Skopje, Republic of Macedonia (Capital)

Old Town Carsija Skopje Macedonia
Old Town (Carsija) - Skopje, Macedonia
Restaurant Lake Matka Macedonia
Restaurant on Lake Matka - Macedonia
Wayne Dunlap Bull Ul Makedonija Skopje Macedonia
Wayne with Bull in Ul Makedonija 
- Skopje, Macedonia
Ottoman Old Town Carsija Skopje Macedonia
Ottoman Old Town (Carsija)
 - Skopje, Macedonia
Skopje, Republic of Macedonia (Capital) (5/6-7/2011) 

Welcome to the home of Alexander the Great and Mother Teresa (who lived here until she was 18).

Although Ohrid is the most popular designation in Macedonia with its beautiful lake and old town, we did not have time to go to the south. 

Skopje, Macedonia’s capital, a nice place to visit with one-third of the country’s 2 million population, was our introduction to historic Macedonia. Overlooked by the city fort (Tvrdina Kale), downtown Skopje has a contemporary pedestrian street with cafes, shops, and modern malls as well as an old Turkish bazaar area (Carsija) divided by the 15th-century Stone Bridge (Kamen Most) that crosses the Vardar River. We enjoyed Skopje's old town areas best so it is where we spent most of our time (see photos). 

At our hostel in Skopje, we met up with an artist from New York who was studying Byzantine art and touring old Orthodox churches and monasteries. He invited us to join him for a drive through the country to the beautifully frescoed Church of Sveti Andrej by the tranquil Lake Matka beneath the steep Treska Canyon (see photo). We are glad we did because Macedonia is a beautiful country and this is a great day-trip to see it

Being the movie bluffs we are, we went to see a Hollywood movie (Limitless - pretty good) at night in English with local subtitles. Get this… only $7.50 for two tickets and a box of popcorn in a nice theater. One can live large in Macedonia

Wayne Dunlap Shoe Shine Skopje Macedonia
Wayne Gets a Shine in Skopje, Macedonia
Some history… In 14th century, Skopje became the capital of the Empire of Serbia, which at that time was one of the largest and strongest countries in Europe. Then the Ottomans ruled Macedonia for 500 years and built a large number of mosques and other buildings. After Macedonia was liberated from the Turks in the early 20th century, Skopje became a part of Kingdom of Serbia and then a republic of the Yugoslav Federation, with Skopje as the capital. 

The 1963 earthquake destroyed 75% of the buildings in Skopje in just a few seconds. After that, a big rebuilding project began with limited success to make Skopje the model city of the socialist world.

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