Macedonia: Tuesday May 30 2017, Day 10
Capital, by far the largest and leading city of Macedonia. Sits upon the Varna river.
Terrible earthquake in 1963, destroyed 80% of buildings, killed 1000+ people. Streets in city center are named for cities from countries that helped rebuild.
More than 100 new monuments, part of Skopje 2014 (still in progress: "it's the Balkans"). Major effort to modernize central city. Monuments are popular with tourists but controversial among people: 500 million euros that could have done a lot of things directed only to Skopje city center. Also, the endemic corruption disappeared a lot of the money.
Outskirts of town
Drove through a Muslim neighborhood, nobody was out because it was Ramadan: people start the day much later to help with fasting. More of the "PR" mosques: funded by petro money.
Drove by Zoo Administrative Buildings: Barracks of temporary buildings built after the earthquake and still used fifty years on City park and football stadium Government building: amazing marble columned facade Post office a communist brutalist horrorshow of a building Park of the women fighters, to the women who fought in WWII Old rail station, now a museum. Clock on the front stopped at the exact moment of the 1963 earthquake Beautiful Church of St Clement of Ohrid
Fortress of Skopje
Oldest walls got to the sixth century. Original city existed from 2d c to 5th c, destroyed in earthquake. Rebuilt on hill of current fortress. Hill overlooks whole valley, defended by river on one side.
Millennium cross on hill opposite fortress hill. Skopje is in a valley, which leads to pollution problems
Church Sveti Spass (holy savior), built during Ottoman times. Ottomans wouldn't let them build tall so dug underground. Has tomb of Gotzen Delchev, a liberator of the country.
Merchants divided by kind, the jewelry district is what remains. Jewelry and souvenir ships with huge green market at the end of it.
Statue of Philip II Holocaust Museum, on the old Jewish quarter
Cyril and Methodist Clement and Naum
Gigantic statue of Alexander the Great ("Ancient Warrior on a Horse" to palliate the Greeks)
Aside: the flag
Old flag was sixteen rayed yellow and red sun Again to deal with the Greeks they made current flag which is eight yellow (negative eight red, making sixteen again)
Born Skopje, went to Calcutta at age 18, the church she was baptized in is now a museum to her.
Mina's coffee, mamas ajvar, slatko preserves
Canyon Maltka and Lake Matka
Diving, rock climbing, boating 200 species of Butterflies
Dam over the Treska river
Built 1939 Lake is called Matka, "womb", supposedly because of shape. Treska means "trembling" because of Rapids along the river.
St Andrea church
1389 by brother of King Marco Beautiful icons preserved since 14th c. Dedicated to St Andre, the first apostle Beautiful blue paint, made from a precious stone and as expensive as gold
Vrelo means source Three parts one is underwater extends more than 250m under ground "Shishaka" or pine cone stalagmite, developed over millions of years.
Saw the water bubbling up from underground cave entrance