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Skopje

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Landmarks of Skopje

Skopje [1] is the capital of the Republic of Macedonia; it is in the Povardarie region, and is the largest and most diverse city in the country. Skopje has been occupied by many different peoples since its foundation. This is evidenced by the several Byzantine churches and monasteries around the city, also by a few Roman sites, such as Scupi and Skopje's Aqueduct. However, the group that left the greatest mark on Skopje were the Ottomans. The Ottomans ruled Macedonia for hundreds of years and built a large number of mosques and other buildings.

Today, Skopje is becoming a modern city. Home to about quarter of the entire population of the country, it is also home to many different types of people. Besides the majority Macedonians, many Albanians, Turks, Roma, Serbs, Bosniaks and others call Skopje home.

Understand

Skopje is the financial and political center of Macedonia and by far its biggest city. The city population is around 660,000, however unofficially during working-days it can almost reach 1 million, which is half of the population of the county.

The 26th of July 1963 is one of the worst dates in the history of Skopje. An earthquake struck the city at 5:17AM. 75% of the buildings in the city disappeared in just a few seconds. After that, the big rebuilding project began, trying to make Skopje the model city of the socialist world. The plan was drawn by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, who also designed the new railway station. The plan was never fully carried out. Lately many reconstruction projects have started. Some towers of Kale Fortress and the old cathedral are being reconstructed, and the old theater is also under reconstruction. Skopje is an eclectic mix of Christian and Islamic culture, with both vying to make themselves visible. However, this cultural mix has also spawned a lively and varied society, you can see people playing chess in the morning in the numerous cafés and green spaces in the summer. In the evening, Skopje comes to life as the locals dine in the cafés before heading to the bars and live music clubs, most of which are open until 1AM or later.

History

Apart from being the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, Skopje has always been a center of power long coveted by various empires.The city founded by the Paeonians in the 3rd century B.C.E. under the name of ‘Skupi’ was prized for its strategic location, in a long valley between two hills, situated on the banks of the Vardar River, a vital trade route. Under the Romans, Skopje was made administrative center of the Dardanian Province. The city’s prestige grew when the Orthodox Church made it an episcopal seat during the early Byzantine Empire. The arrival of migrating Slavic tribes from the Carpathians in the 6th century C.E. changed both the city’s name and the composition of its people were assimilated by the Slavic newcomers. Throughout the remaining Byzantine centuries, Skopje continued to be an important mercantile center, situated as it was at the crossroads of Balkan trade and communications routes. It was celebrated for its urban life and fortress, and renowned for having the most beautiful church in the region. In 14th century, Skopje became the capital of the Empire of, which was one of the largest and strongest countries in Europe during that period. At the very end of the 14th century, Skopje and all of Macedonia fell under the rule of the Ottoman Turks. In the ensuing centuries, the look of the town changed with the construction of many mosques, Turkish baths, bridges, and other buildings attesting to the new Oriental influence. Today, the Ottoman legacy remains extremely visible in Skopje’s architecture and small Islamic minority. After Macedonia was liberated from the Turks in the early 20th century, became a part of Kingdom of Serbia, then it became a republic of the Yugoslav Federation, with Skopje as the capital. At that time, the prosperous city boasted many ornate, Neoclassical buildings laid out harmoniously in a more or less Central European style. However, in 1963 a disastrous earthquake leveled much of the regal old city, and Skopje was reborn in the imaginative, futuristic style in vogue at the time. Today, Skopje is a modern city and Macedonia’s major political, economical, educational, and cultural center.

Get in

By plane

Skopje's airport, Skopje "Alexander the Great" Airport [2] (IATA: SKP) is located 20 km southeast of Skopje. The cities that are connected to Skopje are: Eindhoven, Ljubljana, Vienna, Sofia (seasonal), Zagreb, Bergamo, Prague, Zurich, Belgrade, Dusseldorf, Istanbul, Venice - Treviso, Malmo, Dortmund, London - Luton and Dubai. The airlines that serve Skopje are: Adria Airways, Austrian Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Czech Airlines, Helvetic Airways, Edelweiss Air, Jat Airways, Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, Wizz Air, FlyDubai and soon MAT Airways will publish its flights to some European cities. The airport is accessed by the main highway Belgrade-Skopje-Thessaloniki which connects it directly with the city.

From the new terminal, in addition to new destinations, amenities and capacity, there are buses running into Skopje operated by Vardar Ekspres transport company. As of March 2012 a bus timetable is listed on the airport website [3]. Cost one-way from airport to Skopje is 150MKD. From the city center, the bus departs from the Hotel Alexander Palace, Holiday Inn, Bus Station and Continental Hotel. The travel takes about 40 minutes. For precise times, best to inquire at the Vardar Ekspress Office that is in the parking lot in front of the Holiday Inn or at the their office in the bus station. Alternative methods include hailing a taxi (approximately €15 - 25 to centre), or arranging private hire beforehand for a lower price.

By train

Daily trains run between Skopje and Belgrade (Serbia) (9 hours). As of 14 July 2012 there is also one weekly service to and from Thessalonika (Greece), although this is only scheduled to run until 30 September 2012 and it fails to connect with the Belgrade train.

The transport center includes the train and the bus station together. They are located east of the city centre near the National Central Bank. To get to the city centre from the bus/train station, if you don't have a map, walk west along the main road which passes under the station (Mt Vodno with its cross is south, ie. on your left). When you get to the river go left and follow the river until you arrive at the old bridge and central square. About 15 minutes walk.

By bus

There are daily buses to Skopje from Sofia and Pristina leaving several times per day between 6AM and 5PM, daily. Buses from Prizren leave at 5:30AM and 9AM and take 2-3 hours depending on border crossing. From Belgrade, Thessaloniki (Mon. and Wed. only), Istanbul, Zagreb, Austria, Germany, Dubrovnik, Tirana, and Podgorica. The buses arrive in the bus station which is below the train station. All the domestic and international buses arrive in the bus station. It is a new bus station and very modern [4], tel. (+389) (2) 246 60 11 (speaking english)

If you wish to travel to Skopje from Sofia, there are 5 buses a day. Matpu 96 which can be found in near to the Sofia Central Bus Station has buses at 07:00, 09:30, 16:00, 19:00, and 00:00. The cost of a ticket is approximately 30 Lev (15 euros) but they accept euros too. The journey will take around 6 hours and will also include a time zone change from Sofia (GMT + 2) to Skopje (GMT + 1 or Central European Time), so the 16:00 bus will arrive at Skopje Bus Station at approximately 21:00. The website of the bus company is available in English - [5]

Bus from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia

Eurobus is an international coach operator based in Macedonia that has almost daily tours from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Slovenia. Prices from 70€ and possible to get student discount. The website of the bus company is available in German - [6]

Get around

By taxi

Taking a taxi in Skopje should normally not cost more than 300 MKD. An example journey is from City Centre to Biser (a shopping centre with many bars and cafes that is popular with young people) which should take about 5 - 10 mins and cost around 150 Denars (MKD).

From the train station to the center of the city is 2km and should cost 50 MKD. Never let yourself be talked into going somewhere where you did not plan to go in the first place. Like many cities in Europe, if you seem unsure and foreign, the charge will probably be higher so appear confident about the price and if the taxi driver still insists on a ridiculous price, find another taxi, there are plenty.

See

The Warriror on a horse
  • Warrior on a Horse. Perhaps the main symbol of Skopje is the Warrior on a Horse (Macedonian: Воин на коњ) statue and fountain in the centre of Macedonia Square. It is typically thought to depict Alexander the Great, though it is not officially named for him. The monument was built in Florence and was officially completed on September 8, 2011 to commemorate 20 years of the independence of the Republic of Macedonia. The bronze sculpture is 14.5 m (47.6 ft) tall and it sits on a cylindrical column, which itself is 10 m (32.8 ft) in height. The column consists of three large ivory sections, each separated by a thinner bronze ring. Each section contains reliefs. The column stands in a fountain. At the base of the column are 8 bronze soldiers, each 3 m (9.8 ft) tall. There are also 8 bronze lions, each 2.5 m (8.3 ft) tall, around the edges of the fountain pool, four of which act as part of the fountain, releasing water from their mouths. The fountain also plays music.
Part of Kale fortress
  • Kale Fortress. The Kale Fortress stands on the highest hill in the Skopje valley and offers great views over the city. The oldest section of the fortress is within the present day fortifications. It is 121m long and is built in opus qvadrum style (huge stone blocks on the outside and small stones inside) by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian who was born in the village of Taorion near Skopje. After the great earthquake of 518 when ancient Skupi was destroyed, Justinian decided to do something for his birth town and built Justinijana Prima on the site of present day Skopje. Unfortunately no major archaeological work has been done for discovering the remains of Justinijana Prima. Most of the present day fortifications originate from the 10th century (the square tower) and 13th century (the round tower). It was reinforced during the Turkish rule when the number of towers was up to 70 (today there are just 3 standing) and the fortress went down to river Vardar and up on the hill where today the Museum of Conteporary Art stands. The small gate from the side of the old bazaar is the only gate still standing and it was built in 1446. The fortress was badly damaged in the fire in 1689 and even more during the earthquake of 1963.
the Stone Bridge
  • Stone Bridge. The Stone Bridge was built in the 6th century by the Byzantine emperor Justinian. Since then it has been the symbol of the city and every ruler tried to leave a mark on it, even Skopje's last major who has been restoring it for 10 years now. The biggest reconstruction of the bridge was made in the second half of the 15th century by Sultan Mehmed II. The stone fence and guard tower were added then. Unfortunately the guard tower fell down during the most recent restoration and is waiting to be reconstructed. It still is the main connection of the main square and the old bazaar. While walking over it try to notice the 6th century big stone bloks. The bridge has 13 arches and is 214m long.
Porta Macedonia at night
  • Porta Macedonia. Porta Macedonia (Macedonian: Порта Македонија) is a triumphal arch located on Pella Square. The arch is dedicated to 20 years of Macedonian independence and its outer surface is covered in 193 m2 of reliefs carved in marble, depicting scenes from the history of Macedonia. It also contains interior rooms, one of which has a function of state-owned souvenir shop, as well as elevators and stairs providing public access to the roof, allegedly intended as space for weddings.
  • Macedonia Square. Even though most of the interesting sights are on the other side of the Stone Bridge, there are couple of interesting sights around Macedonia Square. The square has changed a lot after the earthquake, most of the neoclassical buildings are gone except for a small section of houses in the center. Some more are on Maksim Gorki street and around (look for the Italian Embassy and the Arabian House Hotel). From the main square when you turn to enter the shopping mall look for a marked place. This is the place where the house of Mother Theresa used to stand. She was born in this house and lived here until she turned 18 when she left first for Ireland and then for India. Several statues of Macedonian revolutionary figures can also be seen, such as Goce Delcev Dame Gruev in addition to older figures such as Tsar Samuil and Justinian the First. By far the most impressive stature is that of Alexander the Great, standing at some 26m in height.
  • Parliament Building, (Parliament Building). Built in 1933 by Viktor Hudak in modernistic style.
  • City Hospital, (diagonal from the Parliament Building). Built in 1931 by the Croatian architect Drago Ibler and is the most beautiful example of modern architecture in Skopje.
  • Feudal Tower, (Back on the main square, take Macedonia Street leading towards the Old Railway Station. The street has a couple of nice cafes. Right after you pass the crossroad look left to see the Feudal Tower.). It is not known when was it built or what its purpose was. It probably served as a defence tower on a property of a Turkish aristocrat. Today it serves as a souvenir shop and you can enter and see it from the inside. Right in front of it on the site of the old catholic church (destroyed in the earthquake) there is a monument to Mother Theresa.


  • Double Hamam. The Double Hamam was built in the middle of the 15th century by Isa beg. It was used as both male and female bath, but unlike Daut Pasha Hamam where both parts go parallel to each other, here the heating room is in the middle and the entrances are on the opposite sides. Today is used as a gallery for temporary exhibits.
  • Bedesten. The most precious goods, like silk, spices, jewelry and perfumes, were sold in the bedesten, an object within the old bazaar, with gates which were closed in the evenings so the goods would be protected. Evlija Celebija who visited Skopje during the 17th century wrote that the only bigger and more beautiful bedesten from the one in Skopje was the one in Damascus. It was covered with 12 valutes and it held a whole bazaar inside. Unfortunately that bedesten disappeared in the fire of 1689. After the fire Skopje became much smaller and lost its importance as a trading center, so somewhere in the beginning of the 17th century the present bedesten was built. It is small and it is not even covered, but it still has a lot of atmosphere in it. It has just 5 short streets, small shops and four gates. In the past it was covered with wine grape, so it would protect the shoppers from the sun and the rain.
  • Clock Tower. Every bazaar in Macedonia has a clock tower, as muslims had to close their stores five times a day to attend prayer. Working hours were introduced in the old bazaar, and nobody had a chance to work and earn more than the other, so the clock towers were built. Skopje’s clock tower is the first one ever to be built in the Ottoman Empire, which show us the importance of Skopje as a trading center. It was built during 1566-72. It has more Islamic appearance than the other clock towers in Macedonia. The clock on the clock tower was brought from Szeged, Hungary. Unfortunately the clock disappeared during the chaos after the earthquake and today is in a clock museum in Switzerland.
  • Bey's Tower. A 14m high residential tower from the 17th century, this is the oldest building in Centar Municipality (central Skopje). Built for defense, with 1.5m thick walls, a high door and small windows on the lower floors, the tower would protect the family living here against all attackers. In the tower are the Mother Teresa memorial and the National Museum shop. The square in front of the tower was the location of the small catholic Church, which was destroyed in 1963.
  • City Park. a large green area in the center of Skopje. A part of it is a museum, with several monuments within. It is a nice place to go for recreation, as there are pathways around the small lakes, tennis courts, the children’s amusement park, cafes, restaurants, etc. The city Zoo and stadium are also within the park. In the summer, the Skopje's nightlife concentrates on the several nightclubs in this park.
  • Daut Pasha Hamam. Daut Pasha was the grand vesir of East Rumelia in the second half of the 15th century. He was based in Skopje and the legend goes that he built the hamam (turkish bath) for the needs of his harem. Before he left, he donated the hamam to the city. It was a double bath both for males and females (who bathed separately of course), the male and the female part going parallel next to each other. The two big domes in the front covered the two dressing rooms, which had water fountains in the middle. Each of the small domes covered a separate room for bathing. The heating room was on the end. Today the bath serves as a national gallery with a great collection of late 19 and 20 century art, and even if you are not interested in the art, you should go inside to see the elaborate decorations of the domes.
Skopje's Aqueduct
  • Aqueduct, (On the exit of Skopje towards [[Kosovo]], right before the village of Vizbegovo. Turn right at the first traffic signal you encounter on the road to Kosovo (you can only turn right). Turn right again immediately at the first opportunity. The pavement ends abruptly. Follow the unpaved road to the left that runs alongside the canal. After about 300 meters, you will see the aqueduct in front of you.). It is still not known when it was built. Many people claim it is from Roman times but it goes opposite of Skupi so that theory doesn’t make much sense. It was probably built during Byzantine times and it is sure that it was still used during Turkish times when it provided water for the public baths. 55 stone arches of the Aqueduct are still standing.



Ottoman inns

Suli An & Mustafa Pasha Mosque in the old bazaar
  • Kapan Han. One of the three remaining Ottoman caravanserais still standing in the old bazaar. The ground floor used to house the horses and the goods of the merchants that visited the bazaar and the city, while on the first floor were the rooms where the people slept. The han was built in the 15th century. Today it houses a nice restaurant.
  • Suli Han. An Ottoman caravanserai built in the first half of the 15th century by Ishak beg. It was badly damaged during 1963 earthquake and today it houses the arts faculty of Skopje University. It also houses the Old Bazaar Museum.
  • Kurshumli Han. The "Lead Inn" is the largest and the most beautiful of the three remaining Ottoman caravanserais. It was built in 1550 by Mula Musledin Hodza, son of Abdul Gani scientist on the court of Sultan Selikm II. Both the ground and the first floor are made of stone and beautiful arches line the courtyard. The han has two courtyards, the second one was used to house the horses and the goods of the merchants and the guests, while the rooms around the first courtyard both on the ground and the first floor housed the guests. There is a water fountain in the middle of the first courtyard. The roof was covered with lead, and that is how the an got its name (lead is used for making bullets, and bullet is called kurshum in Turkish). Next to the han is where a mosque and a hammam (Turkish bath) used to stand, they both suffered in the big fire of 1689 and the earthquake of 1963, so today the mosque is gone and the amam stands in ruins. Today the Kurshumli Han is on the grounds of the Macedonian National Museum and houses the lapydarium.

Museums

Archeological Museum of Macedonia
  • Museum of Archaeology. The Museum of Archaeology began construction in 2009 and is still undergoing construction. Although the building will primarily serve as a museum, it will also house the Constitutional Court and the National Archive of the Republic of Macedonia. It is situated on the eastern bank of the Vardar, across the river from Macedonia Square. The exterior of the museum is complete, as of June 2012, and is among the more monumental buildings in Skopje, with its Greek Revival architecture.
  • Old Railway Station – Skopje City Museum. The Old Railway Station stands half ruined as a monument to the earthquake of 1963. It was built in 1938 by Velimir Gavrilovik in a modern style with Byzantine decoration. Today it houses an exhibition gallery and a small city museum (it can be a good substitute if you don’t have time for the National Museum).
  • Museum of Contemporary Art. Has a collection of 4,800 artworks, out of which 1,760 are gifts from artists from 61 countries, including Picasso, Aleshinski, Leze, Sulaz, Lui Can, Hartung, Gaitis, Buri, Millares, Kemeni, Kalder, Vasarely, and others. All these artists donated their works to the city after the earthquake in 1963 for the new art museum. The building itself is a gift from Poland. Around 1,600 works are from Macedonian artists. With all of this Skopje actually has the most complete and biggest collection of contemporary art in Southeastern Europe. Unfortunately because the building badly needs repairs just parts of the collection are periodcaly on display.
The Museum of the Macedonian Struggle
  • Museum of the Macedonian Struggle. is a national museum of the Republic of Macedonia located in the capital city of Skopje. Construction of the museum began June 11th 2008 and it was opened to the public on the 20th anniversary of the declaration of independence on September 8th, 2011. The building is located between the Museum of Archeology (under construction), the Holocaust Museum of Macedonia, the Stone Bridge and the Vardar River. The exhibit covers the fight for Macedonian statehood from the days of the Hajduks against the Turkish occupation during the Ottoman Empire until the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia on 8th September 1991. The guided tours take the visitors through 13 exhibits ending in front of the original copy of the 1991 Declaration of Independence. There ıs also a Museum of the Makedonian Struggle in Thessaloniki, so it is a very good chance to listen to different opinions about Macedonia.
  • Natural Science Museum, (within the zoo). made by Stanko Karaman in the 1920s. Here you can see the petrographic-mineralogy exhibition, botanical exhibition, palaeontology exhibition, entomological exhibition, and vertebrates’ exhibition, exhibition of indigenous fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and animals. The museum is one of the richest in the Balkans with palaeontology materials of fauna from the Pickering region.
  • Macedonian National Museum & Icon Gallery. Divided in three departments: Archeological, Historical, and Ethnological (the same ticket covers them all). It is highly advise to visit the eyhnological section, since it is a very good one. It has about 70 original national costumes from different parts of Macedonia, all decorated with highly stylised patterns. Look for the wedding dress from Mariovo, it is 40 kg heavy, and the wig that the bride had to wear for a month after the wedding as a symbol of her virginity. Also different customs are explained, and there is also a good presentation of traditional architecture through models and photographs. The archaeological section has a rich collection of objects from the neolithic times 5000 years B.C. up to the 7th century. Unfortunately many artifacts have been taken to Belgrade or Sofia through the years and they have never been returned. The highlights are the Tetovo Menada figurine (from the 6th c. BC) and the prehistoric figurines of the Great Mother. Unique are the 6th century terracotta icons from Vinica (icons like this have been found only in Tunisia and Macedonia). The historic department is not as interesting, but also presented here are copies of the best frescoes from all around Macedonia (which is good if one is interested in Byzantine art but doesn't have time to travel around). The gallery of icons is also here, it has icons from the 10th to the 19th century, and even some of them are the best ones from Macedonia (including the Bogorodica Pelagonitisa), but the Ohrid collection is still much nicer and more valuable.

Churches

  • St. Bogorodica. This church was built in 1835 and was the cathedral church in Skopje. It was also known as the protector of the city. The iconostatis was finished in 1842. On April 7th, 1944 the cathedral church, was burned down by fascists. The entire iconostasis was burned, while important subjects were stolen. It's located on the Krste Misirkov bvd., opposite of the Macedonian Academy of Science and Art (MANU).
  • St. Kliment of Ohrid Cathedral. After Virgin Mary Cathedral was burned by the fascists on the end of WWII, and St. Dimitrie church was unable to meet the needs of the people, building of the new cathedral started in 1970. The architect is Slavko Brezovski, and it is a bold and contemporary interpretation of Orthodox architecture. The Jesus Pantocrator fresco painted in the main dome covers area of 70sqm and his eye is 1.5m long.
  • St. Saviour Church, (Just a few steps below Mustafa Pasha mosque). The church is tiny and it has a pleasant courtyard. In the courtyard is the grave of Macedonia's greatest national hero who was leader of the national movement for liberation from the Turks, and Macedonian independence, Goce Delchev. There is a small museum about him in the buildings around the courtyard (you have to enter the museum to buy a ticket for the church). Among the paving of the courtyard there are some 18th and 19th century gravestones. Turks didn’t allow building of new churches during their occupation, but as the empire was weakening in the 18th century they started giving permits for building of churches to keep the population happy. There were many rules to be followed like the exterior had to be without decorations and the floor of the church had to be at least one meter below the ground so the church wouldn’t dominate the skyline of the city. St. Saviour Church is example of one of these churches. It was built in the beginning of 19th century on the site of a church destroyed in the 1689 fire (as you enter, turn right to see remains of the frescoes and the level of the earlier church). The church is famous for its interior and wood carving. The iconscreen is work of Petre Filipovski Garkata and Marko and Makarie Frckovski, the best wood artists in the 19th century in Macedonia. In 1926 a British museum offered a blank check for the iconscreen, the state to fill in the amount if they decide to sell it. The beauty of it is that it is a deep wood carving from whole wood boards (the figures are not attached to eachother), and it is not covered with golden paint, as it is tradition in Orthodox churches so the game of light and dark shades is quite dramatic (the doors into the altar and the cross on the top are covered with gold paint, so you can compare). The iconscreen was made from 1819 to 1824 and is 10 meters long and 7 meters high. There are scenes from the old and the new testament. The figurines are 7 cm tall. Look for the creation of Adam and Eve on one of the columns next to the doors of the altar and the dance of Salome, where she dances for king Irod so he would give her the head of St.John the Baptist (she is dressed in traditional a dress from Galichnik). All around there are flowers and animals typical for the region presented. On the far right look for the self-portrait of the artists presented as they are working on the iconscreen. The icons are some of the best of the Byzantine revival.
Mother Teresa House
  • Mother Teresa House, Ulica Makedonija (Macedonia Street), not far from the City Museum. Mother Teresa was born and lived in Skopje until she was 18. The original house is no longer present, but there is a beautiful and tranquil modern chapel and interpretive centre on the site.

Mosques

  • Mustafa Pasha Mosque. Stands on a plateau above the old bazaar and is one of the most beautiful Islamic buildings in Macedonia. It was built in 1492 by Mustafa Pasha, vesir on the court of Sultan Selim I. The mosque is quite elegant and intact, and no additions have been made through the years. The interior is beautiful, simple, and spacious. Take few steps back to observe the game of the domes of the fountain, the porch, and the mosque. In the turbe next to the mosque, the daughter of Mustafa Pasha is buried. The mosque has a pleasant rose garden and it offers fine views over the bazaar. Free entrance.
  • Sultan Murat Mosque, 077 633 267. The biggest mosque in the Balkans. It was built with money donated by the Sultan himself and when ever adjustments or repairs were needed it was his responsibility (Sultan Suleiman the Great donated money for the repairs after the fire of 1537, and Sultan Ahmet III for the repairs after the fire of 1689). It was built in 1436. The unusual 3 naved basilica shape and the flat ceiling (instead of domes) comes from the fact that it was built (or adjusted) over St. George monastery, the main monastery in Skopje before the coming of the Turks. It stands on a plateau next to the clock tower (built 1566). The fortifications of the monastery still stand around the plateau. The main architect of the mosque was Husein from Debar. The imam Liman Ismail likes to introduce the mosque to visitors (in English, Turkish) against a donation for the mosque.
  • Ishak beg Mosque, (on the end of Bit Pazar). built in 1438 by Ishak beg, a commander in the Turkish army. He led the army that conquered Macedonia and after he retired he settled in Skopje. The mosque was beautifully decorated with glazed tiles in different shades of blue, but it suffered greatly during the fire of 1689, and was rebuilt afterwards without the tile decorations. The six sided turbe (mausoleum) that stands next to the mosque didn’t suffer in the fire and it still has its tiles. The turbe was built just for the aristocracy, usually for the one who donated the money for the mosque to be built or for members of his family, but Ishak beg was so grateful to his accountant that he built this turbe for him.
  • Isa beg Mosque. Built in 1475 by Isa beg. It is the only seljuk mosque in Europe. The difference of this mosque is that it has two main domes (two joined rooms). It has a 5 domed porch. The mosque is situated behind the Čair Hospital across the street from Bit Pazar.
  • Jahja Pasha Mosque, (in the beginning of Čair quarter close to the Bit Pazar.). Built in 1504 by Jahja Pasha, a commander in the Turkish army and son in law of Sultan Bajazit II and vesir on his court. The mosque is interesting because the roof is in the shape of a pyramid instead of the usual dome. The minaret is the tallest one in Skopje, it is 50 meters tall, and has been hit by a lighting twice.

Do

Monument of the Defenders of Macedonia
  • Explore Matka Canyon, (twenty minutes outside of Skopje). Features a lake and a hydrodam. Climbers enjoy a variety of tours of varying difficulty there. If you go don't miss the restaurant "Bear's Cave" (in Macedonian: Mechkina dupka) near the kayak trail which is built into a cave.
  • Kadina Reka Hunting Site, (25 km from Skopje, On the mountain massif of Mountain Karadjica, part of Mountain Jakupica, Dautica and Aliagica). 21.100 Hectare area. The relief of the mountain massifs in the hunting area is characterized with heterogeneousness and significant differences in altitude of 2240 m, which enables zonal distribution of the game.
  • Macedonian National Theatre. Built in 1945. With its big white walls, and almost without windows and with an incline, it is known as "the bounce board." It was made by Stefan Kacin, Jurij Princes, Bogdan Splindler, and Marjan Urshic. The theatre has a large stage and seats for 850 spectators, and also a small stage for 200 spectators. The State Ballet is also stationed in this building. This theatre holds theatre, opera, and ballet performances all year round.
  • Climb Vodno Mountain, (the largest mountain to the south of Skopje). Climbing this mountain will give the best views of the city and the valley which Skopje is in. You will also be able to see close up and possibly also climb the Millenium Cross, the largest Christian cross in the world, built to celebrate 2000 years of Christianity. You will also be able to see a monument dedicated to the Macedonian partisan fighters who defeated Axis forces that were stationed on Vodno, which allowed the liberation of Skopje to begin. There is a public bus going to the middle of the mountain and from there a cable car goes all the way to the top of the mountain.

Events

  • Skopje Summer Festival. The epithets such as the most abundant, the most various, the longest and, according to many authorized marks, one of the most qualitative cultural manifestation of international character which is held in Macedonia, characterize Skopje Summer. This manifestation has even received an acknowledgement of its reputation outside the Macedonian borders which is verified by the membership of the International Festivals & Events Association - IFEA.
  • Offest, [8]. This festival takes place on several locations in Skopje, such as the Universal Hall, Skopje Square, the Youth Cultural Center, and many attractive night clubs in the city. June.
  • Skopje Jazz Festival, [9]. For one week every October, Skopje hosts eminent jazz musicians from all over the world. The Skopje Jazz Festival is considered to be one of the best of its kind in Europe. October.
  • May Opera Evenings. The May Opera Evenings have been one of the most visited events in Skopje. Over the years, the stage of the Macedonian Ballet and Opera Theatre has hosted a number of ballet performances, operas, and many concerts. This event represents a true professional challenge for the artists and a wonderful musical experience for the audience.
  • Autumn Music. November. Organized to enrich the music life with its genres and themes in accordance to its conception and to provide another place for the performances of the native and foreign artist. There is the classical music as a base of this manifestation's programme, yet it always leaves space for the other types of music genres such as jazz, popular song, ethno music etc.
  • VINO SKOP - Skopje Wine Festival. October. Wine tasting, vineyard visits, live musical entertainment from international artists in the heart of the city.
  • BuskerFest, [10]. May/June for 10 days. Street performers Festival. Tours Macedonian cities, as well as Budva, Montenegro and Sibenik, Croatia.
  • PIVOLEND. August/September. Gourmet weekend with beer.
  • Vasilica (New Year). 14th January. Celebrated in the home.
  • Herdelezi / Djurdjevden. 8th of May. Spring festival celebrated at home and in public. Usually crowned by a great open air concert. After Herdelezi the wedding season begins. Almost every day you can meet a wedding procession or a procession accompanying the gifts for the bride.

Learn

  • Ss. Cyril and Methodius University - The Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje was founded in 1949 consisting three faculties and today it represents a family of twenty-three faculties, ten institutes and other institutions. The present structure of the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University can be illustrated with the following figures: over 36,000 students from the Republic of Macedonia as well as over 700 foreign students are enrolled at all faculties; over 2,300 teaching and scientific staff and associates are engaged in the teaching, educational and scientific process at the faculties and over 300 at the institutes.
  • University American College Skopje - an institution for higher education that combines American and European methods.

Buy

Statue of Alexander the Great on Macedonia square

Shopping centers and markets

  • Old Bazaar. Even though some parts of the old bazaar have been destroyed to make streets and parking lots, it still is the largest one in the Balkans. It has developed and changed during the centuries but it still has its original use as a shopping place. The old bazaar was never used for living, it always was a shopping area and contact zone of the Christian and the Muslim population as they lived in separate parts of the town. It is a structure of many streets lined with small shops. The crafts were divided between the Christians and the Muslims. All the shops used to be same size no matter if they belonged to a Christian or a Muslim. Each street hosted different craft, and all stores from that craft were on one street (for example gold street, shoes street, pots street, dress street, etc). The stores were closed with wooden shutters which were lowered when the stores were opened and the goods were displayed on them. The old bazaar was surrounded with markets. Hygienic care was taken and different markets were placed on opposite sides of the bazaar (for example the food market was on the opposite side of the bazaar from the animal market; milk, milk products and honey market opposite from the wood market etc). Beside the stores there were other objects in the old bazaar too, like amams (Turkish baths), hans (hotels), mosques, and some churches. The outside walls were usually were surrounded with stores so no space would be wasted. Even today it is hard to spot some of this object.
  • Bit Pazar. the biggest of the food markets in Skopje. It begins where the bazaar ends and has existed on the same spot for hundreds of years. A walk around can be fun, but you can also get cheap fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, cheese, teas, spices and flowers. Another good food market to visit is the Green Market (Zeleno Pazarce), near the Parliment Building and Bunjakovec Market near the Cathedral.
  • GTC. the biggest shopping center in the city. It was made in the 1970s by Zivko Popovski. It includes cafes, restaurants, bars, banks, shops,and even has a bowling court.
  • Ramstore Mall. if you are looking for an American looking mall, this is where you'll want to go. It has shops, restaurants, cafes and cinema.
  • Super VERO, Boulevard Kuzman Josifovski - Pitu. Another American-looking mall recently completed and part of the VERO network. Very spacious with a huge supermarket, a few restaurants and cafes, the huge Jumbo shop (Target-like), and all kinds of small shops for clothing, accessories, T-Mobile/T-Home, ONE and VIP salons etc. It has good parking.
  • Biser. A new shopping center with very nice cafes, bar, and shops. It can be found in the Aerodrom municipality of Skopje. Many young people from the city come to spend their extra time here. Shops include mobile phones, electronics, clothes and banks. There is also a supermarket across the street.
  • Bunjakovec. this is one of the malls were everybody can find something to buy. It is in one of the busiest thoroughfares in Skopje. In includes many shops and boutiques.
  • City Gallery. New shopping center in Skopje with lots of high quality fashion stores and very interesting structure, like a labyrinth

Eat

Macedonia’s capital offers something to satisfy all modern tastes and appetites. Make sure to try the famous Macedonian foods such as burek, Shopska Salata, and others.

Skopje’s eateries are plentiful and offer a diverse range of local and international flavors. International cuisine is well represented in Skopje with Chinese, Italian, Indian, Greek, Mexican, Middle Eastern and French restaurants all found within the city center. In addition, pizza and fast food places abound, as do small bakery cafes selling pastries such as the ubiquitous burek (a flaky filo pie stuffed with meat, cheese or spinach).


  • Skopje City Mall, Partizanska. 10AM-10PM

Budget

  • There are many local bakeries all around the city where many Macedonians have breakfast and snacks. Salty pastries are the dominant offer and they are usually combined with plain yogurt.
  • Alo Alo Pizza, GTC Shopping Center, Kej 13 Noemvri, +389 2 3220 976. Hand tossed pizza. Fresh out of oven.
  • Enriko Pizza, Leptokarija Shopping Center, +389 2 3061 273. The menu includes the most delicious, Italian specialties, pizzas, pasta, pizza sandwich etc.
  • Makedonska Kuka, City Park nearby Stadium, +389 3 216016.
  • Picerija KID, Kisela Voda, Sava Kovacevic 47v lokal 11, +389 77 894 656 (). 8AM-12PM. Hand tossed pizza. Fresh out of oven.

Mid-range

  • Ezerce, +389 3122-389.
  • Gino Italian Restaurant, +389 3121-109.
  • Restaurant Ekskluziv, Narodni Heroi bb (Kisela Voda, near sports hall Rasadnik), +389 2 2777 090 (), [11]. a short distance from the center of the city center where you can find really tasty traditional food and enjoy in the modern ambience. The restaurant also has a large hall which is perfect for larger gatherings and cocktail parties. (41.977502,21.445688)
  • Restaurant 14, (Taftalidze, near the green market), +389 3076-411. a few minutes drive away from the center of the city. Beside the traditional Macedonian food, macrobiotic and vegetarian dishes are available for the guests.
  • Kibo, T.C.C. Paloma Bjanka, +389 2 3133 535. Different, mixed salads at your choice, self service.
  • Mirko 919, Gavriv Konstantinovic 76 (5 km from the center of Skopje), +389 2 2439 157. Range of specialties such barbecue, seafood, game fish. Try the 'Dojran crap' (meaning 'carp'), as well as roast meat, frog legs etc.
  • Harmonija, T.C. Skopjanka no.37, +389 2 2460 985. Restaurant for macrobiotic, vegetarian, and dietetic food. Food is prepared without gluten as well as specific seminars for alleviation of particular health problems.
  • Zanzibar Pizza, Str.Atinska no. 21, +389 2 30 60 506. The only place where you can find pizzas made by the recipes of old Italian chefs spiced with lite jazz motives.
  • Pivnica An, within the Kapan An in the old town. The name is literally translated as "Beerhouse", but this is not a pub! It is one of the few places where you can get a few vegetarian options. Try their delicious "Turli Tava", a rich vegetable casserole.

Splurge

  • Akord, Str. Ankarska 21, +389 2 30 62 614. Bright, modern, colorful atmosphere
  • Balkanika, Oktomvriska revolucija 24 (across h. Aleksandar Palace), +389 2 3073 713; +389 2 3073 712. Ethnic food from Turks, Serbs, Albanians, Bulgarians, Vlaches, Greeks, Gypsies, Bosnians.
  • Den I Nok (Day and Night), Str. Skupi bb, +389 2 3092 922; +389 2 3095 666 (), [12]. Club restaurant. Piano sounds performed by popular music groups.
  • Duomo, Teodosie Gologanov no. 67, +389 2 3228 828. From W-Sa, enjoy in live music. Mediterranean, Italian, national, international and seafood.
  • Dva Elena, Str. Zagrebska 31, +389 2 30 60 900. under the slopes of Vodno mountain
  • Equestrian, Kuzman J. Pitu no.19, loc.56, +389 2 246 77 82. Club restaurant.
  • Kamnik, Kamnik b.b., +389 2 523-522. Located in the hotel of the same name, 150 different wines from all over the world.
  • Kej, Kej 13 Noemvri no.34, +389 2 3233 764. Intimate and pleasant place by the Vardar river.
  • Marakana, City park, +389 2 3221 548. Italian specialties, unique sea fruits and fish. The restaurant also has 2 ballrooms with 150 seats, and it also offers the opportunity for cocktail parties with up to 500 guests.
  • Meana Karpic, Str. Debarca br. 21, +389 2 3116 133 (). Home cuisine, grilled barbecue, grilled fish, cooked vegetables, stews, specialties, music, and wine!
  • Nana, Square Macedonia - Risticeva Palata, +389 2 3214 630 (), [13]. Assortment of delicious meals, made from the world finest ingredients, such as caviar, salmon, goose and duck pates, goose liver, proscuitto, tartufo, cheese, fresh vegetables and salads. Offers 40 types of wines in glasses or bottles, including all of the Tikvesh special selection and limited production wines, as well as imported French, Chilean, Spanish, Slovenian white and red wines, foamy wines and champagnes…
  • Okarina, Str. Helsinki no. 58a, nas. Taftalidze (old Cvrga), +389 2 30 65 444. Macedonian and international specialties. live music.
  • Pantelejmon, v. Gorno Nerezi, +389 2 30 81 255. Magnificent ambient and view on the city of Skopje from the terrace. Macedonian national cuisine. Try the Pantelejmon pie and sheep yogurt, Pantelejmon pan, Lamb meat in a bowl.
  • Ragusa, Str.12 Udarna Brigada 2a, +389 2 3212 919, [14]. Ambient, accompanied with pleasant music.
  • Roulette Restaurant & Club, Simeon Kavrakirov no. 9a, +389 2 246 76 19. Great choice of different meals and quality wines.
  • Tomce Sofka, Jordan Hadji Konstatinov Gjinot 14, +389 3 224-225, [15]. Taste national and international specialties and the evenings here are filled with the sound of old city music, which contributes to the intimate ambiance.
  • Tri Biseri, Bul. Jane Sandanski br.7, +389 2 461-171., [16].
  • Uranija, City Park, +389 2 3118 030 (), [17]. Recognized as one of the best restaurants in Macedonia for more than a decade. Nice selection of local wine and food. Free Wi-Fi

Drink

Cafes

Its not hard to find good cafes but a good place to start is by the riverside near the old bridge, and at night this becomes a lively party area as well.

  • Ciao Caffe, GTC Shopping Mall 3/6, +389 71 323 313.
  • Intermezzo Caffe, Str. Mit. Teodosij Gologanov 65, +389 2 32 39 539.
  • Caramelo, Maksim Gorki 25, +389 2 3221 471 (), [19]. A Starbucks-like cafe. Small, but with excellent choice of coffee, tea and juice. (41.99670727936378,21.42619639635086)
  • Coffeeshop Company, (Second floor of Soravia Center).

Bars

  • Plenty of bars in the Old Bazar, (From Macedonia Square, go accross the Stone bridge, and then just keep the straightest line as you can). This area has a plenty of newly open bars, and the night life there recently has become very interesting. Some of the bars there are La Kaña, Damar, Rakija Bar, etc.
  • Irski Pab Sv Patrick (Irish Pub St. Patrick), GTC Skopje, [20].
  • Izzi Caffe, Katna Garaza Zebra - Vasil Gjorgov BB (Next to Hotel Queens in the 'Zebra' mall in in the neighborhood Kapistec), [21]. Cool place to have a drink, in the morning (coffee) or at night. The owner speaks English and will hang out with you to make sure you're taken care of.
  • Penguin Pub, Mito H. Jasmin 50, +389 2 310 10 20. Daily live music. Try food prepared on volcano stones!
  • Piazza Liberta, Str. Dimitrija Cupovski 24, +389 2 3224 807. Eat the peanuts and throw the shells on the floor!
  • Plaza de Toros, Kej 13 Noemvr (on the quay of Vardar), +389 2 322 8155. Delicious snacks: taco chips with melted cheese, fried chicken wings fresh salads, pizza, warm sendwiches, or some homemade sweats. Offers a large variety of beer on drought.
  • Soul Pub, Str. Maksim Gorki 20, +389 2 3113 311. Good music and beer.

Clubs

  • B2, Macedonia Square.
  • Black & White.
  • Club 69, Macedonia Square. One of the best clubs in Skopje. Works only four days a week: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • Club Collosseum. It's a place where often worldwide famous DJ's play music. The club is located under the new railway station.
  • Dynamique.
  • Hard Rock, Macedonian Cultural Center.
  • Havana.
  • Marakana, City park.
  • Midnight, GTC Shopping Center, [22].

Sleep

Budget

  • Hi Skopje Hostel, Crniche 15, +389 2 6091 242 (), [23]. Hi Skopje Hostel is a new hostel, located 10min.walking distance from the center of Skopje.This location is most desired by the citizens of Skopje because of its fresh air,the sunrise side and the panoramic view of the city.Near the hostel there are many supermarkets,ATMs,pharmacy,hospital,police station,exchange office,bakery and all city attractions like shopping malls,restaurants,bars and nightclubs are only 10min. walking from the hostel.It is the best location ever dreamed for a hostel. 10-20 eur. (41.983675,21.426100)
  • Shanti Hostel, Rade Jovcevski Korcagin 11, +389 2 60 90 807 (), [24]. Small and cozy place located in just 3 minutes walking distance from the international bus and train station, and only 5 minutes from the center of Skopje. Near Shanti Hostel there are large super markets, bars, clubs, theatre, a swimming pool, shopping malls, change office and ATM. From €8 - 10.
  • Shanti Hostel 2, Prespanska 11, +389 2 60 91 807 (), [25]. Its just behind Shanti Hostel 1. Enjoy your stay. From €8 - 10.
  • Art Hostel Riverside, Ante Hadzimitkov 5. A popular hostel with backpackers, 20 minutes walk from the station, 15 minutes to City Square. Helpful and friendly staff, this hostel has the feel of student accommodation. Dorms and privates, with shared bathrooms. Free internet access, outdoor social area. 10% discount with a flyer (which you can get from the hostel itself, or hostels in other cities). Dorms from €7.
  • Youth Hostel. Also called "Ferialen Dom" or "Mladinski Hotel". Five minutes from the bus/train station at Prolet 25. It has dorms and privates, but the privates are organised more like a hotel ie. boxy rooms off a corridor. At €50 for a small twin ensuite room, with breakfast, this is not the best value for money

Mid-range

  • Imperial Hotel, +389-2-273 60 53 (), [26]. This comfortable hotel that offers excellent accommodation is located just 1.5 km from all the shopping malls and the Skopje Square. The Hotel offers free 24 hours wifi/wlan internet and free laundry service.
  • Hotel Kapistec, Mile Pop Jordanov 3 (Skopje), +389 2 3081 424, [27].

'Quiet,safe and nice area.'

  • Hotel Restaurant NewStar, [28].
  • Hotel Square, Nicola Vapcaov 2 6.floor, +389 23 225 090, [29]. The top floor of a office building. Very nice rooms, friendly staff, and a open air balcony with a excellent view to Square Macedonia and the stone bridge. Rooms with air-con and TV. €45.
  • Holiday Inn Skopje, Vasil Agilarski 2, +389 2 3292 929, [30]. next to the river, situated at the end of stretch that has all the bars and restaurants which are great in the summer.
  • Урбан Хотел Скопје (Urban Hotel Skopje) (UH Skopje), ул. Партизанска 48 (near the Universal Hall), n/a, [31]. Business Hotel Reinvented.

Splurge

  • Aleksander Palace, Bul. Oktomvriska Revolucija br.15 (5 minute drive from the center), +389 3092-392, [32]. This 5-star hotel is probably the finest and most expensive in all of Skopje.
  • Hotel Ambassador, (in the center of Skopje in a quiet neighborhood close to the St. Kliment of Ohrid cathederal.), +389 3212-353 (), [33].
  • Hotel Arka (Hotel Arka), Bitpazarska 90/2 (in the Old Bazaar), +389 2 3230603, [34]. 5-star hotel. Arka is modern, luxurious and comfortable five star hotel. Its interior is furnished according to newest trends in the modern interior architecture. It is situated in the historic nucleus of the Old Skopje Town. From €88. (42.0016,21.4387)
  • Hotel Continental, Aleksandar Makedonski (adjacent to the Skopje Fair, 5 minutes from downtown Skopje), +389 3116-599, [35]. The largest luxury Hotel located in the city, in a 10000 m2 landscaped garden.
  • Hotel Stone Bridge, Kej Dimitar Vlahov no.1, +389 3244-900, [36]. 5-star hotel. The rooms and suites, many with superb views of the Vardar River, Stone Bridge, Square Macedonia with modern city, Fortress Kale, Old City with Churches and Mosques, are spacious and luxurious, giving an extremely comfortable and elegant feel.
  • Hotel Victoria, Slave Delovski no.18 (500 meters from the center of the city), +389 2 3107-600 (, fax: +389-2-3107-610), [37]. Three star hotel in very pleasant surroundings isolated of the city noise. Restorant, closed parking space which is secured 24h, reception desk, hall for buffet breakfast.

Stay safe

Skopje, just like most of the rest of Macedonia, is a relatively safe place. But, the usual rules about common sense apply here as they would anywhere. The places where crime occurs most often are in the places where tourists have little reason to be at. Exercise a level of caution or avoid the old market at night as it becomes desolate, however, the area of the old market near the Stone Bridge where most of the bars are located is safe. Like many other parts of Eastern and Central Europe, there are people who will beg around the major tourist sites and sometimes engage in pick-pocketing.

Cope

Newspapers

  • Дневник (Dnevnik) - [38] - is a daily newspaper in the Republic of Macedonia. It is published every day except Sunday. The first issue of Dnevnik was published on March 20, 1996. Its current circulation is 50,000.
  • Нова Македонија (Nova Makedonija) - [39] - is the oldest daily newspaper in the Republic of Macedonia. It was established with decision of the presidium of ASNOM and remained a state owned newspaper, promoting the government line. The first edition was in 1944, in Gorno Vranovci, and contitutes the first document written in the literary standard Macedonian language.
  • Утрински Весник (Utrinski Vesnik) - [40] - the first issue of Utrinski vesnik was published on June 23, 1999. Its current editor is Erol Rizaov. It is published every day except Sunday.
  • Вест (Vest) - [41]
  • Време (Vreme) - [42]
  • Шпиц (Spic) - [43]
  • Вечер (Vecer) - [44]
  • Skopje Diem - [45] Provides daily news from Macedonia in English, as well as many usefull info for expats in the country. The Team used to be NATO Press Centre in Skopje, and provides daily info on Macedonian matters for almost all embassies, international organisations and foreign media.

Embassies

  • 100px-Flag of Kosovo.png Kosovo, Str. Samoilova Nr. 136, +389 2 329 0320 (fax: +389 2 329 0322).
  • FlagOfMontenegro.png Montenegro, Str. Vasil Stefanovski Nr.7, +389 2 322 7277 (, fax: +389 2 322 7254).
  • Nl-flag.png Netherlands, Str. Leninova Nr. 69-71, +389 2 310 9250; +389 2 312 9319 (, fax: +389 2 312 9309), [54].
  • No-flag.png Norway, Str. 8ma Udarna Brigada Nr. 2, +389 2 312 9165, [55].
  • Flag of Serbia (state).png Serbia, Str. Pitu Guli Nr. 8, +389 2 312 9298 (, fax: +389 2 312 9427).
  • Lo-flag.png Slovakia, Str. Budimpeštanska Nr. 39, +389 2 309 0360 (, fax: +389 2 309 0367).
  • Si-flag.png Slovenia, Str. Vodnjanska Nr. 42, +389 2 317 8730; +389 2 310 3041 (, fax: +389 2 317 6631), [59].
  • Up-flag.png Ukraine, Str. Albert Shvajcer Nr. 7-9, +389 2 317 8120 (, fax: +389 2 317 9259), [63].
  • Uk-flag.png United Kingdom, Str. Salvador Aljende Nr. 73, +389 2 3299 299 (fax: +389 2 3179 726), [64].
  • Bk-flag.png Bosnia-Herzegovina, Str. Mile Pop-Jordanov Nr. 56b, +389-2-308-6216 (fax: +389-2-308-6221).

Get out

  • Marko’s Monastery is an active monastery situated outside Sushica village on Kitka mountain. It was founded by king Volkashin in 1345 and finished by his son King Marko in 1366, who is also the donor of the frescoes painted between 1366 and 1371. It is unknown why the monastery is built in the vicinity of Skopje instead of Prilep the capital of their medieval kingdom. It is presumed that the grave of king Marko (who died in Romania fighting the Turks) is here but it was destroyed by the Turks. The architecture of the church is a cross in square with a central dome and a blind dome in the narthex. The elegant exonarthex (open porch) was added in 1830 by Hamzi Pasha, who was a generous donor of the monastery throughout the 19th century. It is quite surprising a Turkish aristocrat to be a donor of an Christian monument. The frescoes are work of more artists with different skills and are well preserved. Visible is the tendency for adding dramatization and narrative painting of the scenes. Most interesting is the unique scene The cry of Rahela (Mathew 2:18). On the southern facade the portraits of king Volkashin and king Marko are painted. There is a bus going to the village but just few times per day. From the village there is half hour walk to the monastery. Behind it there is a river and a small picnic area. While in the area also visit St.Bogorodica church (also referred as St.Nikola church) in Sushica village, built in the 13th century.
  • Skopska Crna Gora and its medieval churches and monasteries – even though Vodno is the most popular hiking option in Skopje, a fun and educational day trip from Skopje is visiting the villages, churches and monasteries on Skopska Crna Gora Mountain. Easiest way to do it is with a car, but also one can take a bus to one of the villages like Banjani or Kuceviste, and hike to the surrounding points of interest. St.Nikita monastery in Banjani village was built in by Serbian king Milutin in 1307-08 on a site of an earlier church. It is a single domed church of a written cross architectonical solution. The frescoes are work of the famous Ohrid painters Mihailo and Eftihie. Unfortunately they lack the energy and the technique of Bogorodica Perivlepta church in Ohrid. It is quite probable that by now they had a big group of students around them and they just controlled the work. If one looks carefully one can see where them two picked up the brush and corrected the work. Most significant fresco is the Pursuit of the Merchants from the temple where one can see the human elements characteristic for their work.
  • St.Bogorodica Church in Kucevishte village the naos was built closely before 1348. The narthex was built somewhere between 1355 and 1358 by local aristocrat Radoslav and his wife Vladislava. Above the nathex there is a grave chapel for Radoslav and Vladislava. The painter of the frescoes of the naos is quite good, educated, well acquainted with the work of Mihailo and Eftihie, quite probable their student. Still his work doesn’t reach their energy, colors and elegance, but he is quite good in composition and placing figures in it. Like his teachers he did sign his name on the northern column by the iconscreen, his name is Grigorie. The frescoes of the narthex have been damaged by fire and the grave chapel was painted by a less skilled painter. Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel Monastery in Kucevishte village was built towards the end of the 14th or maybe the beginning of the 15th century. The church is threeconhos with a dome, and elaborate ceramic decorations on the facades. There are two inscriptions dating the frescoes from 1631 and 1701. The figures are presented small in size, poor in colors but with bold drawing with an attempt to present landscape. Most famous is the large presentation Tree of Jesse. * St. Nikola church in Ljuboten village was built in 1337 by Mrs. Danica a local aristocrat whose sons had important positions (something like mayors or governors) of strategic positions on the entrance of the city. She built the church in honor of her passed husband. It is a single domed church of a written cross architectonical solution. Parts of the frescoes are in bad condition. Influenced by the works of Mihailo and Eftihie. The Serbian royal family is presented (king Dushan, queen Elena and prince Urosh), it is interesting that the painting treatment of them, especially the colors are different than those for the saints.
  • Tumba - an archaeological site from the Early Stone Age. Ceramic models of houses formed in the shape of the female body are among its valuable finds.
  • Cerje - an archaeological site from the Early Stone Age. Its unique finds include the figurine known as Adam from Govrlevo, one of the earliest prehistoric male figurines.
  • Gradishte - a fortified settlement from the Early Byzantine period. It is believed to be Taoresion, the native town of Emperor Justinian.
  • Marko's Castle - An Early Byzantine fortress, heavily fortified with 40 towers. It was the site of the medival town of Crnce.
  • Matka - A gorge in which a rich complex of medival monasteries and remnants of a fortress remain.
  • Skupi - the ancient city of Skupi is almost not worth the effort to reach. There is almost nothing left except for part of a street, a bath, and a basilica. After the city was ruined by the earthquake of 518, all the building material was used in the building of Justinijana Prima (one can see almost all of the seats of the Roman theatre incorporated in Kale Fortress). It is interesting that even though the earthquake was very strong and completely ruined Skupi there were almost no casualties. The inhabitants fled the city just two days before fearing from Avar attacks and settled in the small fortresses they had built on Vodno and in Matka.
  • Vodno Mountain - 1066 meters above sea level it towers over Skopje. It is popular hiking place with marked paths leading through the woods and there are a couple of rest areas. On the top of Vodno the Millennium Cross was built to mark 2000 years of Christianity in Macedonia. It is 66 meters high and it is the highest structure in Macedonia.
  • Tetovo Around 50 km (50min by bus, plenty of busses around every 30 min weekdays and every hour at sundays). Nice Painted Mosque, Tekke Arabati-Baba and nearby skiing in popova shapka.tr:Üsküb



This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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