Macedonia's capital is undergoing a facelift under the guise of "Skopje 2014." While originally under Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman rule, a new building project has led to modern buildings, museums, towering statues and fountains alongside older monuments. The 15th-century Stone Bridge (Kameni Most) spans the Vardar River, connecting on one side with the old Turkish bazaar (Čarija) and on the other to the contemporary Macedonia Square. Surrounding the Turkish bazaar are other buildings from the Byzantine and Ottoman eras, while the 6th-century Tvrdina Kale Fortress still stands guard over the city.
The city offers many green areas to enjoy including Mount Vodno, a popular leisure spot with a cable car to the Millennium Cross at its the peak. There are various events held each year including the Taksirat Festival, held in November. For those who enjoy jazz, the Skopje Jazz Festival is a leading music festival held at the beginning of October each year. The annual Independence Day falls on 8th September, when Macedonia celebrates the day the country earned its freedom from Yugoslavia.
Things to Do
Skopje offers a myriad of fascinating places to visit and things to do. Enjoy shopping, dining and museum visits in the modern area of the city, or head off to visit the Byzantine and Ottoman buildings from the city's past. Visitors can also take a delightful stroll in the city's parks or enjoy the view from Mount Vodno.
History and shopping at the Old Turkish Bazaar (Čarija)
While its origins lie in the Ottoman era, the bazaar continues to this day with many attractively restored shops, interspersing modern day items with the old trades, crafts and traditions of the country. The bazaar is considered to be the oldest and largest market in the Balkans.
A trip up Mount Vodno
Conveniently reached from the city centre, a cable car takes visitors up to the peak of Mount Vodno, where the 66-metre Millennium Cross stands over the city offering incredible views. Shady hiking trails take hikers through the woods on the mountain slopes and there are restaurants available.
Tvrdina Kale Fortress
The 6th century Byzantine Tvrdina Kale Fortress was later taken over by the Ottomans. The fortress is located in a pretty park and its ramparts offer excellent views over the Vardar River and the city. On site are two small and interesting museums, with artefacts dating from Neolithic times to the Ottoman era.
Calendar of Events
Among Skopje's annual events are several popular music festivals, film festivals, religious holidays and local celebrations. The most popular musical events are the Taksirat Festival and the Jazz Festival, while Independence Day offers parades and fireworks.
Music at Taksirat Festival. Starting at the end of November each year, The Taksirat Festival runs for a week, offering a variety of musicians and bands from every musical genre. Besides the musical events, theatre shows, films and other events are held.
Skopje Jazz Festival. Jazz aficionados flock to the city for the popular Jazz Festival at the beginning of October each year. The festival draws fans from all over the world and features every genre of jazz, from renowned musicians to up-and-coming artists.
Independence Day. Macedonia achieved independence from Yugoslavia on 8th September, 1991. On that date each year many festivities are held, including street processions, music concerts, plays and dance performances. The capital also offers air displays, military marches and a fireworks display.