"Skopje - Üsküp - Shkup" Skopje by maykal

Skopje Travel Guide: 809 reviews and 2,024 photos

Sunshine is a wonderful thing. After snow, rain and bitterly cold temperatures in Sofia, the weather had brightened up by the time the bus pulled into Skopje's enormous bus/train station. Not the prettiest part of town, but I preferred Skopje to Sofia already, just because the clouds had parted and there was a slither of blue sky!

Many guidebooks and travel websites tend to write off Skopje as an ugly modern eyesore, a place to escape from as soon as possible to Macedonia's jewel in the crown, Ohrid. True, a lot of the city was destroyed by an earthquake in 1963, but have these guidebook writers ever crossed the Vardar river and explored the old Turkish Carsija quarter? Have they climbed Mount Vodno and had herbal tea in the windswept cafe at the top? Have they negotiated a path through the crowded Bit Pazar and explored the mosques and houses on the other side of the highway by the clock tower? Have they eaten at a kebapci or a burekci?

Skopje had a small surprise in store for me. I'd known about the Turkish quarter, but assumed it was just a leftover from Ottoman times and that it was Turkish in name only...well, it seems as if there are plenty of Turkish speakers, so that really made the city for me. I hate speaking English in foreign lands, and always like to twist my tongue around whatever languages are spoken...but in just two days I was not going to learn enough Macedonian to get much more than a coffee or a slice of burek...but meeting Skopje's Turkish community and having some of the older buildings explained in Turkish was an added bonus. Although it did make me realise how out of practice I am!

I really enjoyed what I saw of Skopje, and felt that two days was not nearly enough...there is more to explore, like the kafanas of Debar Maalo, the Mustafa Pasha mosque (under renovation on my visit), the monastery of Sveti Spas (closed...), Lake Matka, the Roma village of Sutko... In fact, I think Macedonia deserves a retrun trip...I only saw Skopje and missed out on the other attractions due to time, or lack of it...so one day soon, a visit to Ohrid, Tetovo, Lake Prespa, Prilep, etc, beckons... Wizzair, take note!

Blagodaram to Maria (Malecka) for her help and recommendations...even if I didn't manage to follow them all!

  • Last visit to Skopje: Mar 2008
  • Intro Updated Apr 10, 2008
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Reviews (11)

Comments (4)

  • Manara's Profile Photo
    Mar 25, 2009 at 6:38 AM

    Your Skopje page is a very interesting read!

  • Pijlmans's Profile Photo
    Nov 22, 2008 at 2:16 AM

    I had exactly the same experience at the Sultan Murat Mosque, same story of the smoking brothers as well, and the paper with the sentences! HAHA! Cheers, Dennis

  • Lunaina's Profile Photo
    May 29, 2008 at 11:26 AM

    Great tips and photos, and fun stories... we are thinking of visiting Skopje next year!

  • Arkeolog's Profile Photo
    May 28, 2008 at 3:24 AM

    merhaba Michael, I'm off to Skopje between 10-15 June.2008. Your tips are great in a word. I understood what I read on your pages that I'll not disapponted with my mother language :)


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