Kameni Most - The Old Stone Bridge, Skopje
One of the most famous landmarks in Skopje is the Kameni Most, or Stone Bridge. It straddles the river in the middle of town close by Macedonia Square, and is something of a city icon, being featured on the town crest.
Apparently historians are divided as to how long there has been a bridge here, but it is certainly several hundred years.
I also found it interesting in that, crossing it, you pass from the new to the old, from the Westernised side of the city into the more Eastern influenced Moslem area. I thought it vaguely symbolic of much that is Skopje.
The Stone Bridge (Kameni Most) connects the old Turkish/Muslim part in the north of Skopje via Makedonija Square with the new center of Skopje, south of the river Vardar.
Some say there has been a bridge since the 6th century, however, the present Stone Bridge dates back to the 15th century, built under the orders of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II the Conquerer.
Kameni Most was originally built with stone pillar railings, used by the Turkish rulers of Skopje to spike the heads of those disloyal to Turkish rule.
Karpos was the leader of the peasant’s uprising in 1689 which took place in the region of Kriva Palanka and Kumanovo, where he fought against the Turks. Although successful at first, the uprising was smothered. Karpos was enslaved, gruesomely impaled on the bridge and afterwards thrown from the bridge into the River Vardar. A memorial stone for Karpos, "King of Kumanovo", can be found in the middle of the bridge.
For some time, a stone suitcase could be seen in the water next to the Stone Bridge, as a piece of art. At the moment (2011), the suitcase has been replaced by a statue of a girl diving into the river Vardar.
The stone bridge over the river Vardar was built in the 15th century, under the reign of Mehmet II, the Conqueror. Together with the bridge, the city acquired a caravanserai and baths. This shows how much importance the Ottoman rulers gave to travels, that in those times were mainly done for trades, and to the needs of travellers. The building of the old baths still exists and has been turned into a place for art exhibitions.
The structure which has come to symbolise Skopje is a piece of Ottoman construction that has dominated the city for over 500 years. Construction on the bridge over the Vardar River was begun in 1444 during the reign of Sultan Murad and completed in 1456 during the reign of Mehmed II the Conquerer. Although the 220 meter bridge with its 13 arches is immortalised in Ottoman archives as the bridge of Mehmed II the Conquerer, today it is referred to as the Stone Bridge. Two of the inscriptions on the bridge were lost during repairs and the bridge’s podium fell in 2002 but this was restored in 2008. Stone Bridge continues to shine like a necklace that complements the beauty of the Vardar River. Another aspect of the bridge is the fact that it connects the old and new sections of the city. The bridge is how travel between the old section of town with the bazaar and the new section of town with its modern buildings, shopping centers and embassies takes place, and every day it plays a major role in the Skopje commute of hundreds of people.
I'm quite a fan of old bridges, and this particular bridge has been restored recently, an impressive sight, arching its way across the Vardar River, linking modern Makedonija Square with the old Carsija district. When it isn't raining, tradesmen and women, mainly Roma so I'm told, gather to sell cigarettes, headscarves and nuts...I imagine more are present in summer. Our hosts at the hostel warned us about the men who perform tricks with matches and attract small crowds...something about pickpockets.
The earliest mention of the Bridge in the historic records is contained in the vakafnamata (records) of Isa - Beg's Aladza (Motley) Mosque, in 874 according to Hijra, i.e., 1469 A.D. Its master-builders are unknown.
The original shape of the Bridge consisted of 13 vaults with a total length of 329 local feet or 213.85 metres (one foot = 0.65m). The total width of the Bridge was 6.33 m. That was the Bridge as seen and described by the Venetian Giacoppo Soronze who, on his journey to Constantinople (1575), stayed in Skopje.
The Bridge was built of masterly and precisely aligned travertine blocks, jointed by iron rods, and strengthened by cast lead, chiseled stone and mortar applied inside the pillars. Some of them, for example the central pillar, which in the upper section ends with a decorative niche (a sentry box) similar to mihrab - in the interior have large rooms with double function, primarily to minimize the overloading of the pillar, and then to serve as a loophole. During its designing, also the decoration of the facades was taken into account, by using the renown ornamental elements (stalactites) of the Islamic secular and sacral architecture.
In the center of the bridge there is a memorial stone plaque dedicated to the Karposh, the leader of the uprising in XVII century, who was executed on the bridge in 1689.
Nowadays you can see stone suitcase in Vardar as a piece of art.
The Stone Bridge, dating back to the XV century, is the most prominent landmark of Skopje; the bridge connects the old and the new parts of the city (we can also say - Macedonian part with Albanian part of Skopje).
The bridge was built in first half of XV century, during Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic's ruling over Skopje (the Turkish period), and is dedicated to him.
The Kameni Most or Stone Bridge joins the old part of the city, Carsija, to Makedonia Plostad and the newer section of Skopje. It was built in the 17th century by Sultan Murat and withstood the 1963 earthquake that caused considerable damage elsewhere, including to the saat kula. The bridge is a beautiful example of Ottoman Engineering and is perfect for picture taking. Be careful if you go at night, however, as there is no end of gnats and mosquitoes. I thought I would scratch myself to death after going for a walk at about 10PM along the bridge.
Right in the center of the city is one of the city's most important icons: the old Stone Bridge. Originally built under Ottoman rule, in the 15th century, by Sultan Mehmed III the Conqueror, the bridge retains much of its old world charm despite repeated damage from wars and earthquakes. It's marred somewhat by the stench of urine, the beggars and the occasionally unfinished piece of restoration work (watch that you don't fall through the gaps in the bridge wall). The bridge spans the river Vardar at the center of the city, and looks fine from wherever you view it.
The old stone bridge connects the old with the new parts of the city. It is a low bridge, and only for walkers and the odd hectic dash of a moped or motorbike, so beware! There are a few stalls selling tourist bits and other items of low value. Charles Bridge this is not! The first bridge was bulit in the 15th Century... This brdge is more than stone and cement, but a hope of unity between two peoples in one city... Perhaps
According to certain data the bridge on the river vardar was built in the 6th century, whereas in its present form it was raised upon the old foundation in the time of the Sultan Murat II in the first half of the 15th century. It was built of well worked out stone blocks and has 12 semicircular arches. This monumental building has undergone larger repairs through the centuries, but today the bridge has still kept the primary shape and form.
The Stone Bridge is one of the "trade marks" of Skopje. I think that more or less everybody who has been there had brossed that bridge at least once. It links the Old town on the eastern side of the river with the more modern town on the western side.
Some facts and history:
The Stone Bridge spans the Vardar river is a bridge with twelve semi circular arches carved out of stone. The lower part of it is believed to have been built in the 6th century and it was enlarged during the 16th century.
The Kameni Most spans the Vardar river is a bridge with twelve semi circular arches carved out of stone. The lower part of it is believed to have been built in the 6th century and it was enlarged during the 16th century. Interestingly it links the Old town on the eastern side of the river with the more modern town on the western side - as does The Charles Bridge in Prague - with which it compares well.
According to certain data the bridge was built in the VI-th century, whereas in its present form it was raised upon the old foundation in the time of the Sultan Murat II in the first half of the XV century. It was built of well worked out stone blocks and has 12 semicircular arches. This monumental building has undergone larger repairs through the centuries, but today the bridge has still kept the primary shape and form.
Here are two views of the old stone bridge -- one from December 2001 and the other from July 2003. The eagle-eyed will note the guard stand on the bridge is still there in the winter picture!
Please click on the picture to see the details!