On re-entering the Macedonian capital, which had now fallen under the dark sky of night, the weather was unchanged and continued to be gloomy and wet, although due to having spent time in a completely different weather system at the top of Mount Vodno in the snow and freezing wind, the weather down in Skopje felt a lot more comfortable.
As I jumped off the bus at the beautiful ‘Porta Macedonia’, I was welcomed by the beautiful lamp-light reflecting ‘Macedonia Square’ and I wandered towards the huge ‘Alexander the Great’ statue at the centre point.
The square has a varied collection of architecture ranging from the large lit-up ‘Coca-Cola’ sign as if it had just come from Piccadilly Circus in London, to some large white old-fashion styled modern buildings and then the historical ancient ‘Stone Bridge’ which spans across the ‘Vardar River’.
The ‘Stone Bridge’, as it is known, dates all the way back to the 15th Century in 1451 and has seen many renovations. That is to be expected though being a bridge that has experienced earthquakes, liberations and executions. You could say that it has had a very busy past!
Also in more recent times, the bridge has been a victim of graffiti, although if I’m honest, I think it actually added to the character of the structure and it’s brickwork as it lays in front of the very impressive pillar facaded ‘Archaeological Museum of Macedonia’.
Once over the other side of the Vardar River, this is where you will find the ‘Old Skopje Bazaar’. A small maze of old stores and shops on cobbled streets, which reminded me of certain streets of Venice.
The bazaar is one of the oldest in the Balkans and has been the centre of trade and business for Skopje since as far back as the 12th Century and especially rose to prominence under the rule of the Ottomans.
Just on the outskirts of the bazaar is a bar I highly recommend to visit, as despite the silence of the market streets, this bar was extremely lively and full to the brim of locals and possibly some tourists of all ages. If you like music and beer, and wooden interiors, then this is the place for you! The name of the establishment is ‘Menada/Mенада‘. Please check it out!
I can’t talk about Skopje, Macedonia, or even the Balkans without mentioning possibly it’s most famous daughter, and especially in modern times. The lady in question is, Mother Teresa.
Despite maybe being best known for having lived in India most of her life, Mother Teresa in fact was born in Üsküp of the Ottoman Empire, or as is known today, Skopje. She existed as a controversial figure for her opposition and views on abortion, but at the same time, highly admired and praised for her charitable work.
Here in Skopje, is the ‘Memorial House of Mother Teresa’. So I recommend a visit to here, especially if you are of the Roman Catholic persuasion.
So the Balkan Adventure comes to an end following the journey from Tirana in Albania, to Pristina in Kosovo and then to here in Skopje, Macedonia. It was time to head off to the International Airport of Macedonia, named ‘Alexander the Great Airport’ and to fly back with another three nations added to my list of countries visited.
I hope you have enjoyed all nine parts of my Balkan Adventure and it has stimulated thoughts in your mind to try a visit to the Balkans and visit places such as Kosovo that may be more well known for being a past war-zone. So until next time, Ciao!
Travel Parka Monkey Matt