Today I’m sharing a photo of the Porta Macedonia in Skopje taken by Kamila from the Kami and the Rest of the World Blog.
Kami is a Polish travel blogger like me, based in Warsaw. Contrary to the popular trends she decided not to leave her job to travel the world but instead she tries to show it is possible to have both, a normal life and extensive travels (by now she has been to 65 countries around the world).
Her main focus is on city breaks and Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans and former USSR destinations as she thinks these are wonderful places that deserve so much more attention.
Photo Story: Porta Macedonia and Skopje Centre
Skopje, the capital of Macedonia (or now, North Macedonia) is known for its quirky and kitschy centre. It’s mind-blowing and I bet this is one of the weirdest cities you will ever see.
Skopje is full of contrasts with the largest old bazaar in the Balkans and some of the best examples of brutalism architecture ever (that’s where my love for this style started).
But that’s still not what makes Skopje unique.
The controversial government project “Skopje 2014” was announced in 2010 and its main purpose was to give the city centre a new, classical look.
Numerous buildings (now home to cultural or government institutions), bridges and especially statutes were built, making Skopje look like the Disneyland of the Balkans.
There are even brand new but looking like old boats moored in Vardar river! Whenever you are in the centre you will see these insane new creations around you.
Some of the statues show great Macedonians (or well-known people from the area of Macedonia), others are simply weird, like a girl walking and talking on the phone or a small cute dog with a crown.
As part of the project, Skopje got also its own triumphal arch – Porta Macedonia – dedicated to 20 years of Macedonian independence.
In the spring of 2016 a colourful, anti-government revolution took over the streets of Skopje.
In the country, that deals with a rather big unemployment rate and numerous other social and economic issues, an incredibly large amount of money were spent on “Skopje 2014” project (in first four years it was over US$700 million…).
Of course, that didn’t make people super happy and, as part of the protests, they were throwing colourful paint on all the new buildings, showing what they really think of them.
All these brand new fancy buildings were covered in colourful splashes. That looked pretty cool, actually!
Most of the buildings were cleaned up quickly but even during my latest visit in Skopje in October 2017 I still found the remnants of the colourful revolution on Financial Police or Ministry of Foreign Affairs buildings.
If you’d like to see the crazy centre of Skopje you better hurry up. In February 2018 the project was put on hold and there is a discussion about removing some of the most controversial monuments and statues.
Porta Macedonia is a triumphal arch located on the Pella Square in Skopje, Macedonia. Construction started in 2011 and was completed in January 2012.
The arch is 21 meters in height, and cost EUR 4.4 million. Its author is Valentina Stefanovska, sculptor who made several other grandiose monuments from Skopje 2014 project, including the statue dedicated to Alexander the Great officially named “Warrior on a Horse.”
The arch is dedicated to 20 years of Macedonian independence and its outer surface is covered in 193 m2 of reliefs carved in marble, depicting scenes from the history of Macedonia.
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