Visit Skopje: What do to do in Skopje – Capital of Macedonia

Visit Skopje: Vibrant culture and rich history with a visit to Macedonia’s captivating capital city

In contrast to numerous other Balkan cities like Belgrade, Sofia, and Zagreb, which gained prominence only in the 1800s, Skopje is an ancient city that dates back several millennia. As a result, it is composed of numerous intriguing and even incongruous cultural and historical layers that are evident in everything from the language to the architecture. Don’t let the fact that many of the city’s museums are trapped in a time warp from the Tito era deter you. It is hard to leave any of the locations below without having learned more about the stunning and incredibly intricate nation of Macedonia.


Visit Skopje Fortress

From at least the Bronze Age, humans have lived on the hill above what is now the Old Bazaar, according to archeological findings.

Huge stone blocks that are still visible in the fortress walls were hauled here from the nearby town of Scupi, which was destroyed in an earthquake in 518 AD. This led to the founding of a town here in the early Byzantine era in the sixth and seventh centuries. Emperor Justinian I established the illustrious town of Justinian Prima (c. 482-565). Only three of the stronghold’s seventy towers still stand today. The Ottomans utilized the fortress as a military barracks from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries.

Much of the stronghold was destroyed in the 1963 earthquake, including several of the walls, some of which are presently being restored. Over the past ten or so years, excavation activity has produced a number of intriguing discoveries, such as ancient musical instruments and, in 2010, the greatest collection of Byzantine-era coins ever found in Macedonia. These days, not much to see, but on a clear day, the vistas are rather amazing. Best explored with the assistance of a local tour guide.


Stone Bridge

Consider for a moment how many people from all social classes and cultural backgrounds have crossed this modest bridge, which links Plostad Makedonija and the Old Bazaar, since it was built over 550 years ago. This will help you to understand why it is one of the city’s most recognizable symbols and is depicted on Skopje’s coat of arms. The present bridge, which has 12 arches overall and is constructed out of solid stone blocks, replaced an earlier Roman bridge. Stretching 214m in length and only 6m in width, the bridge barely avoided being destroyed by the Nazis in 1944. It has served as an execution site in the past and is frequently frequented by hawkers offering inexpensive Chinese trinkets and unkempt Romani children pounding drums for spare change.


Mother Teresa Memorial House

Constructed on the location of the previous Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, where she underwent her baptism, and housed within a building that could easily vie for the title of most hideous structure on Earth, this fascinating diversion for some and required pilgrimage for others honors the life and contributions of the Skopje-born Catholic nun and missionary Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, who gained worldwide recognition as Mother Teresa (1910-1997). Enter through the door at the top of the stairs, the space spans two stories and is filled with a plethora of material relating to Teresa, as well as her personal belongings. On the top floor, there is a real shrine including elaborate filigree, wide windows, and a giant black and white image of the woman.


Archaeological Museum of Macedonia

Situated adjacent to the iconic Old Stone Bridge in Skopje, on the left side of the Vardar River, is the Archaeological Museum of the Republic of Macedonia. With nearly a century of existence, this museum is the oldest of its kind in the Republic of Macedonia. More than 7000 objects with exceptional historical, cultural, and artistic significance are on display in its permanent exhibition. These objects, which date from early prehistory until the end of the Ottoman Empire, reveal stories about the local people and their material and spiritual civilizations.


Church Saint Clement of Ohrid

Saint Clement of Ohrid, the patron saint of Skopje, is housed at the Ministry Temple, a modern Orthodox cathedral located just west of the city center. Consecrated in 1992, the building was designed by architect Slavko Brezovski and was made entirely of arches and domes. It was constructed in 1972. It boasts a huge Jesus Pantocrator mural and a gigantic chandelier hanging from the central dome.


City Park

This wide public area to the north and northwest of the city was first designed at the close of the 1800s and is a hot spot throughout the summer. Excellent for strolling, riding, or having a picnic. The park’s northern boundary parallels the river and has a lengthy trail that is well-liked by the city’s running population. The park is more than simply a green area; it also has tennis courts, sports halls, a small stage, bars, eateries, and lodgings. In the summer, it serves as the location of at least one outdoor nightclub. Located in the center is the Skopje Zoo, which used to be a source of shame for the city but is currently making an attempt to better the life of the creatures housed there thanks to significant international donations.


Millennium Cross

Located a top Mount Vodno’s highest point, overlooking the city, the 66-meter-tall Millennium Cross was built to commemorate 2,000 years of Christianity. While the drive to get there is an exciting experience, the cross itself is actually very boring. The Millennium Cross double-decker bus from the bus station must be taken in order to go to the Sredno Vodno cable car station, which is halfway up the mountain. Currently, buses run between 08:20 and 15:20 every 30 minutes, and a one-way ticket only costs 35 den. The cable car station is located at Sredno Vodno, and return tickets cost 120 den. Beyond the breathtaking view on a good day, there isn’t much to keep people lingering at the Millennium Cross itself. When the weather is nice, you can have an ice cream cone or a cup of coffee from the café downstairs on the outside patio. The Millennium Cross is a really lovely sight at night, especially when it is brightly lit.


Matka Canyon

Macedonia’s breathtaking Matka Canyon serves as a wonderful reminder of how close the mountains are at all times. The 5,000-hectare location, which is only 15 km southwest of the city, offers a variety of sights and activities, such as taking a boat excursion from the nearby little harbor or dining al fresco on the terrace of the Canyon Matka restaurant. Rich in fauna and well-known for rock climbing and caving, you may get there by driving west out of the city and turning left onto the P402, which goes past the Albanian settlement of Saraj. The road is closed off from the canyon on weekends and holidays, and getting there requires a lengthy walk past the hydroelectric dam. Numerous churches and monasteries that cling to both sides of the canyon indicate that the area is also populated. Built in 1389, the modest St. Andrew’s Church on the main site is worth visiting for the historic frescoes found inside.

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