Museum of Macedonia, Skopje
Officially this museum is called "Museum of the Macedonian struggle for sovereignty and independence - Museum of VMRO and Museum of the victims of the communist regime"...Really!
It was build for the prestigious Skopje 2014 project and opened September 2011.
As its ridiculously long name might give away, it tells the story of the Macedonian struggle for sovereignty and independence (etc).
This is mainly done in a Madame Tussaud-like style, with wax sculptures of all Macedonian revolutionaries you can think of. This is very nicely done in a huge building, with high ceilings and dimmed lights.
We got a tour by a guide whose English was very bad. If you would have no prior knowledge about the Macedonian history, it would have been impossible to follow the points he was trying to make. And you would expect that the purpose of this museum is to educate people on the very complicated Macedonian struggle for freedom.
The entrance fee for the museum was 300 denars (5 euros) in 2012, which is quite expensive for Macedonian standards, and you would expect that they would provide a good guide for that money.
But like with many things in Macedonia, the efforts quite quickly stop after the start. For instance, at the moment of writing, august 2012, there still is no website for the museum with something basic as opening times.
While impressive at first, after a while the wax sculptures became boring, especially in combination with the increasingly annoying guide who did not gave the group sufficient time to examine the items on display. He kept on yelling "Follow me please, follow me please", a sentence that he actually mastered very well.
Entrance 300 denars (5 euro) for foreigners, 100 denars (1.60 euro) for Macedonians, therefore also known as the Macedonian struggle to scare away tourists...
The Museum of Macedonia is situated in Carsija, the old part of Skopje north of the Stone Bridge. It is located between the Mustafa Pasha Mosque and the Kursumli An. Have a look at the pictures, if you do not know this is the museum you can easily miss it!
One of the highlights of the museum is a Neolithic statue of the Goddess of Fertility, known as the Great Mother (see the pictures).
Archeology: From the Paleolithic 10,000 BC to the 14th century AD
History: From settling of the Slavs in the 6th century to the end of Word War II
Ethnology: Exhibition of folk costumes, jewelery, traditional weaving architecture, textiles, crafts, economy, customs and traditional musical instruments.
Art history: Exhibition of fresco-replicas
Lapidarium: Exhibition of stone monuments in Kursumli An
Icon Gallery: Exhibition of most of the best icons in the country from 14th - 19th century
There is also an exhibition about Macedonia in WWII. Unfortunately, most if not all descriptions are in Macedonian only.
Admission is 50 Denars (less than 1 euro).
The Kursumli An (an old trading inn) is also part of the Museum of Macedonia, but it is usually locked, so ask to have it opened.
I find the museum very interesting, as it has several different sections and does not focus only on one subject. It is quite big, so take at least 2-3 hours to visit. Make sure you visit all the buildings!
There is a museum shop where you can buy replicas. There is also a museum shop in the Bey's Tower.
The museums are three in mumber: archeological, historical and enthnographical. I have visited all three parts. Here is their website: http://www.museummk.com/