Skopje is the capital and the largest city of Macedonia. Like
most Balkan cities, it began with the Roman military camp, but the oldest
preserved sights are the Turkish ones.
The city is big, by Macedonian standards it's just a huge, half a million people - that's a quarter of the country's population. Many Albanian refugees from Kosovo who moved here during the Kosovo conflict. From their midst, it seems, the beggars on the streets are a phenomenon I have not met anywhere else in Macedonia.
Attractions in Skopje are new and old.
In 2010, the Skopje-2014 program was launched, which was to transform the embankment of the Vardar River in the center of the city into a tourist center with parks, monuments and new buildings. It was transformed, but the result was not liked by all. Mixing of styles can, of course, be considered eclectic, but everything is fine in moderation ... And, by the way, there are practically no people around these monumental buildings - they are not very interesting for tourists. Most Macedonians did not like it - how much money was swollen in this construction, despite the fact that the country, to put it mildly, is not the richest.
Very lively Skopje red double-decker buses.
The historical center in Skopje reminds some eastern city - small streets lined with benches. This is understandable, since its external appearance was determined during the Ottoman rule. Old buildings are few, since the city, about once in a century, almost to the ground was destroyed by earthquakes. The mosques and other important structures, of course, were restored. Sights of Skopje, mostly Turkish.
At the entrance to the old town is located city bathhouse - Hamam Daut Pasha, a huge building with 13 domes.
Near the Church of St. Demetrius, who in the time of the
Ottomans was a cathedral. In size, it is five times smaller than the hamam. :)
The modern church was built in 1894.
In the historic center of Skopje there is a more interesting Orthodox church - St. Savior. It has its own territory and looks like a small monastery, even with a wall.
In the center of the Old City, another bath complex :) - Chifte Hamam. Now here is the exhibition hall of the National Gallery.
Nearby is another important for the Ottoman civilization construction - Caravanserai. Partially it is a remake - the original buildings were badly damaged during the next earthquake.
The same applies to the mosque Arasta. Construction was completed in 2014, although, theoretically, it is one of the oldest mosques in the city. It is assumed that the name of Arasta belonged to the market, in the center of which there was a mosque.
The main mosque of Skopje is Mustafa Pasha. And it, in the main, was preserved in its original form, since earthquakes, for some reason, were spared. The mosque is at the foot of the hill.
On the hill is the Skopje fortress. This is the only thing left of Byzantium and the Bulgarian Empire, but, again, purely theoretically. The fortress was collapsing even more often than the surrounding structures, since not only earthquakes took part here, but also the enemies who besieged it. The last reconstruction was carried out by the Turks in 1700, and then, in the twentieth century, restoration.
In the vicinity of Skopje
there are a couple of other attractions - the monastery of St.
Panteleimon and the aqueduct, but this is a program for a longer
stay - not so close.
You can get to Skopje either by plane or by bus from neighboring countries, but the latter option is only for those who have a lot of time - the move will take a whole day. If time is enough - there are buses Belgrade-Skopje, Sofia-Skopje, Tirana-Skopje.
Skopje Airport is about 30 min. drive from the main bus station, where buses are often sent. The schedule can be viewed on the Skopje airport website.
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