,, Skopje is one of those places that has seen quite a lot of construction though there are still old bits. If I’m honest Skopje is not my favorite city. It just doesn’t really do anything for me. But you might like it. Probably depends on taste.
I came across an American who was upset that she wasn’t let into a nightclub wearing rollerblades and with her little dog. As I’m highly unlikely to aspire to such activity at least in this respect I’m safe.
The government tried to make Skopje more attractive and visually appealing though for many critics it’s just an expensive and frivolous display of nationalism – especially aimed towards Greece and the ethnic Albanians in Macedonia.
Lots of Macedonians have a big thing about Alexander the Great. There is a giant statue of him, or not depending on who you ask in the middle of Skopje. The Greeks are upset because they claim him and the Macedonians say it's just a random warrior on a horse, which it obviously isn’t, and it's all tied up with potential territory disputes. As I understand it Alexander was not exactly Greek although he leads them and the current population of Northern Macedonia has little connection with the ancient population he was king of. My reaction is to get a life there are enough problems to be going on with.
For me, the best bit of Skopje is the old bazaar, the biggest in the Balkans and I think about seven hundred years old. It's well worth a walk around but you’ll need a few sit-downs in tea shops. I must admit I’m a sucker for a market I suppose that I’m not that keen in Skopje in some ways the modern architecture tends to be over the top, grandiose and there is something of a nationalistic atmosphere about the place. (by Alan Durant, 2021)
The Vardar River isn’t particularly interesting – it’s usually a shallow trickle – but the huge number of bridges over it are fascinating. The bridges and new buildings in downtown Skopje have been constructed in recent years with EU money.
Among the sights of Skopje, perhaps the most interesting is the bazaar, which is one of the oldest and biggest on the Balkan Peninsula and has existed since at least the 12th century. It was badly damaged during World War Two, and then by the 1955 earthquake, so it’s not quite as it used to be, but you’ll still find within it mosques, minarets, caravanserais, and it’s a great place to stroll about, or maybe stop somewhere for a spot of dinner.
If you’d like to look at the sights of Skopje from above… Mount Vodno looms over Skopje, and on its summit is an enormous, 66m high cross. This cross, which is one of the largest in the world, was inaugurated in 2008, to mark Macedonian Independence Day, and to celebrate 2000 years of Christianity. You can reach the cross by cable car. To reach the cable car, take a bus from the central bus station.
If the air is clear, it’s worth the effort!
“On the basis of a few days’ experience, public transport in the Macedonian capital seems to be very chaotic, so tourists should come prepared. Preliminary orientation is not easy either: it’s difficult to get line maps and terminal departure times from their extremely crappy internet interface. There isn't much information at the stops either: many times there isn’t even a bus stop sign, just BUS written on the asphalt. There are signs at a few of the busier locations, which seem to be sun on a sort of budget taxi basis. The ticket system is completely electronic, with only plastic cards, and there is no paper ticket. The problem with this is that it’s not easy to get one as a tourist, especially on weekends.
You can only board at the front door, meaning you have to scan your pass, and though some drivers apparently do sell new cards on some lines, you can’t really rely on that. There are no ticket machines, so on weekends, you can only get a card from a small booth at the side of the central bus station. These are simple, one-way, non-time-based tickets, but there are also day tickets and season tickets. This is an interesting example of how important the sales and tariff structure behind such a system is: in the case of an ill-considered roll-out, the only result of this expensive electronic ticketing system is that visitors have to navigate an unnecessarily complex and expensive procedure.
Among the city’s bus fleet, Western Europe is only represented by some hundred-year-old, rusty, fourth-hand wrecks: otherwise, they’re all single-decker Russian LAZ buses and Chinese Yutong Citymaster double-deckers, which are very low-quality Routemaster copies. Most of the buses inside are amazingly busy and dirty; many of them have no openable windows and no air conditioning – it's no coincidence in summer many buses drive with the doors open.” (2018)