bad. In addition to that, there was the variety of exaggerated oversized lights that reminded more of Disney World and its fairytale castles. Well, the view to the left was then even more beneficial because it came to really interesting old stone bridge dating from Roman times. We will do a separate report which will follow little later. Later we wanted to search for the Roman viaduct, a really interesting architectural construction of Skopje but unfortunately there was not a single sign.

The neo-classical new buildings, maybe a mixture of different eras, could not give the impression of truly stunning architecture, rather again in the style of Disneyland exaggerated monstrous, here less would be even more. And every few meters of new sculptures and figures, which did not change on the other side of Vardar. At the center of this arrangement, there was still a huge column with the statue of Alexander the Great showing different battle segments and other ornament images, all lined with fountains and reverberate with music. Certainly based on the idea to build something special, we needed to say, that people from Ohrid have been right in their impression. There is a lack of infrastructure in the country especially regarding waste disposal. Here investments are urgently needed, which should all affect not only the piles of garbage on the roadsides but above all in education, so at least the next generation would be sensitized.

Who stops at the most amazing monuments in the city, the super modern boulevards stocked with sidewalk cafes which certainly attract numerous guests, if at the same time the Vardar river is overflowing because of plastic and other garbage. Here it certainly would be easy with little financial cost to clean and make it more beautiful.

Too bad, so our impressions too,  that the transmitted stories of boastfulness accompanied with the financial waste of exaggerated cult monuments, needed to be confirmed during our first tour: a Disneyland of the sculptures!
The next day we will have a check on the ancient Ottoman bazaar, which was hopefully not prepared in a modern way.

Please read as well:

The famous Matka - Canyon, Dam and Gorge near Skopje

Roman Scupi - first settlement in the history of Skopje

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