Skopje

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Skopje (Macedonian: Скопје, Albanian: Shkup), the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, is a city of many cultures and many centuries. Regardless of the direction you are arriving from, the infamously ugly apartment buildings constructed after the 1963 earthquake which ravaged the city will welcome you, and, while the fans of the stereotypical Eastern Europe may find a thing or two to check out in this Sovietesque city, you may feel largely unwelcome, but don't give up on Skopje so soon.

Instead of fantasizing about hopping on the next bus to somewhere else, head to the central square, divided in two by the River Vardar, which is crossed by a 14th-century stone bridge. This is the focal point of the "Skopje 2014" project, where the Macedonian government proudly erects almost innumerable statues of the historical personalities with a relation to Macedonia, and some huge neo-classical buildings in an apparent effort to invoke a feeling for the glorious days of the Ancient Macedon.

When you filled your daily quota of seeing sculptures (which will be pretty soon), walk up to the Ottoman old town, to the serene yards of the medieval mosques to relieve your eyes of the statue fatigue. It should be evening by now, and your legs should be tired enough—just about the right time to look for one of the small squares of the old town shadowed by huge, old plane trees, and to sit and reflect there, together with a bottle of the tasty local beer, Skopsko.

Understand[edit]

Skopje city panorama, with Mount Vodno in the background

In the Povardarie region, Skopje is the financial and political center of Macedonia and by far its biggest city. The city population is around 800,000, however unofficially during working-days it can almost reach more than 1 million, which is more than half of the population of the country. The most divers in the country, Skopje houses many ethnicities; besides the majority Macedonians, many Albanians, Turks, Roma, Serbs, Bosniaks and others call Skopje home.

The 26th of July 1963 is one of the worst dates in the history of Skopje. An earthquake struck the city at 5:17AM. 75% of the buildings in the city disappeared in just a few seconds. After that, the big rebuilding project began, trying to make Skopje the model city of the socialist world. The plan was drawn by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, who also designed the new railway station. The plan was never fully carried out. Lately many reconstruction projects have started. Some towers of Kale Fortress and the old cathedral are being reconstructed, and the old theater is also under reconstruction. Skopje is an eclectic mix of Christian and Islamic culture, with both vying to make themselves visible. However, this cultural mix has also spawned a lively and varied society. You can see people playing chess in the morning in the numerous cafés and green spaces in the summer. In the evening, Skopje comes to life as the locals dine in the cafés before heading to the bars and live music clubs, most of which are open until 1AM or later.

History[edit]

Apart from being the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, Skopje has always been a center of power long coveted by various empires, and occupied by a long list of them, evident by the several Byzantine churches and monasteries around the city, also by a few Roman sites, such as Scupi and Skopje's Aqueduct. The city founded by the Paeonians in the 3rd century B.C.E. under the name of ‘Skupi’ was prized for its strategic location, in a long valley between two hills, situated on the banks of the Vardar River, a vital trade route. Under the Romans, Skopje was made administrative center of the Dardanian Province. The city’s prestige grew when the Orthodox Church made it an episcopal seat during the early Byzantine Empire. The arrival of migrating Slavic tribes from the Carpathians in the 6th century C.E. changed both the city’s name and the composition of its people were assimilated by the Slavic newcomers. Throughout the remaining Byzantine centuries, Skopje continued to be an important mercantile center, situated as it was at the crossroads of Balkan trade and communications routes. It was celebrated for its urban life and fortress, and renowned for having the most beautiful church in the region. In 14th century, Skopje became the capital of the Empire of Serbia, which was one of the largest and strongest countries in Europe during that period. However, the group that left the greatest mark on Skopje were the Ottomans. At the very end of the 14th century, Skopje and all of Macedonia fell under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, who ruled Macedonia for over six hundred years and built a large number of mosques and other buildings. In the ensuing centuries, the look of the town changed with the construction of many mosques, Turkish baths, bridges, and other buildings attesting to the new Oriental influence. Today, the Ottoman legacy remains extremely visible in Skopje’s architecture and small Islamic minority. After Macedonia was liberated from the Turks in the early 20th century, became a part of Kingdom of Serbia, then it became a republic of the Yugoslav Federation, with Skopje as the capital. At that time, the prosperous city boasted many ornate, Neoclassical buildings laid out harmoniously in a more or less Central European style. However, in 1963 a disastrous earthquake leveled much of the regal old city, and Skopje was reborn in the imaginative, futuristic style in vogue at the time. Today, Skopje is a modern city and Macedonia’s major political, economical, educational, and cultural center.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Transport options include:

  • By bus: Vardar Express From the new terminal, there are buses running into Skopje operated by Vardar Express transport company; a timetable can be seen on the company's website, but a rule of thumb is that the buses depart about 10-15 minutes after a landing, just outside of the exit gates. It takes 25 min to the city and costs 150 MKD one-way; tickets, which are checked on board, can be bought from the Vardar Express office next to the exit gate. (You will need Macedonian denars for this. Exchange as low as possible—€ 3 is enough for a single ticket—as the rate at the exchange office just next to the Vardar Express office at the airport is worse than the town as usual—55 den for € 1 at the airport vs 61-61.50 den for € 1 in town.) Vardar Express has a number of stops in the city and the suburbs, the most useful of which is at the "Transportation Centre" (Транспортен Центар Transporten Centar, bus & train station) which is close to the main square and the old town (20-25 min on foot). Upon returning to the airport, buy your ticket from the dedicated Vardar Express office inside the bus station, and catch the bus from the stop signed "Airport Bus" on the street underneath the viaduct of the train station (Kuzman Josifovski Pitu Кузман Јосифовски Питу), in front of the Zegin Pharmacy (Аптека Apteka). Buses are scheduled to arrive about an hour prior to a flight, so you'll have plenty of time for exchanging back your left-over denars, check-in, passport control, security check, and boarding in Skopje's little trafficked airport.
  • By taxi. Hailing a taxi would cost approximately €15 - 25 to centre, or arranging private hire beforehand for a lower price.
  • By car. 20 km southeast. The airport is accessed by the main highway Belgrade-Skopje-Thessaloniki which connects it directly with the city.

Destinations: Ljubljana, Vienna, Sofia (seasonal), Zagreb, Prague, Zurich, Dubai, Belgrade, Dortmund, Dusseldorf, Istanbul, Venice - Treviso, and London - Luton.

As an alternative option, Kosovar capital Pristina may offer cheaper deals than flying directly into Skopje on some routes. However, with no public transport connecting it with the city, consider if it's worth the effort when you add the €20+ taxi ride into downtown Pristina and €5 bus ride to Skopje on the top of the flight fare. International Airport of Pristina is 3 hours away by bus from Skopje.

By train[edit]

  •    Train Station (near the National Central Bank). The transport center includes the train and the bus station together. To get to the city centre from the bus/train station, if you don't have a map, walk west along the main road which passes under the station (Mt Vodno with its cross is south, i.e. on your left). When you get to the river go left and follow the river until you arrive at the old bridge and central square. About 15 minutes walk.

Belgrade, Serbia (daily, 9 hours); Thessalonika, Greece (weekly, 9 hours)

By bus[edit]

  • Bus Station (Avtobuska stanica, Автобуска станица) (The bus station is under the viaduct of the railway station, east of the central Macedonia Square. Outside, the taxis and their somewhat persistent touts will be waiting (a "maybe later", or a total indifference will quickly lead them to give up on you), but keep in mind that the central square is just 15-20 min walking away.),  +389 2 2466011. It has a small store selling snacks and drinks, another with bureks on the offer, and a reliable exchange office (open 6:30-18:30). Tickets for all destinations and companies are bought from central ticket booths (signed БЛАГАЈНА), except for the Vardar Express buses to the airport (see above), and then shown to the attendant at the gate upon accesing the platforms (Перон Peron) outside; the destination of the bus on each platform is displayed on digital screens in Macedonian Cyrillic and its Roman transliteration. All the staff at the bus station seem to speak at least basic English.

Sofia and Pristina leaving at 6AM and 5PM, daily.

Prizren leave at 5:30AM and 9AM and take 2–3 hours.

Also available buses to Belgrade, Thessaloniki (Mo and We only), Istanbul, Zagreb, Austria, Germany, Dubrovnik, Tirana, and Podgorica.

If you wish to travel to Skopje from Sofia, Matpu 96 run three buses a day. Their office can be found in the Sofia Central Bus Station, and the buses are at 09:30, 16:00 and 19:00. The cost of a ticket is 33 Lev (€16.50) as of July 2013, but they accept Euros too. This includes 1 Lev baggage fee. The journey will take around 6 hours and will also include a time zone change from Sofia (GMT + 2) to Skopje (GMT + 1 or Central European Time), so the 16:00 bus will arrive at Skopje Bus Station at approximately 21:00. The website, in English

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

Skopje has a vast, frequent and efficient bus network. Public buses (red in colour) cost 35 MKD if you pay the driver, or 30 MKD if you buy your ticket in advance from a kiosk. Private buses (all the other colours) cost 25 MKD (you pay the driver directly). The new double-deck buses may feature English translations of routes, but it's easier just to stick to the bus numbers. Bus maps can be found on almost all bus stops (still in the process of putting them up). Hotels will help with info. and the odd taxi fare can be saved!

By taxi[edit]

Taking a taxi in Skopje should normally not cost more than 300 MKD. An example journey is from City Centre to Biser (a shopping centre with many bars and cafes that is popular with young people) which should take about 5-10 mins and cost around 150 Denars (MKD).

From the train station to the center of the city is 2km and should cost 50 MKD. Never let yourself be talked into going somewhere where you did not plan to go in the first place. Like many cities in Europe, if you seem unsure and foreign, the charge will probably be higher so appear confident about the price and if the taxi driver still insists on a ridiculous price, find another taxi, there are plenty.

See[edit]

Part of Kale fortress

Most people in Skopje just see the concrete buildings and run away, but if one looks deeper one will find some excellent examples of Ottoman architecture and much more. Most of the sights in Skopje are situated in and around the old bazaar.

  •    Philip II. Kale Fortress (Skopje Citadel, Филип II Тврдина Кале). Stands on the highest hill in the Skopje valley and offers great views over the city. The oldest section of the fortress is within the present day fortifications. It is 121m long and is built in opus qvadrum style (huge stone blocks on the outside and small stones inside) by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian who was born in the village of Taorion near Skopje. After the great earthquake of 518 when ancient Skupi was destroyed, Justinian decided to do something for his birth town and built Justinijana Prima on the site of present day Skopje. Unfortunately no major archaeological work has been done for discovering the remains of Justinijana Prima. Most of the present day fortifications originate from the 10th century (the square tower) and 13th century (the round tower). It was reinforced during the Turkish rule when the number of towers was up to 70 (today there are just 3 standing) and the fortress went down to river Vardar and up on the hill where today the Museum of Conteporary Art stands. The small gate from the side of the old bazaar is the only gate still standing and it was built in 1446. The fortress was badly damaged in the fire in 1689 and even more during the earthquake of 1963.
    •    Strength, Glory and Victory Monument (At the Fortress).
the Stone Bridge
  •    Stone Bridge (Камен мост). The Stone Bridge was built in the 6th century by the Byzantine emperor Justinian. Since then it has been the symbol of the city and every ruler tried to leave a mark on it, even Skopje's last major who has been restoring it for 10 years now. The biggest reconstruction of the bridge was made in the second half of the 15th century by Sultan Mehmed II. The stone fence and guard tower were added then. Unfortunately the guard tower fell down during the most recent restoration and is waiting to be reconstructed. It still is the main connection of the main square and the old bazaar. While walking over it try to notice the 6th century big stone blocks. The bridge has 13 arches and is 214m long.
  •    Macedonia Square. Even though most of the interesting sights are on the other side of the Stone Bridge, there are couple of interesting sights around Macedonia Square. The square has changed a lot after the earthquake, most of the neoclassical buildings are gone except for a small section of houses in the center. Some more are on Maksim Gorki street and around (look for the Italian Embassy and the Arabian House Hotel). From the main square when you turn to enter the shopping mall look for a marked place. This is the place where the house of Mother Theresa used to stand. She was born in this house and lived here until she turned 18 when she left first for Ireland and then for India.

Several statues of Macedonian revolutionary figures can also be seen, such as Goce Delcev Dame Gruev in addition to older figures such as Tsar Samuil and Justinian the First. By far the most impressive stature is that of Alexander the Great, standing at some 26m in height.

  •    Parliament Building (Собрание на Република Македонија), (11-ти Октомври) 10 (Parliament Building). Built in 1933 by Viktor Hudak in modernistic style.
  • City Hospital (diagonal from the Parliament Building). Built in 1931 by the Croatian architect Drago Ibler and is the most beautiful example of modern architecture in Skopje.
  • Feudal Tower (Феудалната кула) (Back on the main square, take Macedonia Street leading towards the Old Railway Station. The street has a couple of nice cafes. Right after you pass the crossroad look left to see the Feudal Tower.). It is not known when was it built or what its purpose was. It probably served as a defence tower on a property of a Turkish aristocrat. Today it serves as a souvenir shop and you can enter and see it from the inside. Right in front of it on the site of the old catholic church (destroyed in the earthquake) there is a monument to Mother Theresa.
  • Former Double Hamam. The Double Hamam was built in the middle of the 15th century by Isa beg. It was used as both a male and female bath, but unlike Daut Pasha Hamam where both parts go parallel to each other, here the heating room is in the middle and the entrances are on the opposite sides. Today is used as a gallery for temporary exhibits.
  • Bedesten (Безистенот). The most precious goods, like silk, spices, jewelry and perfumes, were sold in the bedesten, an object within the old bazaar, with gates which were closed in the evenings so the goods would be protected. Evlija Celebija who visited Skopje during the 17th century wrote that the only bigger and more beautiful bedesten from the one in Skopje was the one in Damascus. It was covered with 12 valutes and it held a whole bazaar inside. Unfortunately that bedesten disappeared in the fire of 1689. After the fire Skopje became much smaller and lost its importance as a trading center, so somewhere in the beginning of the 17th century the present bedesten was built. It is small and it is not even covered, but it still has a lot of atmosphere in it. It has just 5 short streets, small shops and four gates. In the past it was covered with wine grape, so it would protect the shoppers from the sun and the rain.
  • Clock Tower (Саат-кула). Every bazaar in Macedonia has a clock tower, as Muslims had to close their stores five times a day to attend prayer. Working hours were introduced in the old bazaar, and nobody had a chance to work and earn more than the other, so the clock towers were built. Skopje’s clock tower is the first one ever to be built in the Ottoman Empire, which show us the importance of Skopje as a trading center. It was built during 1566-72. It has more Islamic appearance than the other clock towers in Macedonia. The clock on the clock tower was brought from Szeged, Hungary. Unfortunately the clock disappeared during the chaos after the earthquake and today is in a clock museum in Switzerland.
  • Bey's Tower. A 14m high residential tower from the 17th century, this is the oldest building in Centar Municipality (central Skopje). Built for defense, with 1.5m thick walls, a high door and small windows on the lower floors, the tower would protect the family living here against all attackers. In the tower are the Mother Teresa memorial and the National Museum shop. The square in front of the tower was the location of the small catholic Church, which was destroyed in 1963.
Daut Pasha Hamam
  •    Daut Pasha Hamam (Даут-пашината бања), Crvena Skopska Opshtina. Daut Pasha was the grand vesir of East Rumelia in the second half of the 15th century. He was based in Skopje and the legend goes that he built the hamam (Turkish bath) for the needs of his harem. Before he left, he donated the hamam to the city. It was a double bath both for males and females (who bathed separately of course), the male and the female part going parallel next to each other. The two big domes in the front covered the two dressing rooms, which had water fountains in the middle. Each of the small domes covered a separate room for bathing. The heating room was on the end. Today the bath serves as a national gallery with a great collection of late 19 and 20 century art, and even if you are not interested in the art, you should go inside to see the elaborate decorations of the domes.
  • Chivta Hammam (Чивте-амам, Chifte bath, Чифте амам).
  • Gjulchiler Hammam (Ѓулчилер амам).
  • Old New Hammam bath (Амам Стара нова бања).
Skopje's Aqueduct
  • Aqueduct (Аквадукт) (On the exit of Skopje towards Kosovo, right before the village of Vizbegovo. Turn right at the first traffic signal you encounter on the road to Kosovo (you can only turn right). Turn right again immediately at the first opportunity. The pavement ends abruptly. Follow the unpaved road to the left that runs alongside the canal. After about 300 meters, you will see the aqueduct in front of you.). It is still not known when it was built. Many people claim it is from Roman times but it goes opposite of Skupi so that theory doesn’t make much sense. It was probably built during Byzantine times and it is sure that it was still used during Turkish times when it provided water for the public baths. 55 stone arches of the Aqueduct are still standing.

Ottoman inns[edit]

Mosques
  • Kapan Han (Капан ан). One of the three remaining Ottoman caravanserais still standing in the old bazaar. The ground floor used to house the horses and the goods of the merchants that visited the bazaar and the city, while on the first floor were the rooms where the people slept. The han was built in the 15th century. Today it houses a nice restaurant.
  • Suli Han (Сули ан). An Ottoman caravanserai built in the first half of the 15th century by Ishak beg. It was badly damaged during 1963 earthquake and today it houses the arts faculty of Skopje University. It also houses the Old Bazaar Museum.
  • Kurshumli Han (Куршумли ан). The "Lead Inn" is the largest and the most beautiful of the three remaining Ottoman caravanserais. It was built in 1550 by Mula Musledin Hodza, son of Abdul Gani scientist on the court of Sultan Selikm II. Both the ground and the first floor are made of stone and beautiful arches line the courtyard. The han has two courtyards, the second one was used to house the horses and the goods of the merchants and the guests, while the rooms around the first courtyard both on the ground and the first floor housed the guests. There is a water fountain in the middle of the first courtyard. The roof was covered with lead, and that is how the an got its name (lead is used for making bullets, and bullet is called kurshum in Turkish). Next to the han is where a mosque and a hammam (Turkish bath) used to stand, they both suffered in the big fire of 1689 and the earthquake of 1963, so today the mosque is gone and the amam stands in ruins. Today the Kurshumli Han is on the grounds of the Macedonian National Museum and houses the lapydarium.

Museums[edit]

  • Old Railway Station – Skopje City Museum (Старата железничка станица). The Old Railway Station stands half ruined as a monument to the earthquake of 1963. It was built in 1938 by Velimir Gavrilovik in a modern style with Byzantine decoration. Today it houses an exhibition gallery and a small city museum (it can be a good substitute if you don’t have time for the National Museum).
  •    Museum of Contemporary Art (Музеј на современата уметност), Samolyeva (Самоилова бб). Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 9:00-13:00, On Mondays closed, - Library M-F 9:00-15:00. Has a collection of 4,800 artworks, out of which 1,760 are gifts from artists from 61 countries, including Picasso, Aleshinski, Leze, Sulaz, Lui Can, Hartung, Gaitis, Buri, Millares, Kemeni, Kalder, Vasarely, and others. All these artists donated their works to the city after the earthquake in 1963 for the new art museum. The building itself is a gift from Poland. Around 1,600 works are from Macedonian artists. With all of this Skopje actually has the most complete and biggest collection of contemporary art in Southeastern Europe. Unfortunately because the building badly needs repairs just parts of the collection are periodically on display. Entrance is free of charge.
  •    Museum of the Macedonian Struggle. is a national museum of the Republic of Macedonia located in the capital city of Skopje. Construction of the museum began June 11th 2008 and it was opened to the public on the 20th anniversary of the declaration of independence on September 8th, 2011. The building is located between the Museum of Archeology (under construction), the Holocaust Museum of Macedonia, the Stone Bridge and the Vardar River. - The exhibit covers the fight for Macedonian statehood from the days of the Hajduks against the Turkish occupation during the Ottoman Empire until the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia on 8th September 1991. The guided tours take the visitors through 13 exhibits ending in front of the original copy of the 1991 Declaration of Independence.
  • Natural Science Museum (within the zoo). made by Stanko Karaman in the 1920s. Here you can see the petrographic-mineralogy exhibition, botanical exhibition, palaeontology exhibition, entomological exhibition, and vertebrates’ exhibition, exhibition of indigenous fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and animals. The museum is one of the richest in the Balkans with palaeontology materials of fauna from the Pickering region.
  •    Macedonian National Museum & Icon Gallery (Музеј на Македонија), Prohor Pcinski(Прохор Пчински). Divided in three departments: Archeological, Historical, and Ethnological (the same ticket covers them all). It is highly advise to visit the ethnological section, since it is a very good one. It has about 70 original national costumes from different parts of Macedonia, all decorated with highly stylised patterns. Look for the wedding dress from Mariovo, it is 40 kg heavy, and the wig that the bride had to wear for a month after the wedding as a symbol of her virginity. Also different customs are explained, and there is also a good presentation of traditional architecture through models and photographs. The archaeological section has a rich collection of objects from the neolithic times 5000 years B.C. up to the 7th century. Unfortunately many artifacts have been taken to Belgrade or Sofia through the years and they have never been returned. The highlights are the Tetovo Menada figurine (from the 6th c. BC) and the prehistoric figurines of the Great Mother. Unique are the 6th century terracotta icons from Vinica (icons like this have been found only in Tunisia and Macedonia). The historic department is not as interesting, but also presented here are copies of the best frescoes from all around Macedonia (which is good if one is interested in Byzantine art but doesn't have time to travel around). The gallery of icons is also here, it has icons from the 10th to the 19th century, and even some of them are the best ones from Macedonia (including the Bogorodica Pelagonitisa), but the Ohrid collection is still much nicer and more valuable.
  •    City MuseumSs. Cyrill i Methodius (Св. Кирил и Методиj) Street.

Churches[edit]

  •    St. Bogorodica (~Boulevard Krste Petkov Misirkov). This church was built in 1835 and was the cathedral church in Skopje. It was also known as the protector of the city. The iconostatis was finished in 1842. On April 7th, 1944 the cathedral church, was burned down by fascists. The entire iconostasis was burned, while important subjects were stolen. It's located on the Krste Misirkov bvd., opposite of the Macedonian Academy of Science and Art (MANU).
  • St. Kliment of Ohrid Cathedral (Xpам Св. Климент Охридски.). After Virgin Mary Cathedral was burned by the fascists on the end of WWII, and St. Dimitrie church was unable to meet the needs of the people, building of the new cathedral started in 1970. The architect is Slavko Brezovski, and it is a bold and contemporary interpretation of Orthodox architecture. The Jesus Pantocrator fresco painted in the main dome covers area of 70sqm and his eye is 1.5m long.
  • St. Saviour Church (црква Св. Спас) (Just a few steps below Mustafa Pasha mosque). The church is tiny and it has a pleasant courtyard. In the courtyard is the grave of Macedonia's greatest national hero who was leader of the national movement for liberation from the Turks, and Macedonian independence, Goce Delchev. There is a small museum about him in the buildings around the courtyard (you have to enter the museum to buy a ticket for the church). Among the paving of the courtyard there are some 18th and 19th century gravestones. Turks didn’t allow building of new churches during their occupation, but as the empire was weakening in the 18th century they started giving permits for building of churches to keep the population happy. There were many rules to be followed like the exterior had to be without decorations and the floor of the church had to be at least one meter below the ground so the church wouldn’t dominate the skyline of the city. St. Saviour Church is example of one of these churches. It was built in the beginning of 19th century on the site of a church destroyed in the 1689 fire (as you enter, turn right to see remains of the frescoes and the level of the earlier church). The church is famous for its interior and wood carving. The iconscreen is work of Petre Filipovski Garkata and Marko and Makarie Frckovski, the best wood artists in the 19th century in Macedonia. In 1926 a British museum offered a blank check for the iconscreen, the state to fill in the amount if they decide to sell it. The beauty of it is that it is a deep wood carving from whole wood boards (the figures are not attached to each other), and it is not covered with golden paint, as it is tradition in Orthodox churches so the game of light and dark shades is quite dramatic (the doors into the altar and the cross on the top are covered with gold paint, so you can compare). The iconscreen was made from 1819 to 1824 and is 10 meters long and 7 meters high. There are scenes from the old and the new testament. The figurines are 7 cm tall. Look for the creation of Adam and Eve on one of the columns next to the doors of the altar and the dance of Salome, where she dances for king Irod so he would give her the head of St.John the Baptist (she is dressed in traditional a dress from Galichnik). All around there are flowers and animals typical for the region presented. On the far right look for the self-portrait of the artists presented as they are working on the icon screen. The icons are some of the best of the Byzantine revival.
Mother Teresa Monument
  • Mother Teresa HouseUlica Makedonija (Macedonia Street) (not far from the City Museum). Mother Teresa was born and lived in Skopje until she was 18. The original house is no longer present, but there is a tranquil modern chapel—architecturally remarkable in that it's a jumble of cubes, stone walls, and shiny mirrored glass, as if it's a real life interpretation of Escher's works, and, like everything built in Skopje in modern times, utterly kitschy—and interpretive centre on the site.
  •    Church St. DemetriusCrvena Skopska Opshtina.
  • St. George Monastery (Манастир „Св. Ѓорѓи“).

Mosques[edit]

View of Mustafa Pasha`s Mosque - North-Western side
  •    Mustafa Pasha Mosque (Мустафа-пашината џамија) (Fort Kale). Stands on a plateau above the old bazaar and is one of the most beautiful Islamic buildings in Macedonia. It was built in 1492 by Mustafa Pasha, vesir on the court of Sultan Selim I. The mosque is quite elegant and intact, and no additions have been made through the years. The interior is beautiful, simple, and spacious. Take few steps back to observe the game of the domes of the fountain, the porch, and the mosque. In the turbe next to the mosque, the daughter of Mustafa Pasha is buried. The mosque has a pleasant rose garden and it offers fine views over the bazaar. Free entrance.
  • Sultan Murat Mosque (Султан-муратовата џамија),  077 633 267. The biggest mosque in the Balkans. It was built with money donated by the Sultan himself and when ever adjustments or repairs were needed it was his responsibility (Sultan Suleiman the Great donated money for the repairs after the fire of 1537, and Sultan Ahmet III for the repairs after the fire of 1689). It was built in 1436. The unusual 3 naved basilica shape and the flat ceiling (instead of domes) comes from the fact that it was built (or adjusted) over St. George monastery, the main monastery in Skopje before the coming of the Turks. It stands on a plateau next to the clock tower (built 1566). The fortifications of the monastery still stand around the plateau. The main architect of the mosque was Husein from Debar. The imam Liman Ismail likes to introduce the mosque to visitors (in English, Turkish) against a donation for the mosque.
  • Ishak beg Mosque (Исхак-бегова џамија) (on the end of Bit Pazar). built in 1438 by Ishak beg, a commander in the Turkish army. He led the army that conquered Macedonia and after he retired he settled in Skopje. The mosque was beautifully decorated with glazed tiles in different shades of blue, but it suffered greatly during the fire of 1689, and was rebuilt afterwards without the tile decorations. The six sided turbe (mausoleum) that stands next to the mosque didn’t suffer in the fire and it still has its tiles. The turbe was built just for the aristocracy, usually for the one who donated the money for the mosque to be built or for members of his family, but Ishak beg was so grateful to his accountant that he built this turbe for him.
  • Isa beg Mosque (Иса-бегова џамија). Built in 1475 by Isa beg. It is the only Seljuk mosque in Europe. The difference of this mosque is that it has two main domes (two joined rooms). It has a 5 domed porch. The mosque is situated behind the Čair Hospital across the street from Bit Pazar.
  • Jahja Pasha Mosque (Јахја-пашина џамија) (in the beginning of Čair quarter close to the Bit Pazar.). Built in 1504 by Jahja Pasha, a commander in the Turkish army and son in law of Sultan Bajazit II and vesir on his court. The mosque is interesting because the roof is in the shape of a pyramid instead of the usual dome. The minaret is the tallest one in Skopje, it is 50 meters tall, and has been hit by a lighting twice.
  • Kjosev Qadi Mosque (Kose Qadi Mosque, Џамија Ќосе Кади).
  • Arasta Mosque (Араста џамија).
  • Dukanchik Mosque (Дуќанџик џамија).
  • Ibn Payko Mosque (Ибни Пајко џамија).
  • Lighit Pasha Mosque (Јигит-пашина џамија).
  • Kazanlitsar Mosque (Казанџилер џамија).
  • Remains of Turbe Ishak Bey (Турбе на Исхак-бег).
  • Haji Balaban Mosque (Џамија Хаџи Балабан).
  • Hudaverdi Mosque (Џамија Худаверди).
  • Haji-kasamova (Хаџи-касамова).

Synagogues[edit]

  • Beth Aron Synagogue (Синагога Бет Ахарон).
  • Beth Jacob Synagogue (Синагога Бет Јаков).

Others[edit]

  • Ukumat villayet konak (Вилаетски конак „Уќумат“).
  • Old Turkish post (Стара турска пошта).
  • Skanderbeg Monument (Споменик на Скендербег).
  • Hourses Fountain.
  • Monument to the Warrrior..
  • Ss Cyril and Methodius Monument (At University campus).
  • Ristic palace.
  • Gate of Macedonia (Porta Macedonia).
  • Monuments of Delcev and Gruev.

Do[edit]

  •    Macedonian National TheatreIljo Vojvoda. Built in 1945. With its big white walls, and almost without windows and with an incline, it is known as "the bounce board." It was made by Stefan Kacin, Jurij Princes, Bogdan Splindler, and Marjan Urshic. The theatre has a large stage and seats for 850 spectators, and also a small stage for 200 spectators. The State Ballet is also stationed in this building. This theatre holds theatre, opera, and ballet performances all year round.
  • City Park. a large green area in the center of Skopje. A part of it is a museum, with several monuments within. It is a nice place to go for recreation, as there are pathways around the small lakes, tennis courts, the children’s amusement park, cafes, restaurants, etc. The city Zoo and stadium are also within the park. In the summer, the Skopje's nightlife concentrates on the several nightclubs in this park.
  • Stroll through the town. You can get a good first impression of the city's sights in one or two hours, covering bazaar, fort and post-earthquake buildings. Equipped with a guidebook and a city map you can easily do it on your own - but if you want to have a real guide, there are some available. Sashko's tip-based tour runs daily at noon (see http://www.skopjewalkingtour.com/).

Day Tours[edit]

  •    Explore Matka Canyon (twenty minutes outside of Skopje; bus line 60 starting at the central bus station). Features a lake and a hydrodam. Climbers enjoy a variety of tours of varying difficulty there. If you go don't miss the restaurant "Bear's Cave" (in Macedonian: Mechkina dupka) near the kayak trail which is built into a cave. Kayaking on the Treska River is a popular activity, as are fishing, hunting, and swimming. There are 10 caves at Matka Canyon.
    • Vrelo Cave (on the right bank of the Treska River, at the Matka Canyon). This has many stalactites including a large "Pine Cone" named due to its shape. There are two lakes at the end of the cave.
    • Monasteries in Matka Canyon Area. St. Andrew's Monastery is situated in the gorge of the Treska River. Built in 1389. - Matka Monastery, or Monastery of the Holy Mother of God, built in the 14th century. - St. Nicholas Monastery is located on a cliff above the canyon and St. Andrew's Monastery. The first mention of it was in the 17th century. The iconstasis of the church was painted in 1645, while the western side was frescoed in 1630. The monastery offers a unique view high above the canyon.
  •    Kadina Reka Hunting SiteZelenikovo (25 km from Skopje, On the mountain massif of Mountain Karadjica, part of Mountain Jakupica, Dautica and Aliagica). 21.100 Hectare area. The relief of the mountain massifs in the hunting area is characterized with heterogeneousness and significant differences in altitude of 2240 m, which enables zonal distribution of the game.
  •    Climb Vodno Mountain (Водно) (the largest mountain to the south of Skopje; bus Millenium Cross (without line no.)). 1066 meters above sea level it towers over Skopje. It is a popular hiking place with marked paths leading through the woods and there are a couple of rest areas. Climbing this mountain will give the best views of the city and the valley which Skopje is in. You will also be able to see close up and possibly also climb the Millenium Cross, the largest Christian cross in the world, built to celebrate 2000 years of Christianity. It is 66 meters high and it is the highest structure in Macedonia. You will also be able to see a monument dedicated to the Macedonian partisan fighters who defeated Axis forces that were stationed on Vodno, which allowed the liberation of Skopje to begin. -*Vodno Mountain
  •    Explore Skopska Crna Gora (Скопска Црна Гора). Meaning "Black Mountain of Skopje". - even though Vodno is the most popular hiking option in Skopje, a fun and educational day trip from Skopje is visiting the villages, churches and monasteries on Skopska Crna Gora Mountain. Easiest way to do it is with a car, but also one can take a bus to one of the villages like Banjani or Kuceviste, and hike to the surrounding points of interest. St.Nikita monastery in Banjani village was built in by Serbian king Milutin in 1307-08 on a site of an earlier church. It is a single domed church of a written cross architectonical solution. The frescoes are work of the famous Ohrid painters Mihailo and Eftihie. Unfortunately they lack the energy and the technique of Bogorodica Perivlepta church in Ohrid. It is quite probable that by now they had a big group of students around them and they just controlled the work. If one looks carefully one can see where them two picked up the brush and corrected the work. Most significant fresco is the Pursuit of the Merchants from the temple where one can see the human elements characteristic for their work.
  • Marko’s Monastery (outside Sushica village on Kitka mountain. - There is a bus going to the village but just few times per day. From the village there is half hour walk to the monastery. Behind it there is a river and a small picnic area.). is an active monastery. It was founded by king Volkashin in 1345 and finished by his son King Marko in 1366, who is also the donor of the frescoes painted between 1366 and 1371. It is unknown why the monastery is built in the vicinity of Skopje instead of Prilep the capital of their medieval kingdom. It is presumed that the grave of king Marko (who died in Romania fighting the Turks) is here but it was destroyed by the Turks. The architecture of the church is a cross in square with a central dome and a blind dome in the narthex. The elegant exonarthex (open porch) was added in 1830 by Hamzi Pasha, who was a generous donor of the monastery throughout the 19th century. It is quite surprising a Turkish aristocrat to be a donor of an Christian monument. The frescoes are work of more artists with different skills and are well preserved. Visible is the tendency for adding dramatization and narrative painting of the scenes. Most interesting is the unique scene The cry of Rahela (Mathew 2:18). On the southern façade the portraits of king Volkashin and king Marko are painted. - While in the area also visit St.Bogorodica church (also referred as St.Nikola church) in Sushica village, built in the 13th century.
  • St.Bogorodica ChurchKucevishte village. the naos was built closely before 1348. The narthex was built somewhere between 1355 and 1358 by local aristocrat Radoslav and his wife Vladislava. Above the nathex there is a grave chapel for Radoslav and Vladislava. The painter of the frescoes of the naos is quite good, educated, well acquainted with the work of Mihailo and Eftihie, quite probable their student. Still his work doesn’t reach their energy, colors and elegance, but he is quite good in composition and placing figures in it. Like his teachers he did sign his name on the northern column by the iconscreen, his name is Grigorie. The frescoes of the narthex have been damaged by fire and the grave chapel was painted by a less skilled painter. Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel Monastery in Kucevishte village was built towards the end of the 14th or maybe the beginning of the 15th century. The church is threeconhos with a dome, and elaborate ceramic decorations on the façades. There are two inscriptions dating the frescoes from 1631 and 1701. The figures are presented small in size, poor in colors but with bold drawing with an attempt to present landscape. Most famous is the large presentation Tree of Jesse.
  • St. Nikola churchLjuboten village. was built in 1337 by Mrs. Danica a local aristocrat whose sons had important positions (something like mayors or governors) of strategic positions on the entrance of the city. She built the church in honor of her passed husband. It is a single domed church of a written cross architectonical solution. Parts of the frescoes are in bad condition. Influenced by the works of Mihailo and Eftihie. The Serbian royal family is presented (king Dushan, queen Elena and prince Urosh), it is interesting that the painting treatment of them, especially the colors are different than those for the saints.
  • Tumba archaeological site. Ceramic models of houses formed in the shape of the female body are among its valuable finds from the Early Stone Age.
  • Cerje archaeological site. Its unique finds include the figurine known as Adam from Govrlevo, one of the earliest prehistoric male figurines, from the Early Stone Age.
  • Gradishte. - a fortified settlement from the Early Byzantine period. It is believed to be Taoresion, the native town of Emperor Justinian.
  • Marko's Castle. - An Early Byzantine fortress, heavily fortified with 40 towers. It was the site of the medival town of Crnce.
  • Remains of Skupi. - the ancient city of Skupi is almost not worth the effort to reach. There is almost nothing left except for part of a street, a bath, and a basilica. After the city was ruined by the earthquake of 518, all the building material was used in the building of Justinijana Prima (one can see almost all of the seats of the Roman theatre incorporated in Kale Fortress). It is interesting that even though the earthquake was very strong and completely ruined Skupi there were almost no casualties. The inhabitants fled the city just two days before fearing from Avar attacks and settled in the small fortresses they had built on Vodno and in Matka.

Events[edit]

  • Skopje Summer Festival. The epithets such as the most abundant, the most various, the longest and, according to many authorized marks, one of the most qualitative cultural manifestation of international character which is held in Macedonia, characterize Skopje Summer. This manifestation has even received an acknowledgement of its reputation outside the Macedonian borders which is verified by the membership of the International Festivals & Events Association - IFEA.
  • Offest. This festival takes place on several locations in Skopje, such as the Universal Hall, Skopje Square, the Youth Cultural Center, and many attractive night clubs in the city. June.
  • Skopje Jazz Festival. For one week every October, Skopje hosts eminent jazz musicians from all over the world. The Skopje Jazz Festival is considered to be one of the best of its kind in Europe. October.
  • May Opera Evenings. The May Opera Evenings have been one of the most visited events in Skopje. Over the years, the stage of the Macedonian Ballet and Opera Theatre has hosted a number of ballet performances, operas, and many concerts. This event represents a true professional challenge for the artists and a wonderful musical experience for the audience.
  • Autumn Music. November. Organized to enrich the music life with its genres and themes in accordance to its conception and to provide another place for the performances of the native and foreign artist. There is the classical music as a base of this manifestation's programme, yet it always leaves space for the other types of music genres such as jazz, popular song, ethno music etc.
  • VINO SKOP - Skopje Wine Festival. October. Wine tasting, vineyard visits, live musical entertainment from international artists in the heart of the city.
  • BuskerFest. May/June for 10 days. Street performers Festival. Tours Macedonian cities, as well as Budva, Montenegro and Sibenik, Croatia.
  • PIVOLEND. August/September. Gourmet weekend with beer.
  • Vasilica (New Year). 14th January. Celebrated in the home.
  • Herdelezi / Djurdjevden. 8th of May. Spring festival celebrated at home and in public. Usually crowned by a great open air concert. After Herdelezi the wedding season begins. Almost every day you can meet a wedding procession or a procession accompanying the gifts for the bride.

Learn[edit]

  • Ss. Cyril and Methodius University - The Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje was founded in 1949 consisting three faculties and today it represents a family of twenty-three faculties, ten institutes and other institutions. The present structure of the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University can be illustrated with the following figures: over 36,000 students from the Republic of Macedonia as well as over 700 foreign students are enrolled at all faculties; over 2,300 teaching and scientific staff and associates are engaged in the teaching, educational and scientific process at the faculties and over 300 at the institutes.
  • University American College Skopje - an institution for higher education that combines American and European methods.

Buy[edit]

Skopje central square

Shopping centers and markets[edit]

  • Old Bazaar (Старата турска чаршија,). Even though some parts of the old bazaar have been destroyed to make streets and parking lots, it still is the largest one in the Balkans. It has developed and changed during the centuries but it still has its original use as a shopping place. The old bazaar was never used for living, it always was a shopping area and contact zone of the Christian and the Muslim population as they lived in separate parts of the town. It is a structure of many streets lined with small shops. The crafts were divided between the Christians and the Muslims. All the shops used to be same size no matter if they belonged to a Christian or a Muslim. Each street hosted different craft, and all stores from that craft were on one street (for example gold street, shoes street, pots street, dress street, etc). The stores were closed with wooden shutters which were lowered when the stores were opened and the goods were displayed on them. The old bazaar was surrounded with markets. Hygienic care was taken and different markets were placed on opposite sides of the bazaar (for example the food market was on the opposite side of the bazaar from the animal market; milk, milk products and honey market opposite from the wood market etc). Beside the stores there were other objects in the old bazaar too, like amams (Turkish baths), hans (hotels), mosques, and some churches. The outside walls were usually were surrounded with stores so no space would be wasted. Even today it is hard to spot some of this object.
  • Bit Pazar (Бит-пазар). the biggest of the food markets in Skopje. It begins where the bazaar ends and has existed on the same spot for hundreds of years. A walk around can be fun, but you can also get cheap fresh fruits, vegetables, salads, cheese, teas, spices and flowers. Another good food market to visit is the Green Market (Zeleno Pazarce), near the Parliament Building and Bunjakovec Market near the Cathedral.
  • GTC. the biggest shopping center in the city. It was made in the 1970s by Zivko Popovski. It includes cafes, restaurants, bars, banks, shops,and even has a bowling court.
  • Ramstore Mall. if you are looking for an American looking mall, this is where you'll want to go. It has shops, restaurants, cafes and cinema.
  • Super VEROBoulevard Kuzman Josifovski - Pitu. Another American-looking mall recently completed and part of the VERO network. Very spacious with a huge supermarket, a few restaurants and cafes, the huge Jumbo shop (Target-like), and all kinds of small shops for clothing, accessories, T-Mobile/T-Home, ONE and VIP salons etc. It has good parking.
  • Biser. A new shopping center with very nice cafes, bar, and shops. It can be found in the Aerodrom municipality of Skopje. Many young people from the city come to spend their extra time here. Shops include mobile phones, electronics, clothes and banks. There is also a supermarket across the street.
  • Bunjakovec. this is one of the malls were everybody can find something to buy. It is in one of the busiest thoroughfares in Skopje. In includes many shops and boutiques.
  •    City Gallery shopping centerMacedonia Square. A new one in Skopje with lots of high quality fashion stores and very interesting structure, like a labyrinth
  •    Skopje City Mallул. Љубљанска бр.4 (Ljubljanska 4), e-mail: . 08:00AM-01:00AM. The newest modern mall in Skopje is the biggest of its kind in the region. It houses around 150 shops, 9 cinemas, a 4.500 м2 hypermarket, restaurants and bars with terraces, bowling center and the biggest kids corner in Macedonia. It has 1500 parking spots and it does not charge for it.

Eat[edit]

Macedonia’s capital offers something to satisfy all modern tastes and appetites. Make sure to try the famous Macedonian foods such as burek, Shopska Salata, and others.

Skopje’s eateries are plentiful and offer a diverse range of local and international flavors. International cuisine is well represented in Skopje with Chinese, Italian, Indian, Greek, Mexican, Middle Eastern and French restaurants all found within the city center. In addition, pizza and fast food places abound, as do small bakery cafes selling pastries such as the ubiquitous burek (a flaky filo pie stuffed with meat, cheese or spinach).

Budget[edit]

  • Alo Alo PizzaGTC Shopping Center, Kej 13 Noemvri ++389 (0) 2 3220 976. Hand tossed pizza. Fresh out of oven.
  • Enriko PizzaLeptokarija Shopping Center +389 (0) 2 3061 273. The menu includes the most delicious, Italian specialties, pizzas, pasta, pizza sandwich etc.
  • Makedonska KukaSity Park nearby Stadium +389-3216016.
  • Picerija KIDKisela Voda, Sava Kovacevic 47v lokal 11 ++389 (0) 77 894 656, e-mail: . 8AM-12PM. Hand tossed pizza. Fresh out of oven.
  • Kaj ГоцеOld Town (one of the first places you come to when wandering from the centre to the old town). Traditional Balkan food. Main course + vegetables + beer + mastika = under 300 MKD/€5.
  • MartiniBoul. Partizanski Odredi, TC Leptokarija sec.5, lok.2 (from the centre walk up Boul. Partizanski (3km!) or even better, take the bus),  +389 2 3061 127, e-mail: . 10AM-1AM. Specialises in waffles, also does pancakes, salads, etc. Waffle + drink = 295 MKD/€5..

Mid-range[edit]

  • Ezerce +389 3122-389.
  • Gino Italian Restaurant +389 3121-109.
  • Restaurant 14 (Taftalidze, near the green market),  +389 3076411. a few minutes drive away from the center of the city. Beside the traditional Macedonian food, macrobiotic and vegetarian dishes are available for the guests.
  • KiboT.C.C. Paloma Bjanka +389 (0) 2 3133 535. Different, mixed salads at your choice, self service.
  • Mirko 919Gavriv Konstantinovic 76 (5 km from the center of Skopje),  +389 (0) 2 2439 157. Range of specialties such barbecue, seafood, game fish. Try the 'Dojran crap' (meaning 'carp'), as well as roast meat, frog legs etc.
  • HarmonijaT.C. Skopjanka no.37 +389 0 2 2460 985. Restaurant for macrobiotic, vegetarian, and dietetic food. Food is prepared without gluten as well as specific seminars for alleviation of particular health problems.
  • Zanzibar PizzaStr.Atinska no. 21 +389 (0) 2 3060506. The only place where you can find pizzas made by the recipes of old Italian chefs spiced with lite jazz motives.
  • Pivnica An, within the Kapan An in the old town. The name is literally translated as "Beerhouse", but this is not a pub! It is one of the few places where you can get a few vegetarian options. Try their delicious "Turli Tava", a rich vegetable casserole.

Splurge[edit]

  • AkordStr. Ankarska 21 +389 0 2 3062614. Bright, modern, colorful atmosphere
  • BalkanikaOktomvriska revolucija 24 (across h. Aleksandar Palace),  +389 (0) 2 3073 713. Ethnic food from Turks, Serbs, Albanians, Bulgarians, Vlaches, Greeks, Gypsies, Bosnians. +phone=+389 (0) 2 3073 712
  • Den I Nok (Day and Night)Str. Skupi bb +389 (0) 2 3092 922, e-mail: . Club restaurant. Piano sounds performed by popular music groups. +phone=+389 (0) 2 3095 666
  • DuomoTeodosie Gologanov no. 67 +389 0 2 3228828. W-Sa,. enjoy in live music. Mediterranean, Italian, national, international and seafood.
  • Dva ElenaStr. Zagrebska 31 ++389 (0) 2 3060900. under the slopes of Vodno mountain
  • EquestrianKuzman J. Pitu no.19, loc.56 +389 (0) 2 246 77 82. Club restaurant.
  • KamnikKamnik b.b. +389-2523522. Located in the hotel of the same name, 150 different wines from all over the world.
  • KejKej 13 Noemvri no.34 ++389 (0) 2 3233 764. Intimate and pleasant place by the Vardar river.
  • MarakanaCity park +389 (0) 2 3221548. Italian specialties, unique sea fruits and fish. The restaurant also has 2 ballrooms with 150 seats, and it also offers the opportunity for cocktail parties with up to 500 guests.
  • Meana KarpicStr. Debarca br. 21 +389 (0) 2 3116 133, e-mail: . Home cuisine, grilled barbecue, grilled fish, cooked vegetables, stews, specialties, music, and wine !
  • NanaSquare Macedonia - Risticeva Palata +389 (0) 2 3214630, e-mail: . Assortment of delicious meals, made from the world finest ingredients, such as caviar, salmon, goose and duck pates, goose liver, proscuitto, tartufo, cheese, fresh vegetables and salads. Offers 40 types of wines in glasses or bottles, including all of the Tikvesh special selection and limited production wines, as well as imported French, Chilean, Spanish, Slovenian white and red wines, foamy wines and champagnes…
  • OkarinaStr. Helsinki no. 58a, nas. Taftalidze (old Cvrga) +389 (0) 23065444. Macedonian and international specialties. live music.
  • Pantelejmonv. Gorno Nerezi +389 (0) 2 30 81 255. Magnificent ambient and view on the city of Skopje from the terrace. Macedonian national cuisine. Try the Pantelejmon pie and sheep yogurt, Pantelejmon pan, Lamb meat in a bowl.
  • RagusaStr.12 Udarna Brigada 2a +389 (0) 2 3212 919. Ambient, accompanied with pleasant music.
  • Roulette Restaurant & ClubSimeon Kavrakirov no. 9a +389 (0) 2 246 76 19. Great choice of different meals and quality wines.
  • Tomce SofkaJordan Hadji Konstatinov Gjinot 14 +389 3224-225. Taste national and international specialties and the evenings here are filled with the sound of old city music, which contributes to the intimate ambiance.
  • Tri BiseriBul. Jane Sandanski br.7 +389-2461-171..
  • UranijaCity Park +389 2 3118 030, e-mail: . Recognized as one of the best restaurants in Macedonia for more than a decade. Nice selection of local wine and food. Free Wi-Fi

Drink[edit]

Cafes[edit]

Its not hard to find good cafes but a good place to start is by the riverside near the old bridge, and at night this becomes a lively party area as well.

Bars[edit]

  • Plenty of bars in the Old Bazar (From Macedonia Square, go across the Stone bridge, and then just keep the straightest line as you can). This area has a plenty of newly open bars, and the night life there recently has become very interesting. Some of the bars there are La Kaña, Damar, Rakija Bar, etc.
  • Irski Pab Sv Patrick (Irish Pub St. Patrick)GTC Skopje.
  • Izzi CaffeKatna Garaza Zebra - Vasil Gjorgov BB (Next to Hotel Queens in the 'Zebra' mall in the neighborhood Kapistec). Cool place to have a drink, in the morning (coffee) or at night. The owner speaks English and will hang out with you to make sure you're taken care of.
  • Penguin PubMito H. Jasmin 50 +389 (0) 2 310 10 20. Daily live music. Try food prepared on volcano stones!
  • Piazza LibertaStr. Dimitrija Cupovski 24 +389 (0) 2 3224 807. Eat the peanuts and throw the shells on the floor!
  • Plaza de TorosKej 13 Noemvr (on the quay of Vardar),  +389 (0) 2 322 8155. Delicious snacks: taco chips with melted cheese, fried chicken wings fresh salads, pizza, warm sandwiches, or some homemade sweets. Offers a large variety of beer on drought.
  • Soul PubStr. Maksim Gorki 20 +389 (0) 2 3113 311. Good music and beer.

Clubs[edit]

  • B2Macedonia Square.
  • Black & White.
  • Club 69Macedonia Square. One of the best clubs in Skopje. Works only four days a week: Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • Club Collosseum. It's a place where often worldwide famous DJ's play music. The club is located under the new railway station.
  • Dynamique.
  • Hard RockMacedonian Cultural Center.
  • Havana.
  • MarakanaCity park.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • Shanti HostelRade Jovcevski Korcagin 11 +389 2 6090807, e-mail: . Small and cozy place located in just 3 minutes walking distance from the international bus and train station, and only 5 minutes from the center of Skopje. Near Shanti Hostel there are large super markets, bars, clubs, theatre, a swimming pool, shopping malls, change office and ATM. From €8 - 10.
  • Art Hostel RiversideAnte Hadzimitkov 5. A popular hostel with backpackers, 20 minutes walk from the station, 15 minutes to City Square. Helpful and friendly staff, this hostel has the feel of student accommodation. Dorms and privates, with shared bathrooms. Free internet access, outdoor social area. 10% discount with a flyer (which you can get from the hostel itself, or hostels in other cities). Dorms from €7.
  • Hostel HostelOgnjan Prica 18, (Anton Popov 18) +389 23 222 321, e-mail: . It doesn't have the most original name, but this friendly little hostel is a great place to stay if you're on a budget. Nice and warm, free internet and friendly staff. Recommended for any backpacking in Skopje. Dorms from €8.
  • Youth Hostel. Also called "Ferialen Dom" or "Mladinski Hotel". Five minutes from the bus/train station at Prolet 25. It has dorms and privates, but the privates are organised more like a hotel i.e. boxy rooms off a corridor. At €50 for a small twin ensuite room, with breakfast, this is not the best value for money

Mid-range[edit]

Splurge[edit]

  • Aleksander PalaceBul. Oktomvriska Revolucija br.15 (5 minute drive from the center),  +389-3092-392. This 5-star hotel is probably the finest and most expensive in all of Skopje.
  • Hotel Ambassador (in the center of Skopje in a quiet neighborhood close to the St. Kliment of Ohrid cathederal.),  +389-3212-353, e-mail: .
  •    Hotel Arka (Hotel Arka), Bitpazarska 90/2 (in the Old Bazaar),  +389 2 3230603. 5-star hotel. Arka is modern, luxurious and comfortable five star hotel. Its interior is furnished according to newest trends in the modern interior architecture. It is situated in the historic nucleus of the Old Skopje Town. From €88.
  • Hotel ContinentalAleksandar Makedonski (adjacent to the Skopje Fair, 5 minutes from downtown Skopje),  +389-3116-599. The largest luxury Hotel located in the city, in a 10000 m2 landscaped garden.
  • Hotel Stone BridgeKej Dimitar Vlahov no.1 +389-3244-900. 5-star hotel. The rooms and suites, many with superb views of the Vardar River, Stone Bridge, Square Macedonia with modern city, Fortress Kale, Old City with Churches and Mosques, are spacious and luxurious, giving an extremely comfortable and elegant feel.
  • Hotel VictoriaSlave Delovski no.18 (500 meters from the center of the city),  +389-2 3107600fax: +389-2 3107610, e-mail: . Three star hotel in very pleasant surroundings isolated of the city noise. Restorant, closed parking space which is secured 24h, reception desk, hall for buffet breakfast.

Stay safe[edit]

Skopje, just like most of the rest of Macedonia, is a relatively safe place. But, the usual rules about common sense apply here as they would anywhere. The places where crime occurs most often are in the places where tourists have little reason to be at. Night time in the old market may have roving bands of youth. Exercise a high level of caution in these areas or avoid this area at night. Like many other parts of Eastern and Central Europe, there are people who will beg around the major tourist sites, they especially target tourist-looking people, and sometimes may engage in pickpocketing.

Cope[edit]

Newspapers[edit]

  • Дневник (Dnevnik) - is a daily newspaper in the Republic of Macedonia. It is published every day except Sunday. The first issue of Dnevnik was published on March 20, 1996. Its current circulation is 50,000.
  • Нова Македонија (Nova Makedonija) - is the oldest daily newspaper in the Republic of Macedonia. It was established with decision of the presidium of ASNOM and remained a state owned newspaper, promoting the government line. The first edition was in 1944, in Gorno Vranovci, and contitutes the first document written in the literary standard Macedonian language.
  • Skopje Diem Provides daily news from Macedonia in English, as well as many useful info for expats in the country. The Team used to be NATO Press Centre in Skopje, and provides daily info on Macedonian matters for almost all embassies, international organisations and foreign media.

Embassies[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Tetovo — just an hour away, Tetovo is the site of the unique and extremely beautiful Painted Mosque, and offers an opportunity to brush up your rusty Albanian skills
  • Ohrid — with its highly scenic hillside location overlooking the lake, no trip to Macedonia is complete without a visit to Ohrid, the city of a thousand churches, or the "Balkan Jerusalem"
  • Kokino - if you want more hill and less lake. A beautiful scenic drive past Kumanovo takes you to a stunning and recently discovered paleolithic solar observatory atop a small mountain.
  • Kosovo — if you decided that what you need is yet another stamp on your passport, the "newest state of Europe" would be happy to arrange one for you, with its border just half an hour away from Skopje. While the national capital, Pristina, offers little beyond a convenient hub to travel around the country, the historic city of Prizren in southern Kosovo, nearer to the Macedonian border, is well worth a visit up there. (Both cities can also be managed as a quick day-trip from Skopje.)
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