When visiting Skopje, one of the most obvious and popular places to explore is the main square, Macedonia Square.
This expansive square is the largest in the country, spanning over 18,500 square meters, and is located in the central part of the city, crossing over the Vardar River.
As you walk through the square, you’ll notice an array of impressive statues, fountains, and buildings, all with their own unique stories and significance.
One of the most iconic landmarks in the square is the Warrior on a Horse statue, which stands tall at the center of the square.
This statue is a symbol of the city and has become a popular spot for tourists to take photos and admire its impressive workmanship.
As you continue to explore the square, you’ll also come across the Fountain of the Mothers of Macedonia, which depicts the mothers of the country holding and nurturing their children, representing the strength and resilience of the Macedonian people.
Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a beautiful spot to take a stroll, Macedonia Square is definitely worth a visit.
With its impressive architecture, stunning fountains, and awe-inspiring statues, it’s no wonder why this square has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Skopje.
A Historical Overview of Skopje’s Main Square
When you visit the main square of Skopje, you are standing on a site with a rich and complex history.
The square has been the center of Skopje’s political and cultural life for centuries. Here is a brief overview of the square’s history:
The first recorded settlement on the site of Skopje’s main square dates back to at least 4000 BCE.
The Paionians, an ancient people who inhabited the region, founded a settlement on the site.
The settlement was strategically located at the crossroads of several important trade routes, which made it an important center of commerce and culture.
During the Ottoman Empire, the square was known as the “Horse Market” and was an important center of trade and commerce.
The Ottomans built several important buildings on the site, including the Kurshumli An, a mosque that still stands today.
In the 20th century, Skopje’s main square underwent several transformations.
In 1925, the city built a new post office on the site, which became a symbol of Skopje’s modernization.
During World War II, the square was heavily damaged by bombing.
After World War II, Skopje underwent a period of rapid modernization and development.
In the 1960s, after the 1963 earthquake, the city commissioned a new plan for the main square, which included the construction of several new buildings and monuments.
Today, the main square is a bustling center of commerce, culture, and politics and is home to several important buildings and monuments, including the Memorial House of Mother Teresa and the Skopje Fortress.
Iconic Monuments You’ll See
As you explore Macedonia Square, you’ll come across several iconic monuments that are worth seeing.
Here are a few of the most notable ones:
Warrior on a Horse Statue:
This impressive statue is located in the center of the square and depicts Alexander the Great riding his horse Bucephalus. The statue is 22 meters tall and is made of bronze. It’s a popular spot for taking photos and is a symbol of Macedonian pride.
This triumphal arch is located on the southern side of the square and was built in 2012 to commemorate the country’s independence. The arch is 21 meters tall and features several sculptures and reliefs that depict important moments in Macedonian history.
The Stone Bridge is one of the oldest monuments in Skopje and is located just south of the square. The bridge dates back to the 15th century and was originally built by the Ottomans. It’s a popular spot for taking photos and offers great views of the Vardar River.
Mother Teresa Memorial House:
The Mother Teresa Memorial House is located just east of the square and is dedicated to the life and work of Mother Teresa, who was born in Skopje. The house features several exhibits and artifacts that tell the story of her life and legacy.
As you explore these iconic monuments, take some time to appreciate their beauty and significance.
Each one tells a unique story about the history and culture of Macedonia.
Skopje’s main square is a hub of architectural diversity, featuring a mix of modern structures and historic buildings. Here are the highlights:
The most striking modern structure in the square is the controversial “Warrior on a Horse” statue, which was erected as part of the Skopje 2014 project.
This project aimed to revitalize the city’s architecture and promote a sense of national pride.
The statue has been subject to much criticism, with some calling it an eyesore and others praising it as a symbol of strength and unity.
Another notable modern structure is the Marriott Hotel Skopje, which boasts a sleek, modern design.
The hotel is a popular destination for tourists and business travelers alike, offering luxurious accommodations and stunning views of the city.
The most iconic historic building in the square is the Stone Bridge, which dates back to the 15th century.
The bridge spans the Vardar River and is a popular spot for tourists to take photos and enjoy the view.
The Museum of the Macedonian Struggle is another historic building worth visiting.
The museum is housed in a beautiful neoclassical building and showcases the history of Macedonia’s struggle for independence.
Skopje is a great place to visit if you’re looking for unique shopping opportunities. The city has a lot to offer, from traditional markets to modern shopping malls. Here are some of the best places to shop in Skopje:
1. Skopje City Mall
Located just 3 kilometers away from the center of Skopje, the Skopje City Mall is the largest and most visited shopping mall in the area. The mall is home to over 150 stores that offer both high-end and affordable attire.
You can find everything from clothing and accessories to electronics and home goods. The mall also has a cinema, a food court, and a play area for children.
2. Old Bazaar
The Old Bazaar in Skopje is a great place to visit for shopping and exploring.
The market is full of interesting stalls, shops, and attractions. You can find traditional hand-crafted jewelry, carpets, clothing, and food, as well as unique souvenirs.
The Old Bazaar is also a great place to try traditional Macedonian cuisine.
3. Macedonia Square
Macedonia Square is the main square of Skopje and a popular shopping destination.
The square itself is home to many shops and boutiques that offer a variety of products, from clothing and jewelry to souvenirs and gifts
You can also find many cafes and restaurants in and around the square.
4. GTC Shopping Center
The GTC Shopping Center is another popular shopping destination in Skopje. The center is home to many shops and boutiques that offer a variety of products, from clothing and shoes to cosmetics and electronics.
Nightlife in the Square
If you’re looking for a fun night out in Skopje, the main square is a great place to start.
With a variety of bars, clubs, and restaurants, there’s something for everyone.
One of the most popular spots here is Kafe Kubana, a Cuban-themed bar with a wide selection of cocktails and a lively atmosphere.
For a more laid-back evening, head to the SoulKitchen. This trendy spot has a relaxed vibe and a great selection of beers and wines.
No matter what your preferences, the main square has plenty of options for a fun night out.
Tips for Visiting the Macedonia Square
When visiting the main square of Skopje, there are a few tips that can help you make the most of your experience.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
By following these tips, you can have a more enjoyable and memorable experience when visiting the main square of Skopje.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some must-see attractions in Skopje?
Skopje is full of unique and interesting attractions that will keep you busy for days.
A must-see attraction is the Macedonia Square, itself which is the main square of Skopje and home to many beautiful statues and fountains.
Another popular attraction is the Stone Bridge, which is a historic bridge that spans the Vardar River and connects the old town with the new town.
Don’t forget to visit the Old Bazaar, which is the largest bazaar in the Balkans and has been a center of commerce for centuries.
What’s the best time of year to visit Skopje?
The best time to visit Skopje is during the spring and fall when the weather is mild and the crowds are smaller.
However, if you’re a winter lover, then Skopje is a great place to visit during the winter months.
The city is covered in snow, and there are plenty of winter activities to enjoy.
Is Skopje a safe city for tourists?
Yes, Skopje is generally a safe city for tourists. However, like any city, there are some areas that are safer than others.
It’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions like not carrying large amounts of cash or wearing flashy jewelry.
Stick to well-lit areas at night and avoid walking alone in quiet areas. If you’re unsure about safety in a particular area, ask a local or your hotel staff for advice.