Went on a walking tour on 17.10.18 and after nearly 3 hours loved the place. The Republic of Macedonia (to give it its proper title) has a population of just over 2 million. Its 65% Macedonian orthodox christian. I didn’t realise there were so many different countries with their own Orthodox religion until I came to the Balkans, all have their own Pope in their own country. It is still one of the poorest countries in Europe but is making steady although slow progress with its economy. The refurbishment in 2014 is still controversial as it was supposed to cost 80 million Euros but ended up costing 800 million. Its understandable the poor question this spend!
The politics like so many in the region have changed immensely over thousands of years from the Byzantine, Ottoman,Serbian rule, Yugoslavia, and then finally in 1991 peacefully became the Republic it is today. However there has been an ongoing issue with its name which is claimed by Greece who have veteod it regularly for membership of the EU since 2005. It’s a real issue and only 2 days ago the Greek foreign minister resigned over derogatory remarks he made about the issue. Most people I speak to have been keen to join the EU but wary of politicians and all have been against joining NATO , they are just happy to remain independent and again don’t trust the politics of NATO
The people have been wonderful as far as I am concerned. The city was subjected to a massive building programme in 2014. In 1963 they had a large earthquake that destroyed large parts of the city. 1,100 people died and 4000 were injured, 200,000 were left homeless. The UN and international charities came to their aid and parts of the city streets and objects are now named after these countries as a thank you for the support they gave eg. Mexico Street, Bucharest Hospital, British area, etc. The cities motto is “The City of International Solidarity”
The building programme in 2014 produced a beautiful city with the most statues by far I have ever seen anywhere. Some people probably think they went over the top but I loved it. I looked all over the buildings as there are statues everywhere and anything that makes you really look overa beautiful building is good in my book.
The city has an arc de triumph as in Paris, A Brandenburg gate as in Berlin, A Bull as in Birmingham and Olympic flames as in Greece and apparently other cities in the world and lots of other copies from different parts of the world. The maternity fountain shows motherhood and the different stages which I though was particularly fitting to all mums everywhere.