WHY TO VISIT SKOPJE
Skopjie is the capital of the Republic of Macedonia. To date, more than a quarter of the population of the country is concentrated in Skopje and over the years has become the political, cultural, economic and academic center of the state. This is a city that has now become an important center of aggregation and international interest so as to attract, at least in recent years, numerous foreign investments.
The city was known since Roman times but with the name of Scupi, important Roman domination and later medieval village, the city has really developed after the Second World War. In recent years it has become a modern and extremely efficient metropolis.
Geographically speaking, the city is located along the upper course of the Vardar river, along the Balkan road. The city is located less than 100 km from nearby Athens, in fact the two nations are neighbors. Skopje originated from a Roman settlement, and following the fall of the Western Roman Empire fell under the Byzantine rule, which had its capital in Constantinople, the current Istanbul in Turkey. Later in 972 it fell into the hands of the Bulgarian under the reign of King Samuel thus becoming the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire. Important center during the 1500s when it became a cosmopolitan city hosting large groups of Ashkemite Jews who fled from Spain in 1555 and who settled in Skopje for several centuries.
At the end of the first Balkan war, it was annexed to Serbia, later it was invaded by the Bulgarians in 1915, but after the end of the First World War to the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. During the Second World War it was annexed to Bulgaria. Following the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, Macedonia gained independence by becoming a settling country as it had in fact been most of the time.
Organizing a trip to Macedonia certainly means tasting traditional cuisine that surely reflects the influences of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine given its particular geographical position. In part, the kitchen has also suffered Italian, German, Hungarian and Greek influences.
The local cuisine is certainly assisted by the mild climate of Macedonia which has made it fertile ground for the growth of different types of vegetables, cereals, herbs and fruit. In fact, in Macedonian cuisine, it is very common for dairy products, red wines and local spirits, such as the famous national liqueur known as rakija.
As for meat, the most exploited are beef, pork, lamb, mutton and chicken. Almost for nothing the turkey or other game. The dish and the national drink are respectively the tavče gravče, similar to a stew of meat with soup, and the Mastika. Macedonian tables never lack of wine, Coffee is also very popular, but above all Turkish coffee.
WHAT TO SEE IN SKOPJE
Top attractions not to be missed are:
- Old Bazaar
- The Stone Bridge
- Millennium Cross
- Skopje Art Bridge and Archaeological Museum of Macedonia
- Church of St. Clement of Ohrid
- Skopje Fortress Kale
- Macedonian Village and Church of St. Panteleimon
- Mustafa Pasha Mosque
- Macedonia Square
- Statue Divers
- Memorial House of Mother Teresa
Following instead some hidden spots of the city that only locals know!
- an out-of-town trip to Lake and Canyon Matka or to the Skopje Aqueduct
WHEN TO GO TO SKOPJE
Best period to visit Skopje is from April to September.
Following a list of main events and typical festivals and celebrations of Skopje.
HOW TO REACH AND MOVE IN SKOPJE
main airport is the Skopje Airport.
WHAT TO DO IN SKOPJE
typical dishes of Skopje are:
- Pindžur, a spicy roast pepper and aubergine relish;
- Kifli, half-moon-shaped bread roll filled with feta cheese and topped with sesame seeds;
- Gravce tavce, chunky bean stew cooked in a skillet and flavoured with spices including paprika;
- Shopska salata, mixed salad made by combining tomato, peppers, cucumbers, onions and crumbled feta cheese;
- Kebapči, minced meat sausages typically served with flatbread, kajmak (a type of clotted cream) and onions;
- Ajvar, a relish made from roasted red bell peppers, paprika and garlic;
- Burek, a flaky pie filled with combinations of ham, cheese, spinach and ground beef;
- Selsko meso, a thick stew of meat, potatoes, onions, tomatoes and carrots cooked in a clay pot;
- Kačamak, a porridge-like cornmeal mixture often sprinkled with feta cheese;
- Tulumbi, fried dough rolls covered in honey and nuts;
- Rakija, a potent fruit brandy made from grapes;
- Mastika, an Ouzo-style aperitif seasoned with mastic and served over ice;
typical souvenirs of Skopje are:
- hand-painted icons
- hand crafted leather slips
- hand-embroidered cloths
- musical instruments
- wood carved figures
- jewellery ethnic accessories
- ceramic and terracotta items
- Macedonian Traditional costumes
The main theatre of Skopje is the Macedonian National Theater.