Saturday, November 22, 2014


Above you see the new quirky bridge in Skopje with lots of equally quirky buildings behind it. 
In stark contrast, the picture below shows the Stone Bridge over the Vardar. It dates from the XV century, precisely in the early years of the Ottoman occupation. 
It reminded me of a similar bridge that is central to the fabulous novel 'The Bridge on the Drina' by Ivo Andrik. 
This bridge is seen in Serbia and it's very well preserved, too.
The inclusion of a mihrab (usually, a niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the direction of Mecca) in the middle distinguishes it from the other bridges constructed at the same time in the Christian Europe.

~~ Have a great weekend ~~

Sunday, November 16, 2014


The narrow winding streets in Skopje led me to the grandiose courtyard of a Caravanserai (travellers and nomads going through the Balkans,used to stop here in these inns centuries ago, on their way from Europe to Asia) and to the whirling dance of domes in a Haman (Haman means bath in Arabic).

The first mosque I encountered  upon entering the Old Bazaar was the Market Mosque, or Murat Pasha Mosque (XVII century), the most conspicuous of all for the water fountains outside its entrance. Nearly every local passing by will pause here to wash their hands or take a drink. Its position at one of the key junctions means it is a structure you spot regardless which side you have entered or walked through the Old Bazaar. Inside the courtyard of the Murat pasha mosque I saw a well preserved feet washing area - used by believers for washing - which was built in 1937. 

In the area of the Old Bazaar of Skopje, I easily found yourself before the Church of the Holy Saviour. Only a high stone wall and a wooden Bell Tower above it showed the presence of the church.The church is three-nave building, with vaulted roof. It was built in the 18th century and got its final appearance in the first half of the 19th century. Its remarkable iconostasis of woodcarving was constructed between 1819 and 1824 by a western Macedonian woodcarving group. The carvings are not just decorative, but allegorical.

The Old Bazaar area consists of a maze of narrow streets and passages, with lots of shops. 
Jewellers seemed to predominate, but if I wanted I could probably buy almost anything there. 

It was nice to stroll around and feel lost in time, as I breathed the nice Ottoman empire atmosphere.

~~ Have a good start of the week ~~

 Thank you!

Saturday, November 15, 2014


Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, is an interesting city to explore. The centre of this Balkan city is going on under a building spree after several decades of abandon, following the 1963 earthquake that devastated a large area of the city. 

The break-up of Yugoslavia resulted in the creation of a smaller Republic of Macedonia in 1992 and since then, the government in co-operation with architect-planners has been confident in the role of remaking the postwar world. The Ottoman district has been rebuilt while the construction of a new centre by the Vardar river is about to be concluded. In my modest opinion, this new centre looks bizarre, the reason why I was curious about it. The new buildings and bridges are of neoclassical and baroque styles, while the public areas are ornamented with sculptures, fountains and even an arch of triumph!!!

It seems the government hopes the enormous statues will attract tourists. Will they???

As I was strolling through the city, looking here and there, seeing  this and that, I always wondered whether the Disneyland had been the source of inspiration to the government of Macedonia...

Bronze statue of a woman swimmer in bikini at Vardar River 

I think in this city there are not jobless sculptors... From the famous people to the not so, all are represented...

 "Shopping girls", in front of the Skopje shopping mall.

As I was strolling through the city, looking here and there, seeing  this and that, I always wondered whether the Disneyland had been the source of inspiration to the government of Macedonia...

The river already boasts a boat restaurant and others are being built. 

At night, the city centre is very lively with bars and cafés crowded with young people and musicians playing on the streets. Daytime, not so as you can see in the photo below.

The earthquake itself is a distant memory, yet I heard some locals claiming that something of the soul of the city had gone away as a result of the urban development...


Have a great weekend!

~~ Thank You ~~