Sights of Skopje, Macedonia
According to bridgat.com, Skopje is the capital of Macedonia. It is also the largest city in the country and in many ways it is also the most important city in the country. Only as a tourist hotspot does Skopje lose out to the much more southerly Ohrid. Yet Skopje is also becoming an increasingly popular city trip. If you see what the city has to offer, it is not surprising. It is of course not Paris, Barcelona or Prague, but there are still enough sights in Skopje to keep yourself busy for a few days. Especially in the old part of the city there are a lot of sights to be found. The nicest part of the city is the Oriental Bazaar. This part of town is filled with quaint little shops, restaurants and tea houses. Another must is Macedonia Square. A large number of monuments and statues can be found in this square. It is also the largest square in the country.
Top 10 Things to Do in Skopje
#1. The Stone Bridge
The Stone Bridge is perhaps the most famous structure in the entire city. This bridge was originally built in the fifteenth century by order of Sultan Mehmed II. The bridge was originally built in the Ottoman style typical of the time. The many renovations had somewhat influenced the original character of the bridge, but a recent refurbishment has brought back the appearance of the bridge. What is special is that the bridge has survived many attacks and natural disasters over the centuries.
#2. Macedonian Museum
Near the old market in the Stara Carsia district is the Macedonian Museum. This museum is an amalgamation of several smaller museums in Skopje. As a result of this merger, the museum has an impressively complete collection. The collection consists of the former collections of the Archaeological Museum, the Art History Museum, the Ethnographic Museum and the Natural History Museum of Macedonia. The museum is located on the bank of the Vardar and can be reached with its own bridge over this river.
#3. Sveti Spas
The Sveti Spas or Church of the Ascension of Jesus is probably the most beautiful and famous church in Skopje. The church was built in the nineteenth century. In the centuries that followed, several beautiful murals were painted. Some of these paintings were only discovered during the last restoration. On the outside there is little to see of the many pomp and circumstance that can be seen inside the church. In addition to the murals, the church is also known for its beautiful carvings. In the courtyard of the church is the tomb of Gotse Delchev, one of the leaders of the Ilinden uprising. However, he was killed in a demonstration before the uprising.
#4. Fort Kale
Fort Kale is a beautiful historic fortress that is also known as Fort Skopje. The current fortress dates from the sixth century AD but there is evidence that this place was inhabited for more than four thousand years before the era. Over the centuries, the fortress has been expanded and renovated several times. Most of these changes were made in the tenth and eleventh centuries at the time of Justinian the First. A major earthquake in 1963 severely damaged the fort. The best ways to restore the fortress to its original state are still under investigation. Part of the fortress can be visited today.
The Vardar River has been an important economic factor for Skopje for centuries. The city is built on both banks of the Vardar. The two parts are connected by different bridges. The most famous of these is the old stone bridge. The Vardar rises near the town of Gostivar before flowing through Skopje and Greece to the Aegean Sea. The Vardar is also one of the most important rivers in Greece. The Skopje football club is named after this river.
#6. Oriental Bazaar
Skopje’s Oriental Bazaar has long been the economic heart of the city. With the growing influence that Skopje had on the Balkans, the bazaar was even one of the most important in the entire Balkans. Even today, the Oriental Bazaar plays an important role in daily life in Skopje. In the Bazaar there are numerous bazaar, there are numerous kebab shops and tea houses. There are also a number of museums, bathhouses, mosques and art galleries in the bazaar. In short, if you have not been to the bazaar during your visit to Skopje, then you have not been to Skopje.
#7. Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa is probably Skopje’s most famous resident. She was born in 1910 when the city was still part of the Ottoman Empire. Soon she started working for Our Lady of Loreto. A few years later she was sent to Calcutta where she will spend most of her life. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in this city. A few years after her death, she was beatified by Pope John Paul II. There are several monuments in Skopje that remind of this special mother. The former birthplace of Mother Teresa has been recreated in a modern version and is now used as a shrine with some relics.
#8. Skopje ZOO
The Skopje ZOO is a medium-sized city zoo that is home to about five hundred animals, divided into about a hundred animal species. The zoo first opened its doors in 1926. In this period it was still a small zoo with only a few animal species. In 1965, the zoo grounds were significantly enlarged and grew to its current size. There has been a lot of discussion about the zoo, especially about the living conditions of the animals. Fortunately, there has recently been a major financial injection and more than ninety percent of the lofts have now been renovated and replaced. These adjustments gave the animals more space and the living environment was also better adapted to the needs of the zoo. Partly due to the recent renovation, the Skopje Zoo is one of the most important sights of the city.
#9. Macedonia Square
Macedonia Square is the main square of the Macedonian capital Skopje. The square exudes a special allure. This is mainly due to the beautiful statue of a rider on horseback that stands in the middle of the square. The Macedonia Square is the largest square in the country with a total area of approximately 18,500 meters. Almost all major streets and the Stone Bridge lead to this square. In addition to the statue of a rider on horseback, there are many other monuments, fountains and statues on the square. The most famous of these are the Pavilion, the King Samuel statue, the Dame Gruev statue and the monument to the boatmen of Thessaloníki
#10. Holocaust Memorial Center
The Holocaust Memorial Center was opened in 2011 in memory of the more than 7,000 Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust in Skopje and Macedonia. It is a modern designed center where the very latest technological gadgets have been applied to tell the terrible story of the Jews in Macedonia. The center is intended as a memorial to the holocaust and to ensure that the horrors that happened to animals are not forgotten. A visit to the Holocaust Memorial Center is a special experience.