Skopje City Guide travel tourist sightseeing attractions information

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Skopje sightseeing Skopje attractions Skopje history Skopje crime Skopje weather

Related pages  Coach services to from Skopje / Rail services to and from SkopjeLocal pages  Skopje Airport and Public Transport / Macedonia Country Profile

Skopje History Overview

Archaeological remains found in Skopje’s Kale fortress indicate that settlements in the Skopje area date back to at least 3,500BC. It is believed that the origins of the present city date back to the 3rd Century when it was founded by the Kingdom Of Macedonian. In 148AD the city was taken over by the Romans. In 395 it became part of the Byzantine Empire. In 518 the city was devastated by an earthquake. Byzantine Emperor Justinian who was born in the city founded a new settlement close by which he named after himself. This settlement and the ruins of the old Skupi were later destroyed by Slavic migrants who invaded the city in the 7th century. They rebuilt the city and renamed it Skopje before it was retaken by the Byzantines.

During the 10th century Skopje was the scene of several battles between the Byzantines and the Bulgarian Empire. From 972 to 992 it was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire before it was recaptured by the Byzantines During the 11th century the city thrived until it suffered another severe earthquake after which it went into decline.

In 1282 it was conquered by the Serbian Empire and in 1346 having been rebuilt it became the Empire’s settlement but fell into decline capital. In 1392 it was captured , by the Ottoman Empire and renamed Uskub and designated as the capital of Ottoman controlled Kosovo. It remained under Ottoman rule for five hundred years. During this rule in 1555 it experienced another bad earthquake and in 1689 damaged by fire. By the 19th century its population had dwindled though there was an economic revival in towards the end of the century as it became a station on the Belgrade to Thessaloniki railway.

In August 1912 the city rebelled against the weakening Ottoman Empire, and the The Ottomans rule ended. A few months later it was taken by the Serbian Empire, before falling to the Bulgarians in 1915. At the end of WW1 Skopje became part of the eventual Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

During WW2 it was the scene of several battles involving Bulgaria Germany and Yugoslavia, during which it was briefly the capital of the Peoples Republic Of Macedonia. At the end of WW2 it became part of the Socialist Federal Republic Of Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav federation fell apart in 1991 and Skopje became the Republic of Macedonia’s capital.

Sightseeing & Attractions in Skopje

Skopje is Macedonia’s largest city with  an estimated 510,000 People  One of the city’s biggest claim to fame is being the birthplace of the Saintly Mother Theresa, and the site of her birthplace has become one of Skopje’s most popular attractions. With a National Art Gallery, significant landmarks such as the Kale Fortress and Summer and Jazz festivals there is a lot more to Skopje than  people realise.

National Gallery of Art Skopje = This gallery was built at the end of the 15th century and it has two domes which from at first glance look like they belong to a Mosque. The art gallery itself was opened in 1948 and was originally home to Public Baths  but now is the home of an extensive collection of drawings, painting and sculptures from the 14th till 19th century. They also have some fairly contemporary art  and they occasionally host music concerts like live Jazz performances. website

The Mustapha Pasha Mosque, Samoliova  Skopje – The Mosque overlooks the Bazaar area and was built in 1492. The Mosque is very imposing with its aesthetically pleasing columns externally and inside walls bearing  sculptures carved out of white stone. The mosque was built by Mustafa Pasha who was vizier on the court of Sultan Selim I. The Mosque’s interior is very beautiful and incredibly spacious. The mosque recently underwent a five year renovation which was completed in August of n/a 

The Kameni Most/ Old Stone Bridge  Skopje 1000 – The Kameni spans the Vardar River and is a bridge with twelve semi-circular  arches carved out of stone. The lower part of it is said to be built around the 6th century and was enlarged in the early 16th century. It was built under the orders of The Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II.   Interestingly it links the old town on the eastern side of the river with more modern Town on the western side as it does with the Charles Bridge in Prague with which it compares well.  This stone Bridge connects the old Muslim part of Skopje in the north  with the new centre of 

The Clock Tower, Skopje Bazaar- [ The Tower is near the Bazaar area of Skopje and was built around 1566.  The Tower is located just north of the Sultan Murad Mosque in a largely Albanian neighbourhood.  The Tower’s original top was made out of wood.  The Clock Towers chimes can be heard for several Kilometres. The Clock’s mechanism is thought to have been borrowed from Siged in Hungary by a Turkish army. The present day Clock Tower dates back to 1904. The clock is 39.8 metres high making it the tallest tower in 

The Old  Bazaar Area Skopje  – The area itself is reported to be the largest Oriental Bazaar in Europe. The area’s buildings are  old and very quaint  and the wares for sale range from sandals, handicrafts, leather shoes to attractive and expensive gold jewellery. There are plenty of cafe’s and benches to rest your feet and have a bite to eat. The vibrant Baazaar has been Skopje’s business and commerce since the 12th  na
The Kale Fortress Skopje Old Town – This Macedonian fortress is a rather majestic looking former castle which was built  on the remains of an old Roman Fortress. The Fortress is a fascinating window in to the history of the Macedonian Capital.  According to popular belief it was built in the 6th century out of limestone.  These days it has  a very different use as a tranquil park in which folk festivals are often held. Kale is the Turkish word for fortress. Kale is located at the highest point of Skopje and overlooks the Vardar River. The Fortress is depicted on the Skopje coat of arms which is on the Macedonian website na

Skopje Summer Festival, Skopje This popular Summer festival first took place back in 1979 and embraces the very best of Macedonian and International culture. The festival includes Musical concerts, Opera, ballet and Drama Performances. They have photographic and film exhibitions as well. The festival usually begins on the 21st of July and  lasts ten days with appearances and performances from globally renowned and local artists. The festival takes place at numerous locations throughout the city. website not updated since 2009?

The Church of the Holy Saviour Makarie Frcovski 8,  Skopje – This small  church contains some very impressive motifs of Saints dressed in local folk costumes and surrounded by animals. This 17th century church is partly sunk in to the ground as when it was  built churches were not actually allowed to stand any higher than Mosque’s. The icon screen showcases some of the finest Macedonian Carving craft with works from brothers Marko and Makarie Frcovski from 1824 until 1829.  Opening times are 9 am till 5 pm and  9 am till 3 pm on the weekends. closed on Monday website n/a

Skopje Jazz Festival,  Skopje – one week every October, Skopje is host to eminent and accomplished Jazz Musicians from all over the world. Notable performers include American artist Ray Charles and Youssou N’ Dour.   The Skopje Jazz festival is recognized as one of the most prestigious and entertaining in Europe. This has become a major cultural institution since being held for the first time in 1982. The festival has become increasingly popular over the years and features the best of Jazz, Cuban and experimental

Birthplace of Mother Teresa, Centar  Skopje [- There is a plaque which marks the spot where Mother theresa was born in 1910.  Between the Macedonia Square and the Main street of the Nobel peace Prize winning and  future Saint, Mother Theresa. Near the statue itself lies a small museum dedicated to the life and work of this marvellous woman. Theresa’s mother was Albanian and her father was of Vlac descent, she is undoubtedly one of Macedonia’s greatest heroes. The memorial house was opened in January 2009 and was visited by 12,000 people in its first three weeks. Admission is n/a

Archaeological Museum,  Centar  Kale, Skopje – This large  Museum is one of Skopje’s hidden gems, The museum has several documents artefact’s relating to this part of the world. This journey through time covers the Neolithic Age, Bronze and Iron ages. It also covers the classical and Hellenistic Periods  through to the Roman, Slavic  Byzantine and Turkish periods. Open hours are 9 am till 5 pm. Entry fee is around 100 n/a

Virtual Skopje

Restaurants In Skopje If you were just passing through Skopje, like Leipzig, there are many restaurants in the shopping centre. One restaurant that is worth finding is The Pivinca at Maksim Gorki 1 which serves local cuisine including an excellent chicken, pork and smoked bacon – one of their special. The fillet steak in cream source is also very good. Has tables outside in the summer. The Taverna Toscana at Ivo Lola Ribar 72 is not quite Italian (there is no pizza) but offers some well prepared dishes notably tagliata and the pasta. The National Restaurant at Vasil Adjilarski is a source of pizza and numerous local dishes with some interesting chicken dishes. Somewhat expensive.

The Lira Restaurant at Nikola Tesla serves very good local food – the chicken in cream sauce is really excellent – set against live background music. It is a little expensive but has a good ambience appreciated by Europeans. A surprise gem is The Um Zina at Maksim Gorki which is sells Middle Eastern food. Superb starters including humus and some very good meat dishes grilled on a skewer – especially the sausages complimented but lovely salad. A trifle costly.

There are numerous Cafes along the banks of the River Vardar and in the shopping centre try The Cezanne Cafe.

Crime and Personal Safety & Security In Skopje The Macedonian capital has a high rate of Organised crime but personal attacks on tourists are very rare. There are gangs of pick pocketing children who target tourists as shopping centres and crowded area’s. Most theft can be avoided by using common sense.  There have though been a few reports of foreign nationals being confronted by aggressive locals
Credit card fraud is common place in Macedonia widespread so care is advised if you are making payment this way.

Very occasionally, Skopje experiences demonstrations which may result in unrest or disorder. All tourists whatever their nationality are advised that if this happens to stay indoors especially at night. These problems occur less frequently than a few years ago but should be noted. Several European Governments advise visitors to this country to avoid demonstrations. For the latest information please use the Europe Travel Warnings

Nightlife In Skopje  Skopje is one of the few cities in Europe where licensing laws are being tightened up rather than eased. Consequently many venues now have to close at midnight and because of this there are fewer clubs than there were five years ago. Clubbers should check the clubs closing time before going in! Trend ( Nikola Vapcarov 2 Telephone: 313 24 25) is one club that usually stays open to around 4am. The club which includes a restaurant presents live bands and a variety of music on different nights.

Another club that is generally open to 4am is Papaya (Vasil Glavino bb) playing house techno and R&B. Crowd tends to be in their late twenties or older. Process ( Kej 13 Noemvri, City Shopping Centre Telephone: 321 54 76 ) opens to 4am and specialises in playing house sounds to a teenage audience. Heavy metal and rock enthusiasts should check out Mayday ( Bul. Partizanski Odredi Telephone 322 72 94).

The MCM Club ( Naum N. Borce 80 ) has live bands during the week, house on Saturday and surprisingly Karoke on Friday nights It is open  until the early hours most nights. TheColiseum( Vasil Glavino bb ) offers house and techno and a permanent light show.

Crime and Personal Safety In Skopje The Macedonian capital has a high rate of Organised crime but personal attacks on tourists are very rare. There are gangs of pick pocketing children who target tourists as shopping centres and crowded area’s. Most theft can be avoided by using common sense.  With more cash points in Macedonia this has coincided with a sharp rise in credit card fraud. There have been a few reports of foreign nationals being confronted by aggressive locals,  so try to refrain from in sighting Macedonian natives.

Skope Tourist Board Information
Skopje Macedonia Weather Details:
Skopje Macedonia Weather Forecast
monthly average and extreme temperatures in Skopje Macedonia:

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