If you are thinking of traveling to Skopje, Macedonia, you are in the right place. Macedonia‘s capital, Skopje, is located on both banks of the Vardar River in a mountainous region. The city, where Albanians and Muslims live on one side and Orthodox Christians on the other, is also a historical Ottoman settlement. Macedonians, Albanians and Turks have lived together in the city for centuries. In Macedonia, Skopje is called Skopje.
Macedonia, which gained its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, came under the rule of the Ottomans in 1392 and remained under the rule of the Ottomans for 520 years. The Vardar River runs through the middle of Skopje, and this river separates New Skopje and Old Skopje. While skyscraper-like tall buildings rise in New Skopje, minarets rise in Old Skopje.
Where Is Skopje?
Let us share with you some of the things you need to know when traveling to Skopje. Located in the north of Macedonia, close to the Kosovo border, the capital city of Skopje was established in the Vardar Valley, on the bed of the Vardar River. It has a position considered in the middle of the Balkans. The north of the city is surrounded by the Shar Mountains.
When To Go To Skopje?
In the city of Skopje, which has a humid subtropical climate, the summer season is hot and humid, and the winter season is cold and humid. Snowfall can be seen in winter. The average temperature in summer is 31 degrees. This temperature can sometimes rise above 40 degrees.
In spring and autumn, temperatures range between 15-24 degrees. In winter, the average temperature is around 6 degrees. At night, the temperature often drops below 0 degrees.
The periods with the highest rainfall throughout the year are between October-December and April-June. For this reason, the best time to go to Skopje is the summer months.
Best Places To Visit In Skopje
Our list of places to visit in Skopje consists of the historical and cultural reflections of the city. Skopje, an old Ottoman city, is now the capital of Macedonia. The city, which rises on both banks of the Vardar River, is inhabited by Albanians and Muslims on the one hand and Orthodox Christians on the other. Modern and traditional architecture have been shaped together in the city. The reflections of this can be seen in the city, which was once included in the Soviet Union, especially in architecture.
Cathedral Of St. Ohrid Clement
St. Ohrid Climent’s Cathedral was built by Architect Slavko Brezovski in 1972 due to the inadequacy of the St. Demetrius Church when the Cathedral of Our Lady in Skopje was burned by the fascists, and was consecrated on 12 August 1990, the 1150th birthday of St. Clement.
This beautiful cathedral, measuring 36×36 meters, consisting only of a dome and an arch, is seen as one of the most interesting examples of late Macedonian architecture. Under the central dome of the cathedral is an archbishopric throne 3.5 meters high. In the front part, a chair with a height of 2 meters was prepared for the emperor and his wife.
The central dome of St. Ohrid Climent’s Cathedral has an area of 650 square meters. The frescoes of the cathedral were painted by the academic painter Jovan Petrov and his team. For the first time in the world, in this church, Jesus was made on a surface of 70 square meters.
Bedesten generally means a covered bazaar where valuable items such as fabrics or jewelry are sold. An example of this type of covered bazaar in Turkey, such as Adana, Bursa, Istanbul or Trabzon Bedesten, was built in Skopje in the 15th century. Bedesten, located in the Turkish Bazaar in the north of Skopje, is one of the historical buildings from the Ottoman Empire.
Located in the heart of the Skopje Bazaar, the Bedesten was built in the 15th century by Gazi İshak Bey, who was the sanjak chief of Skopje.
Thanks to its central location, it became the most important trade center of the city in a short time and continued to maintain its importance for many years. In the fire, which is also known as the “Accident of 1689”, the Bedesten, like many historical buildings, was severely damaged. The Bedesten, which remained in a semi-ruined state without being repaired for a long time, was rebuilt in 1900 and took its present form.
After the bedesten was rebuilt, an inscription was written about it. In this inscription, there is information that the post-fire repair was undertaken by the descendants of İshak Bey, Hacı Hüseyin, Osman and Yaşar Bey.
In its final form, the Bedesten looks like a business inn with an open central corridor lined with shops on both sides. An engraving of the ruined and dilapidated state of the Bedesten was published in the 1880s. In this picture, it is seen that it is a six-section and six-domed building, quite different from its current shape.
It was seen that the information in the picture was correct during the soundings made in the region between 1964-1965. The original Bedesten was a bazaar with four doors and a lower floor than it is today.
Skopje Bedesten still serves under the Macedonian Ministry of Culture. The bazaar, where mostly Turkish tradesmen take place, gives a special importance to the Skopje Bazaar with its historical and architectural texture.
Cathedral Of Saint Dimitrija Solunski
The Saint Dimitrija Solunski Cathedral, which has been carefully preserved in Skopje since 1886, was unfortunately destroyed by the Bulgarians during the Second World War. Unlike many historical buildings in the country, the destroyed parts of the church were not rebuilt in accordance with its original form. For this reason, the place where you can see the traces of World War II most clearly in the country is the Cathedral of St. Dimirtija Solunski.
After the burning of the Virgin Mary Cathedral, it was used as the main cathedral. Therefore, it has an important place for the Orthodox community. The cathedral, which is quite simple, plain and small, was built in the closed cross model. There is a dome at the point where the arms of the cross intersect. There is a bell tower in the northwest corner of the building.
The church, which was opened to visitors without touching a single stone after the destruction, is highly regarded by the Orthodox. A large number of people, both domestic and foreign, visit this place every year.
The Bey’s Tower, also known as the Feudalism Tower, is located in the main square in the new part of the city. It is thought to be the oldest building in Skopje. However, it is not known exactly when and for what purpose the tower was built. It is also assumed that the tower, which is thought to have been built for defense during the Ottoman period in the 17th century, was used as a watchtower.
The height of the tower is 14 meters and the thickness of the walls is 1.5 meters. Large blocks of square stones and bricks were used in its construction.
There is only one entrance gate in the tower. And this gate is seen in the north-facing part of the tower. There are balconies and windows of different sizes facing the north and east directions of the tower. Of the stairs of the Bey Tower, which consists of three floors, only the first floor stairs have been preserved and are in usable condition.
Macedonia Square, also called Skopje Square, is one of the most central places in the country. It is in the heart of the city and country.
The square, which was planned after the great 1963 earthquake and took its current form, maintains its mobility and liveliness until late hours, especially in the summer months.
The square also serves as the city’s transportation hub. Various bus and minibus lines depart from here and transport people to different points of the city.
There are cafes, restaurants and shopping spots around Skopje Square. Most of the tourists prefer Macedonia Square as the starting point of their visit.
In 2007, the Army House and the Old Theater, which were among the important structures of the square, which were damaged in the 1963 earthquake, were restored to take their current form. In 2008, a large and high Macedonian flag was hung on the square. In 2010, statues of Gotse Delçev and Dame Gruev were added right next to Taşköprü. In 2011, the Statue of Alexander the Great, which is the most important symbol of Macedonia Square today, was erected on September 8th.
Macedonian Struggle Museum
It is one of the museums built as part of the Skopje 2014 Project. Established on an area of 2500 square meters, the museum is located on the east bank of the Vardar River, directly opposite Macedonia Square. The budget spent for the construction of the museum was approximately 10 million Euros.
The museum exhibits the Macedonian nation’s struggle for independence in history. The Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Macedonia is displayed in a central location in the museum hall.
In the museum, which consists of 16 different sections, wax statues of 109 historical people are exhibited, and there are pictures of 16 people.
Macedonian Struggle Museum tells about Macedonia’s struggle to establish its own national state in the Balkans, its history, cultural and revolutionary traditions.
The construction of the Macedonian Struggle Museum started in 2008. The official opening of the museum took place on September 8, 2011, the Independence Day of Macedonia, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Macedonia.
Macedonian Struggle Museum (VMRO Museum) is one of the most visited institutions in Skopje. It hosts more than 100 thousand people, including foreign official delegations, diplomats, public servants and other visitors. With these official visits, the museum has become a Macedonian guest house.
Mother Teresa House
It is a house built in memory of Mother Teresa, one of the famous nuns of the Christian world, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her philanthropic activities.
Her real name is Gonca Boyacı. He was born on 26 August 1910 in Skopje. He died on September 5, 1997 in Kolkata.
He is the founder of the Charitable Missionaries Congregation. She decided to become a nun at the age of 18 and joined the Loretto Nurses, known for their missionary activities in India. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
The lower part of the house, which was built in memory of Mother Teresa, is used as a museum, while the upper floor is used as a church. It was inaugurated on January 30, 2009.
The location of the house, which was built in a region very close to Macedonia Square, was specially chosen. It is said that the Catholic Church of the “Sacred Heart of Jesus”, where Mother Teresa was baptized, was located in the place where the memorial house is located.
While the bedroom symbolizing the period in which Mother Teresa lived was built in one corner of the main part of the memorial house, the dining room was built in the other corner.
A permanent exhibition is presented to the visitors in most of the hall of the house. In this exhibition in the memorial house, there are photographs, documents and belongings from the various years of Mother Teresa’s life, from her childhood in Skopje to her death and canonization. His photograph with the Nobel Peace Prize he received in 1979 is also exhibited here.
It is also possible to see some of Mother Teresa’s personal belongings, the most famous of which is her white saree. On the upper floor of the house is a small chapel, which is part of the Catholic church. Catholic tourists who come to the memorial house for a visit worship here.
Skopje City Museum
This building, known as the Old Train Station in Skopje, is now used as the Skopje City Museum. Although its name is “old train station”, the station, which cannot be said to be very old, was built by Serbian architect Gavrilovic between 1938-1940.
The clock at the train station, which was badly damaged in the earthquake of 6.1 magnitude on July 26, 1963, broke down after the earthquake and still stands at the time of the event, at 05:17, as if reminding of that day.
Considering that 80% of the city was destroyed in the 1963 earthquake, two thousand people died and 100 thousand people were left homeless, we can say that this station is actually a symbol of great mourning and sadness for Macedonians with its stance as it was then.
The old train station, which was converted from the train station to the Skopje City Museum in 1970, has an area of 4000 square meters. 800 square meters of this is used for temporary exhibitions and 2500 square meters for permanent exhibitions. Works on archeology, ethnology, history and art history can be seen in its collection.
Transportation In Skopje
When you travel to Skopje, you should also know how to get there. Public transport in Skopje is provided by buses. There is no metro or tram available. To get on the red buses, you can buy your ticket in advance from the ticket offices or you can pay the bus driver. However, it is worth remembering that the price of the ticket you will buy on the bus will be a little higher. In Skopje, where old and outdated buses were used in the past, more modern and double-decker buses have been available in recent years. You can easily reach places to visit in Skopje by these buses.
Another option for transportation in Skopje is taxis. Compared to many countries, taximeter fees are quite low. It can be preferred especially for close distance trips.
Apart from these, the use of bicycles is common in Skopje and there are many operators where you can rent a bicycle.
It takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the city from Skopje Alexander the Great Airport, which is located 24 kilometers outside the city. It is possible to get to the city by public transport and taxi.
There are also regular train services to cities such as Manastır, Gevgeli, Kırçova and Koçana in Skopje, as well as to some neighboring cities.
Your trip to Skopje continues, if you can’t decide what to eat, then it’s time to talk about what to eat in Skopje. The city of Skopje, which has hosted many different civilizations for centuries in its deep-rooted past, and the country of Macedonia, in which it is located, show these differences in food culture.
The fact that many things can be done in the country, from grapes to citrus fruits, from olives to rice, from vegetable and grain varieties to animal husbandry, has a great impact on this.
Among its traditional dishes, lamb stews, kebabs, potato and cabbage dishes, soups, stuffing and wraps, which are mostly prepared with minced meat, pots and stews, and pickles stand out. It can be said that garlic, onions and peppers are not missing from all dishes. Macedonian breads and pastries called “pogacha” are also included with almost every meal.
As desserts, light desserts such as fruit salads, puddings and rice pudding, as well as sweets such as baklava, tulumba and revani with sherbet, halva and cake varieties are preferred.
- Restaurant Ekskluziv
- Dva Elena
- Meana Karpic
- Tomce Sofka
- Pivnica An
- Gino Restaurant
- Cafe Dion
Tip: In Macedonia, as in other Balkan countries, there is no custom of leaving a certain percentage of the account as a tip.
Shopping In Skopje
Wouldn’t you like to beautify your Skopje trip with shopping? There are different options for shopping in Skopje. If you wish, you can shop at the stores or at the shopping centers while you are wandering the streets.
If you are not going to buy local products, it will not be the right choice to choose Skopje for clothes shopping. Because most of the textile products are exported from Turkey. You will notice that many brands are already familiar as you wander around.
In Skopje, the best shopping spots are the markets, both to get to know the local culture better and to find diversity. The Old Market and the Flea Market, located side by side in the city center, are the most important among them. In these markets, it is possible to find many products from legumes to cheese, from flowers to local clothes.
Apart from this, there are many shops in the bazaar in the Turkish quarter and in the bazaar section in the modern part of the city.
If your choice is to go to the mall, the most famous ones are Capitol and Skopje City Mall.
The nightlife of Skopje, which is a multicultural city, is also very colorful. Apart from the places where you can only drink, such as bars or pubs, there are also many nightclubs. Especially most of the new clubs are nice venues on the banks of the Vardar River.
One of the most popular venues in the city is Havana Club. There is an entrance fee at the venue where a different style band plays live music every night. Kino Karposh, on the other hand, is one of the quality places where the youth of the city hang out with its cinema-themed decoration and creative party ideas. Club Colosseum, which brings famous DJs to the city and is one of the most popular venues, serves in Skopje City Park in summer and near the train station in winter.
Located in the Turkish bazaar area, Menada plays live music for jazz lovers. It is a very pleasant place as it also provides restaurant service. When you travel to Skopje, do not leave without tasting the nightlife!
- Animax Film Festival (December)
- Jazz Festival (October)
- Taksirat Music Festival (November-December)
- Skopje Design Week (November)
- International Shadow Theater Children’s Festival (November)
- Mobile Film Festival (November)
Skopje Public Holidays
- New Year’s Day (January 1)
- Orthodox Christmas Day (January 7)
- Labor Day (May 1)
- General Slavic Educators’ Day (May 24)
- Feast Of Ramadan
- Republic Day (August 2)
- Independence Day (September 8)
- Day Of The People’s Revolt Against Fascism (11 October)
- Day Of Struggle For The Macedonian Revolution (October 23)
- Feast Of St. Clement Ohridski (December 8)
Useful Information For Skopje
- Emergency Help: 112
- Fire: 112
- Police: 112