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wojtekd Skopje - A travel report by Wojciech
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Skopje,  Macedonia - flag Macedonia
11665 readers

wojtekd's travel reports

Macedonia's capital city

  26 votes
Page: 1 2

Skopje travelogue picture
Few tourists know this small country (expensive, 49-USD visa could be one of the reasons). Present Macedonia covers the southern part of former Yugoslavia, it is independent since 1991. Macedonia lies on a plateau between 600m and 900m. The country is green and picturesque, people are hospitable and welcome visitors. They have interesting folklore so it is worth to ask if there is a chance to see folk performance (I was lucky - see picture!).
Skopje is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Macedonia. It lies on the upper course of the Vardar river and is located on a major north-south Balkan route between Belgrade and Athens. Skopje was founded as an Illyrian city. In the 4th century AD it became a Roman post called Scupi. It was taken by the Serbs in 1189 and by Ottoman Turks in 1392. In 1918 it became part of Yugoslavia.


Favourite spots:
Skopje travelogue picture
There is a hill overlooking the city with remains of the citadel. They call it Kale (castle in Turkish). Fortress raised in the 6th century (its present appearance dates from the Turkish period). Entry is free and there is nice view of the old and new Skopje from this site. It is worth to know that Skopje was struck by a devastating earthquake in 1963 when more then 1000 people died but most of the old, historical buidings survived.


What's really great:
Skopje travelogue picture
Skopje's old Oriental bazaar district - Carshija - is the largest and most colourful of its kind left in Europe. There is a lot of small shops in the narrow streets, cafes serving Turkish-style coffee... On the outskirts of this quarter you will find Kursumli Han, a caravanserai, or inn used by traders during the Turkish period. Unfortunately it was not open to the public when I was there.


Sights:
Skopje travelogue picture
15th-century Turkish stone bridge over the Vardar River linking the old and new towns. North from the bridge are the Daud Pasha Baths, dating back to 1466, once the largest Turkish baths in the Balkans. This buliding now is home for City Art Gallery. Opposite to the gallery you will find tourist information office (sorry - closed on Sundays - when I was there). There is also another former Turkish bath in the bazaar area, also housing the gallery - it is on my picture. And over the bath copulas you can see Mustafa-Pasha's Mosque from 15th century - one of the few city's mosques.


Accommodations:
Skopje travelogue picture
Wealthy visitors have their Holiday Inn conveniently located on the bank of the river. Budget travellers' choice is limited. Dom Blagoj Sosolcev Hostel is situated close to the railway station and charges 1500 MKD per person (YHF members have 10% discount). There is also private hotel-restaurant LAKI (Leninova 79, next to Netherlands' Embassy). They provide free pick-up and charge from 13 to 35 euro per night - depending on chosen room standard.

Nightlife:
Skopje travelogue picture
There are interesting orthodox churches in Skopje. The first one - Saint Dimitrij you will find just at the bus station located in the heart of the town - near stone bridge. But it is not so impressive...
On the picture you can see new Saint Kliment Ohridski cathedral orthodox church. It is contemporary architecture but definitely worth to see. I stands in the new part of the town, 10 minutes walk from the river.

Hangouts:
Skopje travelogue picture
No, it is not a pub. This is the interior of the cathedral church mentioned above - "Arhiepiskopskiot Soboren svet hram Sv. Kliment Ohridski Skopje" in the local language. Candles, religious songs, paintings - very special atmosphere...
Officials say that over 65 per cent of the population are Eastern Orthodox Macedonians and around 23 per cent are Muslim Albanians. There are also Muslim Turks and Serbian Orthodox minorities. As elsewhere in the former Yugoslav federation, local politics are now strongly divided along national confessional lines.

Restaurants:
Skopje travelogue picture
If you will come here in September you will probably see in many courtyards people preparing for the winter period local speciality - ayvar - made of red paprika. They dry red pepper on the primitive stoves - see photo...
Food is inexpensive here: you will pay around 400 MKD for the meal in the restaurant, a roll costs 6 denars, hamburger - 35, one kilo of grapes - 40.
A bottle of local beer - "Skopsko" cost 32 MKD, a bottle of local wine - 110 MKD, 1 litre of coke - 46 MKD. 1 USD was worth 53 MKD (macedonian denars - remember that they are not convertable outside Macedonia)

Other recommendations:
Skopje travelogue picture
If you will ask for the most important historical monument in Skopje - it is 17th century orthodox church of the Holy Saviour (Sveti Spas). It's half buried because when it was constructed in the 17th century (Ottoman Turks' rule) no church was allowed to be higher than a mosque. From outside it is not so impressive but interior is georgeus: the highlight is 19th-century iconostasis of the church, carved in walnut. Work combines a profusion of plant and animal motifs with the figures of saints in local costumes. Entry is free but photography is strictly forbidden.
and AIRPORT TIP: There is no public or shuttle bus to the airport (shame!) Taxi drivers charge 20 euro or 1000 denars for the ride from the city centre. For budget travellers there is other solution:
Cross the bridge from Holiday Inn hotel to the city bus "terminal" (red buses). Take a bus no. 52 or 53 to Petrovec (40 denars). One bus per hour or so. In Petrovec get off and turn left - now it is only 2 km walk.

Published on Thursday October 30th, 2003


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Wed, Aug 02 2006 - 02:41 PM rating by sajjanka

very very nice

Sat, Nov 19 2005 - 09:45 AM rating by alfonsovasco

Very profesional!

Sun, Oct 23 2005 - 09:28 AM rating by miguelmarchi

I was this summer in Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia, but missed Macedonia. Next time I will visit its intereting market

Fri, Jan 07 2005 - 05:09 AM rating by madness

I d like to see Drina bridge one day, nice to read this report.

Wed, Aug 18 2004 - 07:30 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hiii
excellent report and i find it useful .
ravi

Sat, May 01 2004 - 02:39 AM rating by britman

What a brilliant report illustrated with excetional photo's. Such interesting reading that has that crucial ingredient - the yearn to visit after reading it!

Thu, Oct 30 2003 - 02:28 PM rating by marianne

Loved it! (as I love to read all your writings. You do know, I suppose that kale is Turkish and means castle.

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