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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

What makes Macedonia one of Europe’s up and coming travel destinations? Somewhere between medieval cities, black cloaked monks and deep lakes, there is a curious charm that wins the heart of every backpacker that passes through. Skopje though is where every Macedonian jaunt should begin.

There are a lot of stereotypes about Eastern Europe but maybe more surprising than how many people believe these stereotypes is how well Skopje really fits the shoe. The city is dominated by blocks of flats from the Communist-era and it can look rather drab and grey but it doesn’t take a well-trained eye to pick out the quaint features of the city’s skyline.

The little minarets for example and the winding cobbled streets, elegantly designed bathhouses with copper-coloured domes and Turkish touches accentuate the country’s history and in particular the city’s evolution. Split in two by the Vardar River, old and modern Skopje don’t need to compete with each other, they’re completely different. The south side of the city is buzzing with cafés and small bars filled with the young and trendy of Skopje.

Essential Skopje:

  • Daut Pasha Amam: Originally a bath house in the 15th century, today this houses the National Gallery of Macedonia. Undergoing construction after the Second World War, it now hosts international art exhibitions.
  • Church of Sveti Spas: This church was built below ground because it was illegal for a church to be taller than a mosque in Ottoman times. Nearby is a Carsija, a small neighbourhood with lovely tea houses and artisan shops.
  • Sveti Dimitrija: Just over the bridge from Carsija, is this small 19th c. church. A sight to see among all of the surrounding mosques.
  • Stone Bridge: The Stone Bridge in the main city square was built in the 1400s, now representing the connection between the city’s past and present.
  • Museum of Contemporary Arts: The most important cultural institute in the country, this is he best place to see how contemporary culture has transformed in Macedonia over the last few decades.

From London there are cheap flights to Skopje with airlines like Malev and Austrian Airlines, but it’s not yet served by low cost airlines, making it more expensive than other nearby Eastern European countries.

Have you ever been to Macedonia? Tell us about your trip!

Imgs: anjci / anjci / flickr cc

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23 responses to “A jaunt to Macedonia, discovering Skopje

  1. Kosta you will have to go to Greece to see all that! Little help learn how to read GREEK and you will be able to read ancient Macedonian text! Please don't confuse Ancient Macedonian with the Modern Slav writings of the Former Yogoslav Republic of Makedonija!

  2. The Church of Sveti Spas is a definite essential, without a doubt the most famous landmark in Skopje. It's open to visitors 9:00-17:00 during the week except on Monday and only until 15:00 on the weekend.

  3. Much greater attraction is Church of Sveti Spas in nearby village Kucheviste, built in 1327. by Serbian king Milutin. Only I am not sure what happen to church after it was burned in 1984.

  4. Thanks a lot traveller, for sharing a bit of yourr experiences with us! Keep reading us, we are looking forward to to reading you!

  5. My travells to Bitola FYR Makedonija was greated by the statue of Kriste Miserkov in the park under the clock tower in Bitola. Good to see Bulgarian authurs being remembered and honered in the former Yugoslav republick for their efferts in creating a fictisious state.

  6. The only place i liked when i visited the country is Ohrid which has a wonderful scenery. From sightseeings Samuel's Fortress was a good visit. Our Tourist guide was a humorous lady and made the entire group burst into laughing when she said Samuel was a Macedonian and not a Bulgarian.

    Most of the country is full of Albanians or at least the residents look like Albanians. The rest who are of Slavic/Bulgarian extraction seemed to me very fond of reading.

    While walking or being in the bus, you could see them reading Bulgarian or Greek books again, to steal a character or two as suited.

  7. Yes it is as you describe it and I wish it wasn'r but its merely a responce, a reply, an expression of anger for the lies, propaganda and hatred spread by Slavmacedonian people.
    It would have served you and your land better if you spoke the truth. You are a Slav-Macedonian and there is nothing wrong with it. We Greeks invite and promote you to accept your true identity and place your culture where it deeply belongs to..the Macedonian Pantheon. Next side to Bulgarians, Vlachs, Albanians and all the other recent addition to its Hellenic past.

  8. I have been to FYROM and to the town of Bitola, a very interesting and nostalgic place. Multiculturalism is something embeded to the area which is unique for the Balkans. It's timeprint makes the town's archtecture very very intersting. Hospitable and nice people.

  9. Thank you so much Macedonian!
    We always like it very much when an insider shares his views, favourites, experiences… Macedonia is certainly a place to be discovered!

  10. Typical greek hysteria, spreading hate speech and propaganda against Macedonia and the Macedonian nation on every media…

    Welcome to the 21st century, the Macedonian Lion ROARS again!

    Best regards from Macedonia!

  11. Hi Preston,
    Thanks a lot for your comment, which is very much appreciated, also, thanks for reading.You are absolutely right, the helenic Macedonia is different. Any of those places of your favourite?
    What about Skopje, have you already been there?

    Thanks again, and keep reading us!

  12. The country promited in this article has a great mixed, slavic and albanian culture. You should not mix it with the Helenic name and culture of Macedonia. If people wish to experiance the beauty of Macedonia they should visit places like Dion, Vergina, Thessaloniki, ASlexandria, Halkidiki, Thassos and many more, all parts of Northern Greece. Thank you.

  13. Hi Rek,
    Thank you so much for noticing and letting us know. It was indeed our mistake! Won't happen again hopefully!
    Thanks again for reading and hopefully enjoying!

  14. Been there. Mixed feelings. Very Balkan, very poor. Some nice scenery, some flawd history.
    Some claim ancient Macedonian decent (a joke), and the same time claim Tsar Smuil (Bulgarian) as theirs.

    School books teach a flawed, balkar war era propaganda to children, and a blatant anty Greek propaganda is evident everywhere.

    I wouldnt waist my money there.

  15. Why is there a picture of a Greek sign at the beginning of this article? A bit of confusion between the country of Macedonia and the region of Greece called Macedonia perhaps?

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