Monumental Skopje, Macedonia
I was in Skopje, the capital of the Former Yugolslav Republic of Macedonia last spring. I’ve already written about many things to see there, including the Kale fortress, the historic and picturesque neighborhood of Čaršija and the impressive Ottoman Bridge.
But this is old Skopje.
The modern city is – well, er – constructed on an entirely different aesthetic. One on a monumental scale.
Think Ancient Greece or Rome, or some Hollywood set of either, where they’ll digitally add the impressive monuments in post-production.
Skopje’s been on a building spree lately, one that favors hulking statues of some glorious past.
There’s the towering Alexander the Great fountain, standing 21 meters tall, spewing out water that changes color with a revolving system of colored lights and, bizarrely, plays music. There’s a pseudo Arc de Triomphe/ Brandenburg Gate, couldn’t quite make out which….
Then there is statue after massive statue of national heroes. It just seemed rather kitsch, which was a shame because the city, with its Balkan tradition of lively cafes and life spent strolling around outside had such a nice vibe to it otherwise. And its old town was very charming.
But I couldn’t take any more of those statues, and I’m hoping the statue building spree has come to an end. After all, there’s nowhere left to place them.
So when you’re in Skopje, there’s plenty to see.
Enjoy the pace of the city, the winding streets of the old town, the Ottoman Bridge, the fortress and views over the city, the baklava and other tempting sweets … and all those monumental, kitsch statues standing guard over the city…
Let’s just hope that the monumental statue building spree-overkill is over for the foreseeable future.
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