Skopje in Macedonia is a city with ancient history, beautiful architecture, and friendly people. It’s also the new capital of North Macedonia after ending its long-time rivalry with the neighboring country Serbia. Skopje has been one of the fastest developing cities in Europe over the past few years, and it has become an important stopover on Balkan routes between Western Europe and Eastern Asia.
If you’re looking to learn more about this interesting city before visiting for yourself, here are 5 spots you should definitely visit in Skopje!
The Stone Bridge
One of the most recognizable sites in Skopje is The Stone Bridge which was built by Ottoman architect Sinan Pasha during 1566-1567 AD. This arch bridge is one of the most beautiful in Europe and spans across the Vardar River. It’s a must-see for visitors looking to explore Skopje!
In addition to visiting the Stone Bridge, visitors will also have a chance to explore other architecture and landmarks in Skopje that are worth exploring. The Old Bazaar is one of the most popular stops on any trip through Macedonia’s capital city with its winding streets full of shops offering traditional Macedonian food as well as international cuisine for anyone who’s hungry.
The Old Bazaar
In Macedonia, the word bazaar means a covered market, not like in Turkey or Egypt where the bazaar is full of spices and exotic goods from faraway places; actually quite the contrary. In Skopje, you will find leather bags and moccasins, belts, and shirts. It is a small bazaar with only 18 shops but it will be enough to take your breath away once you walk in.
The Skopje Fortress
The fort is the city’s most impressive landmark that dominates the skyline of the Old Bazaar and can be seen from anywhere in Skopje. It is the most vibrant tourist destination with lots of cafes, restaurants, shops, and a museum inside.
The 230 m high monument is undoubtedly Skopje’s most famous landmark. This astonishing structure in the center of the city was built to commemorate 2,500 years of European civilization since the times of Philip II of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great).
The FYR Macedonia Square
The square is the largest public place in Skopje and one of the most popular meeting points for its citizens. The project was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, best known for his designs of bridges and buildings all over the world.
SKOPJE IS FAMOUS FOR WINE
Wine Cellar: Tasting wine in a cave (underground)
If you’re looking for a place to have an unusual tasting of wine, the best choice is this historical and religious site that has become one of Skopje’s most visited attractions. Built during Roman times when it was used as a religious site, the winery was later used for other purposes, such as a water reservoir and an ammunition warehouse. Currently, it’s the site of Macedonia’s oldest winemaking facility dating back to 700 BC.
If you make your way through winding steps inside this underground cellar, you’ll be received by a friendly staff that will offer you three different types of wine: red, white, and rose. To give the wine a final taste and add a distinctive flavor to it, you can dip your finger inside an ashtray filled with burned grape skins collected from the vineyard above ground. The burnt grape skins give the wine an unusual smell, just like nargila does when smoked.
An interesting fact is that the wine in this cellar has a longer shelf life than ordinary wines. This is because the temperature and humidity are constantly controlled and no air gets inside. For those of you that are claustrophobic, this spot will surely be a challenge for you since there’s not much room between the walls and the barrels containing the wine.
Skopje is full of history and has something for everyone. The city’s architecture alone will keep you busy with the stunning mix of old churches and mosques that are side by side in a way that would make any European country proud. But don’t think this means nothing new can be found there – while many buildings have been restored or reconstructed after years of neglect during Yugoslavia’s communist regime, the capital also boasts plenty of modern structures from more recent times. There are shopping malls galore to explore, as well as some excellent restaurants serving traditional dishes from Macedonia sprinkled with international influences. You’ll find yourself captivated by the sights around every corner! If you’re looking for an experience different than what you might expect, visit Skopje!