Skopje: A City with Two Sides

Skopje split by Vardar river

Skopje split by Vardar

Skopje is certainly an interesting city. A city that actually became more interesting to me as I was there and since I hitchhiked my way out of it. From Prishtina, Kosovo, I arrived by bus passing by the city’s fortress overlooking the city center gazing at some of the massive statues that dominate the city. These statues along are half of the reason why this city has become interesting, at least for me. Locals will have a different attitude.

Philip the Macedon Skopje Macedonia

Skopje 2014 Macedonia

Arch Skopje 2014 Macedonia

Skopje 2014, is the title for the infamous makeover of much of the city center. In 2014, the entire city was dotted with seemingly endless amounts of statues of native Macedonians, some of which flared up the noses of Greeks in the northern region of the same name. The statues range in size from smaller ones on some of the newly built bridges to the two massive ones that depict Phillip the Macedon and Alexander the Great (Greek noses begin to flare), although the titles of them are called “Warrior” and “Warrior on Horse”.

Skopje 2014 Macedonia

Warrior on Horse Skopje 2014 Macedonia

When you walk around Skopje, you notice that there are two distinct and opposite sides. The side I mentioned is what I called the “new” side. With new museums, a new arch, massive open center with an active fountain and lights surrounding the massive “warrior on horse”. But when you cross the old Stone Bridge crossing over the Vardar, the river that separates the city, you find yourself walking around the old side, or better yet, the historic side.

Stone Bridge Skopje Macedonia

Old Bazaar Skopje Macedonia

Old Bazaar Skopje Macedonia

On the east side of the river you can walk up and into the historic Kale fortress, home to what once was the Serbian Kingdom. Below the fortress is the Old Bazaar, a maze of walkways that resemble a little Istanbul. Without researching too much of Skopje, this side of Skopje was a surprise and a treat, especially since Istanbul was my first city on my 5 and a half month Balkan voyage. And yes, the call to prayer is heard several times a day from the Mosque megaphones. I love it!

GoPro Skopje

All in all, Skopje is a city that should not be missed on a trip in the Balkans, if you are passing from Belgrade to Thessaloniki/Athens or vise versa. Oh yea, there are oddly and surpisingly tons of double decker buses all over the city. :)

Double decker buses skopje macedonia

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