As I finish my first week on the dig, many of the team members and I headed to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, to spend the weekend. I passed by this city briefly my first time around when I transferred from bus to taxi to get to sveti nikole. I suspect that this city is not very big, but what I’ve seen of it so far is quite charming. We are living in a cute hostel with a balcony, within walking distance to the city center. The city center is centered about the Macedonia square with a newly erected Alexander the great statue, is surrounded by pedestrian areas with many public art statues, and a stone bridge which is the junction between the old town and the new. We stayed on the new side of the town tonight, had a few drinks at a Cuban bar that sold two for one mojitos, and then went to eat yummy Italian food. Tomorrow I’m hoping I can explore the old quarters.
Speaking of the Alexander the great statue which was erected last Wednesday, I suspect that its existence pisses Greece off. Not only is the origin of Alexander (Greek/Macedonian) hotly contested between the two countries, in fact Greece still refuses to recognize Macedonia under the name of “Macedonia”, as there is a part of Greece that is also called Macedonia. According to another team member, they have a very similar statue in thessaloniki, which is a city in the Greek Macedonia. So, Greece must not be happy about this new bronzy gold statue in Skopje, though I’m sure Greece has better things to worry about at the moment.
Included is a photo of the Alexander the great statue taken from the stone bridge with the Macedonian flag and skopje cross on the mountain as a backdrop (trying to copy rio?)