Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday in Skopje.
Last weekend we went to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, for a few hours. It was the one rainy day in a month of sunshine, but the rain held off while we were there. Skopje is located in the wide Vardur valley that snakes through the Balkans and the center of Macedonia. Most of the people and farming exist in that valley, and it's served as a highway for nomadic people and armies for centuries. It also makes for beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the area! We visited the old fort and old town. Skopje is not a big tourist destination for people outside of Macedonia, and as a result the 'tourist' attractions are very different from what I'm used to. Most of the city was leveled by an earthquake in 1963. From what I hear, several countries came in and helped rebuild the city with 1960's architecture, sigh. There's a Norwegian built section (the Peace Corps office is on Oslo St), a Japanese section, etc. Parts of the fort and old town, the walls of which were built by the Turks with little or no mortar, were pretty much all that remained. The fort, which has been around since early AD and has Roman, Slavic, Turkish, and probably the remains of many other groups, is a major archeological site and looks as if it has many, many digs that have happened and are still going on. Old town, which has one of the national art museums in the old Turkish bath, is still an active merchant area, filled mainly with ethnic Albanian stores. We went to the museum which had a modern exhibit called "Skins" that was done by a German woman to represent the different 'skins' and roles that women take on. Just imagine for a second - an exhibt by a German woman on the roles of women in the Western world in a turkish bath in the middle of an ethnic Albanian shopping area. It truly is a global world!
There are no real tourist stores that I've seen, and I have yet to find a postcard - sorry everyone I promised to send cards to! The shops are all small and the area was teeming with people. A couple of the streets we went down to get there had room for only one car at a time but were not one-way, which resulted in some interesting traffic challenges. I'll attach some pictures so you can get a little feel of the area - but to really get a feel, you'll have to come and visit!
Posted by Candice Wiggum at 2:52 AM