Skopje Facts & Figures, Skopje
Skopje , the Capital of Macedonia
Standing on the banks of the Vardar River amid mountainous country, Skopje began as ancient Scupi. It became the capital of the district of Dardania (part of the Roman province of Moesia Superior) under the emperor Diocletian in the 4th century. In 518 it was totally destroyed by an earthquake. A brief Slav incursion occurred in the 7th century, and in the 9th and 10th centuries the town grew rapidly. The Serbs first captured Skopje in 1189, and in 1392 the Turks after conquering Macedonia made it their provincial capital and an important commercial centre. In 1689 it was burned to the ground by Austrian forces to eradicate a cholera epidemic, after which it declined until a revival in the 19th century with the building of the Belgrade-Thessaloníki railway. By treaty Skopje was in 1913 incorporated into Serbia, and in 1918 it became part of the new Yugoslavia. During World War II the Germans occupied it in April 1941, and it was then garrisoned by Bulgarian troops. Liberated in 1944, it became the capital of Macedonia in 1945.
The old city is located on the terraced riverbank dominated by an ancient fortress, north of which is a Roman aqueduct. Medieval monasteries in the vicinity include that of Nerezi (1164), with fine 12th-century frescoes. Other notable buildings are a medieval Turkish inn, the Kursumli Han, and several mosques. The former strongly Turkish aspect of the city has been altered, however, by reconstruction since 1963, when a severe earthquake left some 80 percent of Skopje in ruins, with 1,070 persons dead and more than 120,000 homeless. Relief in money and kind, including medical, engineering, and building teams with supplies, came from 78 countries. From this, Skopje was called the 'City of International Solidarity.' A completely new earthquake-resistant town plan was formulated, with several satellite residential nuclei and four industrial regions. On the left bank are the houses of the representative bodies of the republic of Macedonia, educational institutions, library, concert halls, and radio and television stations. On the right bank is the economic and commercial centre. Skopje is an industrial, commercial, and administrative centre. Industries produce chemicals, cement, agricultural machinery, electrical goods, bricks, ceramics, glass, beer and spirits, canned fruit and vegetables, and tobacco; there is also leather processing, woodworking, chrome refining, and a steelworks. Skopje is an important transportation centre, with rail and road connections and a modern airport. It has a university (1949) St. Cyril and Methodius University,the National and University Library,engineering school and is the site of the Macedonian Academy of Science and Art. Pop. (1981) 408,143.The major theatre companies (the Macedonian National Theatre, the Drama Theatre and the Theatre of the Nationalities), the Ar- chives of Macedonia, the Skopje Historical Archives, the clinics of the Faculty of Medicine, the largest publishing houses and the seats of art associations and unions.
Many international architects participated in it reconstruction. According to the idea of the Japanese urban planner Kenzo Tanga, the center was given a 'city wall' of high-rise buildings, while the banks of the Vardar were laid out as pleasant tree-lined promenades. The ancient trading quarter (charshija) has been completely renovated, but has preserved all the notable features of its original architecture. In this setting the old buildings of cultural and historical interest are seen to even better advantage. They include the Kale Fortress raised in the 6th century (its present appearance dates from the Turkish period), Daut-pasha's baths (15th c., now the Art Gallery), and Mustafa-pasha's mosque (15th c.).
Also to be found in Skopje are the Museum of Macedonia (Archaeological, Historical and Ethnological), the Museum of the City of Skopje , the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Natural History Museum and the Old Town Museum.The Gallery of the Cultural and Information Centre and the 'Osten' Gallery are also located here.
Stone bridge in 1909
MNT , The Macedonian National Theatre before the Earthquake of 1963
The Stone Bridge and the Kale Fortress,view behind.Built by the Turks on the site of a Roman bridge, the Stone Bridge has eleven arches and bears a plaque in the middle stating that it was restored by Sultan Murat II (first half of the 15th century).
Old Railway,before the Earthquake of 1963
The clock in the preserved ruins of the old railway station remained frozen at 5:17 am, the moment that the predawn earthquake turned Skopje into landfill.
The Goce Delchev Bridge (named by Macedonian hero Goce Delchev -died in 1903 in Banica, near Seres in Aegean Macedonia)
Vardar river and Stone Bridge,Skopje
St. Pantelejmon (1164),village of Nerezi,Mt.Vodno
Markov Manastir, Skopje, 14th century. The Construction of the monastery was initiated
by Volkashin 1345, King Marko's father, and finished by King Marko himself.
The Daut-Pasha's Amam with the Kale Fortress, the ancient bazaar, and Mustafa-pasha's mosque (15th Century) in the background.
Skopje Panorama of Skopje
picture 1 picture 2
The Woman's Park in the city-centre,Skopje
Fondest memory: Kale Fortress
Skopsko Kale has its own charm for the citizens of Skopje, as a peaceful place that stands out from the buzz of the city nearby. The Fortress was built of stone blocks from the ruins of the city of Skupi, during the rule of the Romanian Tsar Justinijan the First.
Come and see . I cant write nothing because I don’t have words to describe all human and nature beauties of this country and of Skopje. The Republic of Macedonia is a small country but is very rich in natural and human resources. It is located in the central part of the Balkan Peninsula, an exceptionally favorable geographical position. It lies between 400’50' and 420’20' north latitude and 20027’30' and 2300’5' east longitude. Many significant transport routes cross the country, connecting the countries of Central and Eastern Europe with the countries of the South and South-Eastern part of the continent and further to the countries of the Middle East and beyond.
Macedonians constitute the largest ethnic group in the country, while the most numerous ethnic minority groups are the Albanians, Turks and Serbs. The Republic of Macedonia is abundant in natural attractions, earning her the title of 'the pearl of the Balkans'. It has a great number of mountains, various types of dense forest, deep rivers and large lakes that make her potentially a great attraction for tourists.
The Republic of Macedonia is a real treasure of cultural riches. As a matter of fact, Macedonia was one of the foremost ancient civilizations, a fact which is not very well known around the world.
Macedonians settled here more than 4,500 years ago. Since that time, many civilizations and cultures have passed through the land, leaving traces of their presence.
The wealth of traditional folk art, architecture and customs reflect the rich material and spiritual culture of the Macedonian people that has been nurtured here for many centuries. The traditional handicrafts, that are still practiced here, take us back to past times.
The main political, administrative and cultural center is Skopje, with about 555,000 inhabitants. It was also a main center of the ancient Dardan Province because many important transport routes went through it, even at that time. Other large cities include Bitola, Prilep, Kumanovo, Tetovo and Ohrid.
The climate is mainly Mediterranean, continental in the centre of the country and Alpine in the mountains. The average air temperature is 11.30C, while the average summer temperature is 20.80C.
Fondest memory: Daut-Pashin amam
This project is one of the most prominent monuments of the Islamic profane architecture. The Turkish bath was built by the grand vizier of Rumelia, Daut Pasha in the XV century. In the first time it was used for the needs of its harem, and later it served as a public bath. Today, the Turkish bath is turned into an art gallery with a wide choice of Macedonian icons of the XIV to the XIX century, collective works of Macedonian artists- pictures, sculptures, graphics, and drawings and more recently in the rooms of the Turkish bath also concerts are held, promotions of books, theater performances with chamber orchestra etc.
On 2 kilometers north-west from Skopje, the aqueduct was built of stone and bricks with 55 arches supported on massive pillars. For the building of the aqueduct there were shared opinions in the science. According some scientists it was a Roman aqueduct whereas according to others it was a Bysantium building. The last scientific researches connect the building of the aqueduct with Isa bey, which means that it was built during the time of the Turkish rule and more precisely in XVI century
Monastery St. Panteleimon
The monastery is located on 8 km south-west from Skopje, in the village of Upper Nerezi. The monastery church devoted to St. Panteleimon was built in 1164. On the walls of this church a unique gallery of the master pieces of the Bysantium art is presented. Still what is a main subject of the scientific interest are the unrepeatable compositions 'Take Down From the Cross' and the 'Mourning of Christ'. In the monastery yard are the palaces surrounded with high walls, which are composed of one big, one smaller and a few auxiliary buildings.
Makes part of the House of ARM, the unique preserved monument in the new part of the city. The time when it was built and the one who built it are not known. Most probably it is a feudal tower of some Turkish bey. Today it is in good conditions.
Mustafa – Pasha mosque
In the vicinity of Kursumli-an, in the old part of the city this monument of the Islamic culture attracts the attention with its size and beauty. The mosque was built by Mustafa Pasha in 1519, the vizier of the Sultan Selim I. Particularly attractive part of this building is the tall minaret, made of cut stone, whereas the expanded part is decorated with ornaments.
St. Spas church
It was built in the beginning of the XVII or XVIII century, upon foundations on an older church. Part of the fresco painting on the southern side was found from this older church which origins from XVI century. In contrast to the modest outside appearance of the church, after one enters inside, he immediately becomes astonished in front of the beauty of the iconostasis on the eastern side. The iconostasis is 6 meters high and 10 meters long. On this space, the carving group managed to show numerous scenes from the bible, important geometrical ornaments and figures from the flora and the fauna.