Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sights Around Skopje

Since the blog post about the Kumanovo game, some people might have a negative view of Macedonia. My wife and I really like living in Macedonia and living in the capital city of Skopje. I wanted to share some pictures I took around the city the other day to show how neat it is. I know a lot of people back at home know nothing about the country or city so I will offer some explanations and fun facts.

In the center of the square in downtown Skopje is a statue of Alexander the Great or more accurately "Warrior on a Horse" as it is officially called. There is actually a little bit of controversy surrounding the statue. There is a lot of tension between Greece and Macedonia which would take a long time to write about and understand. Basically Greece claims that the name Macedonia belongs to them because it is one of their northern provinces. They have even blocked Macedonia's entrance into the EU and NATO because of their differences. Obviously there is a lot more to it than that but this is a blog and not a complete history lesson. Anyways, Greece claims Alexander the Great as a Greek and not Macedonian so they view the statue as a slap in the face. I hope I got that right but that was how it was all explained to me.

There are many other statues in the downtown square. I can't tell you who any of them are but I can tell you that there a lot of men riding on horses. If I ever have a statue of me, then I want it to be me on a horse because I think it looks awesome.

The Vardar River runs through the center of the town and this stone bridge connects the square to the old town. The bridge is actually a symbol of the town as it is seen on the coat of arms of the city. Just below the bridge there is a statue of 2 women diving into the water and if you look hard enough you can see them. I thought it was pretty neat!

Did you know that Mother Theresa is from Skopje, Macedonia? This is the Mother Theresa Memorial House. It was built where the Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church once was and was the church that Mother Theresa was baptized in. If you look closely you can see 2 of my teammates in the picture as well.

There are many other great things to see and do around Skopje and the downtown area is very pleasant. Coffee shops and restaurants are plentiful in the square and I have spent a few afternoons sipping coffee there. Mountains surround the city and atop one of the mountains is the Millenium Cross. From the Cross you can see the whole city. There is also an old castle in the city called the Kale Fortress. I actually don't have any pictures to show of the cross or the castle but hopefully I will get them soon.

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