macedonia: skopje // city of statues

Skopje was pretty refreshing, really. I had a rough couple weeks and was a bit downhearted, but I really just liked Skopje.

It’s a weird city, no doubt. If you know anything of Skopje, you probably know of the bizarre government initiative in the early 2010s or so to just like… build statues. And monuments. And fountains. Like… a lot of them.

Understandably, a lot of Macedonians were and remain pretty pissed that this is what the government decided to dump money into, instead of, you  know, jobs or infrastructure. But it does make it a unique place to visit, I will give it that. And a lot of them are kinda cool.

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And Skopje is just a cool city. I’d be lying if I didn’t rejoice a little bit in things like huge shopping malls and ordering pizza online. And I loved my hostel, the Shanti Hostel, and it’s amazing how much that in itself can factor into your impression of a city — at least if you’re like me, and tend to spend a fair bit of time (for various reasons) in the hostel.

I am a huge sucker for fountains, though, so even the most over-the-top installations were awesome to me as long as they involved water. Or lots of green space, of which there is a lot in Skopje.

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And the old bazaar is huge, holy shit, and old, dating back until at least the 12th century AD. I wasn’t really expecting how massive and labyrinthine it is, like every corner you turn, there’s another six or seven endless streets spiralling out. I’d guess it’s even bigger than the sprawling souks of Marrakech — though definitely not even in the same stratosphere of intensity.

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And also there’s this, which, well.

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Yeah, I got nothing.

And as a bonus, the Vero Center mall has a ball pit in the play area. Fuck you if you wouldn’t be tempted to jump in. I didn’t, but I definitely thought about it.

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So yeah. I like Macedonia. 😀

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