The head of secondary school gave a walking tour from the heroes statue (Alexander the Great) across the stone bridge through the old bazaar and back to a delicious Italian restaurant. I learned so much about the history of Skopje. Macedonia has only been independent for 30 years. I heard her first hand account of how students led to colorful revolution against the previous regime. They graffiti all around Skopje makes more sense after learning the history of students using it as a form of expression.
I heard her personal family stories of how her parents survived the earthquake of 1963 and her memories of eating in cafes in old Ottoman buildings. Very few buildings on the south side of the river survived the big earthquake. The stone bridge dates back to Macedonia’s early history and survived every political change. We visited a hamam (bath house) that is now a museum. Many of the Ottoman buildings on the north banks survived the earthquake. It is amazing to see the influence of their 600 years in this region still today. On the north banks are small cafes serving Turkish coffee & tea, kebab restaurants, and many mosques. I learned 5 new Macedonian words just by learning that they are the same in Turkish (portakal, vişne, fıstık, tamam, hamam).
This park honors the contributions of women during WWII. It was lovely to see the leaves starting to change colors.
I look forward to more cultural outings to learn more about this unique country and it’s resilient people.