Posts tagged Republic of Northern Macedonia

Letters from Northern Macedonia: Skopje, the capital of warm southern spirit, tradition and good wine

My dear travelers, welcome to the Mr.M blog! Today, as the first post in February, I prepared a special gift for all of you – a travelogue about the capital of the Republic of Northern Macedonia – Skopje. Make some of your favorite drinks and treats, settle down comfortably and our adventure can begin!

The Republic of Northern Macedonia is a country located on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in 1991 as one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia. Northern Macedonia is a landlocked country bordering Serbia in the north, Bulgaria in the east, Greece in the south, Kosovo in the northwest and Albania in the west.

“Warrior on a Horse” Monument on the main square in Skopje

An interesting fact is that a quarter of the country’s 2.06 million population lives in Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Northern Macedonia and also it is the largest city in the country. The majority of the inhabitants are ethnic Macedonians, a South Slavic people. Albanians make up a significant minority followed by Turks, Roma, Serbs, Bosniaks and Aromanians.

As you are used to, this time I will tell you something more about the history of this interesting country in the Balkans. The history of the region begins with the kingdom of Paeonia, a mixed Thracian-Illyrian. At the end of the sixth century BC, this area was subjugated by the Persian Achaemenid Empire, which was then incorporated into the Kingdom of Macedonia in the fourth century BC.

The Romans conquered the region in the second century BC and made it part of a larger province of Macedonia. The area remained part of the Byzantine Empire, but Slavic tribes often raided and inhabited it in the sixth century AD.

After centuries of quarrels between the Bulgarian, Byzantine and Serbian empires, it was part of Ottoman rule from the mid-14th to the beginning of the 20th century, when the modern territory of Northern Macedonia came under Serbian rule after the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913.

During the First World War, the area of today’s Republic of Northern Macedonia was ruled by Bulgaria, but after the end of the war it returned to Serbian rule as part of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. During the Second World War, it was ruled again by Bulgaria, and in 1945 it was established as a constituent state of communist Yugoslavia, which remained until its peaceful secession in 1991.

The Vardar River and extraordinary Restaurant – Hotel Senigallia (right)

The country became a member of the United Nations in April 1993 as a result of a dispute with Greece over the name “Macedonia”, accepted under the provisional description “former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (abbreviated “FYR Macedonia” or “FYROM”).

In June 2018, Macedonia and Greece resolved the dispute with an agreement that the country should be renamed the Republic of Northern Macedonia. This renaming came into force in February 2019.

Skopje is the political, cultural, economic and academic center of the Republic of Northern Macedonia. There is evidence that the territory of the city of Skopje was first inhabited at least 4000 years before the new era.

Remains of Neolithic settlements have been found within the old fortress which overlooks the modern city center. Originally a Paeonian city, Skopje became the capital of Dardania in the second century BC. On the eve of the 1st century AD, the settlement was occupied by the Romans and became a military camp.

Skopje is located on the upper course of the Vardar River and at the same time on the main north-south route of the Balkans between two capitals – Belgrade and Athens. This unusual city is a center for metal processing, chemical, wood, textile, leather and printing industries. The industrial development of the city is accompanied by the development of the trade, logistics and banking sectors, as well as the emphasis on the areas of transport, culture and sports.

According to the latest official census, the city of Skopje had about 450,000 inhabitants in its metropolitan area and over 500,000 inhabitants in the ten municipalities that make up the city and include many other less urbanized and rural settlements besides Skopje.

Macedonian Archaeological Museum in Skopje

The city has several theaters and concert halls. Univerzal hall, used for concerts, fashion shows and congresses. The Metropolis Arena, which was made specifically for big concerts, is one of the largest concert halls.

Other large halls include the Macedonian Opera and Ballet, the National Theater and the Drama Theater. There are other smaller concert halls, such as the Albanian Theater and the Theater of the Youth.

The largest museum in Skopje is the Museum of Macedonia, which describes the history of the country in detail. The Macedonian Archaeological Museum, opened in 2014, houses some of the best archaeological discoveries in Northern Macedonia, dating from prehistory to the Ottoman period.

The National Gallery of Macedonia exhibits paintings from the 14th to the 20th century in two former Turkish baths of the Old Bazaar. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Macedonia was built after the 1963 earthquake thanks to international aid. The rich collection of this museum includes works by Macedonian and foreign artists, such as Fernando Legera, Andrea Masson, Pablo Picasso, Hans Hartung, Victor Vasareli, Alexander Calder, Pierre Soulages, Alberto Burri and Christo.

Mother Teresa Memorial House in the heart of the city in Macedonia Street

The Museum of the City of Skopje is located inside the remains of the old railway station, destroyed by the 1963 earthquake. It is dedicated to local history and has four part of exhibitions: archeology, ethnology, history and art history.

The memorial home of Mother Teresa was built in 2009 on the occasion of the centenary of her birth on the original site of the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Museum of the Macedonian Struggle is dedicated to modern national history and the struggle of Macedonians for their independence. Nearby is the Holocaust Memorial Center for the Jews of Macedonia.

About 4,000 items are on display at the Natural History Museum of Macedonia, while 300 animals have found their home in the Skopje 12-hectare zoo.

Stone Bridge (Dusan’s Bridge) and Museum of Macedonian Struggle (on the left)

One of the most visited and main sights in the capital of Northern Macedonia is the famous Dusan’s Bridge (Stone Bridge), a bridge that connects the old part of Skopje with the new part of the city via Vardar river. There are many unconfirmed legends about the construction of this bridge, but some historians believe that this bridge was built in the IV. century during the reign of Emperor Justinian I.

A monument founded in honor of the educators Cyril and Methodius

When you reach the Gate of Macedonia, you know that you have reached the central square where you have the opportunity to see the monument “Warrior on a Horse“, a monument dedicated to Alexander the Great. Another of the most important attractions of the city of Skopje is the mountain Vodno, which is located near the city.

Gate of Macedonia

You can reach its top by a special cable car, and on it is the Millennium Cross. The nature at the top of the Vodno mountain leaves all visitors breathless, and the view of Skopje city is just wonderful.

If you want to visit Skopje during a pandemic, take the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of culture and art at significantly lower prices than usual. The hotels are reopened and disinfected, the legal regulations are strictly followed and you can stay in hotels in Skopje without any kind of fear.

Whether you decide to go on a trip and visit Skopje with your own car, bus or plane, I am sure that you will enjoy the beautiful scenery and that this trip will remain in your best travel memories.

View from the Stone Bridge to the top of the mountain Vodno, the place where the Millennium Cross is located

I advise you that due to the difficult current health situation in the country and the European region, if you want to travel and enjoy the charms of travel and discover new beauties, clear your mind a little, feel free to do so, but be responsible to yourself and others and do not visit places where the huge crowds gathers.

Travel within Europe is currently stable, but I sincerely hope that with the start of vaccination of the population in Europe and the world, the measures will be relaxed.

I would like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to the care and protection of yourself and your loved ones. Let’s prevent the spread of the Corona virus and try to make this one day just one bad dream that we have successfully forgotten!

My dear travelers, we have reached the end of this special post from Northern Macedonia, which would not have been possible without the selfless help of the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism of the Republic of Northern Macedonia, an institution that allowed me to feel the spirit and beauty of the south. I share with you my impressions of this unusual country on the Balkan Peninsula.

Time always flies when a person has a good time! A man is rich at heart if he has managed to explore the world and I am glad to always be able to find partners for my projects that help me discover new and unusual destinations in a completely different way during this global COVID-19 health crisis.

I am honored to have the opportunity to work with companies that are at the very top in the tourism industry and I would like to thank them for this amazing adventure and for allowing me to feel the beauty, warm southern spirit and hospitality of the Republic of Northern Macedonia in a completely different way. .

How did you like this story of mine about Skopje? Have you had the opportunity to visit this city in Northern Macedonia so far?

If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.

With love from Skopje,
Mr.M

This post is sponsored by the Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism of the Republic of Northern Macedonia.

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