Macedonia was not on my original list, but I continued to meet people in hostels who told me it was their favourite Balkan country and eventually decided I had to find out why.
My phone charger and I are no longer speaking. In fact, we decided it would be best if it stayed in Podgorica, so I spent my first day trying to find a new one at this mall.
The first place I visited was the Memorial House of Mother Teresa, who was born in Skopje and baptized in a church where the memorial house now stands.
The current residents were quite welcoming.
Next to the house was a beautiful Orthodox Church that seemed to still be under construction.
There were many statues around Skopje, and it was a nice city to explore. To me it looked like a developing city with huge potential to be a major tourist attraction in the future.
In visiting Macedonia, I’ve now been to each country that was formerly part of Yugoslavia! When Macedonia declared independence, it was the only one to achieve it without opposition or violence.
Now, the name Macedonia is actually controversial and the cause of an ongoing dispute with Greece. Most of the ancient Macedonian empire is contained in the Macedonia region of Greece, and is considered a Greek empire. Alexander the Great was born in Pella, located in modern day Greece. Greece objects to what it views as the appropriation of Greek symbols such as Alexander the Great, and the possibility that by using the name ‘Macedonia,’ territorial claims might be asserted on the Greek Macedonian land.
Skopje has a huge statue called “Warrior on a Horse” which is clearly Alexander the Great.
After many years and without a full resolution, Greece accepted the temporary name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia despite the inclusion of ‘Macedonia’ and Macedonia accepted it despite objecting to the connotations of ‘Yugoslav.’
The night I arrived in Skopje, after my 12 hours of travel through Montenegro and Kosovo, I was exhausted and hungry since I didn’t get a chance to eat much that day. It just so happened that Marieke, whom I spent two days with exploring Slovenia, was there and she made soup that she shared with me, thus bringing me back to life. After such a tiring day, there really isn’t anything better than running into a friend who gives you soup.
I met a cool guy from Cyprus who is studying in Skopje and will be in Cyprus when I’m there! Traveling is fun.
I had never seen the Sine Law painted on a wall and had to take a picture.
My favourite church in Skopje was Saint Clement of Ohrid. Ohrid, by the way, is a holy city in Macedonia that I would have loved to go to if it had fit my schedule. Someday.
It’s easy to appreciate these churches as works of art.
I spent an afternoon wandering through the old town with its mosques and bazaars.
I encountered this clock tower next to the Church of Saint Demetrius. I’ve tried to figure out what the symbols on it are without success. If anyone knows, please tell me!
Near my hostel was a family of cats. Unless a large white dog was around, they lived under the dumpster here.
Another day I found them in a garden and made new friends.
Cats seemed to be as common as humans in the neighborhood in which I stayed.
Finally, I spent the last afternoon at a café by the river planning my next destinations and Skyping my dad.
I think that “Macedonian Coffee” is Turkish coffee made in Macedonia.