In its 2,500 years of existence, Macedonia’s welcoming capital city has had many different incarnations. All of them – from Roman to Byzantine, from Ottoman to Yugoslav – have left indelible traces on the city, as is evidenced by Skopje’s varied architecture and its mix of cultures.
The city has recently undergone an expensive makeover, with new monuments and statues. The makeover has been controversial with the locals, some who claim that the money could have been used more prudently. However, the efforts have not been in vain. The city is clean, easy to navigate, and is attracting more and more international tourists.
Here one can find sleek modern hotels above cobblestoned Ottoman streets, stately neoclassical homes right around the corner from grand old Yugoslav-era buildings, chic cafes, shopping malls and brightly-colored new offices, red-bricked Byzantine churches and rounded Turkish mosques.
The concentrated complexity of Skopje today entices visitors, offering a great variety of things to see and do and constantly reminding of the city’s storied past.
The world’s best cities all contain at least one secluded natural escape. Skopje has two – a long, tree-lined park along the river, and the forested hills of Mt. Vodno, which overlooks the city from the southwest and offers excellent hiking and wilderness serenity within walking distance of downtown Skopje. The summit of Mt. Vodno is also crowned by the enormous Millennium Cross that presides over the city. From here one gets even more magnificent views of Macedonia’s capital.
Skopje also boasts reliable public transportation and taxis, as well as a plethora of modern internet cafes for keeping in touch with the folks back home. And it is also one of the safest cities in Europe.