I was born in Ohrid, small and beautiful town cozy placed in the western part of Macedonia. Every visit to Skopje, before moving there, was filled with excitement. Mostly because of the size difference but also the different atmosphere that this created along. The highlight of my Skopje visits was visiting GTC. Gradski Trgovski Centar (City Trade Center), a modern equivalent of a post-modern mall, is city organ that keeps alive urban ambiance in the capital of Macedonia. To me this was more like an event, where is always planned what to do: first, me and my parents would stop to listen to the musician at one of the entrances, after being shopping in the stores, buying clothes or just checking what was trendy for that season, and always finishing with a big baguette sandwich in Rome-Paris cafe (doesn't work anymore, unfortunately, but kjebaps at Destan works equally good). I am pretty sure that this feeling of experiencing urban life, made me city addict for a life!
After the tragic Skopjes earthquake in 1963, the architects were and still are evidently encouraged to make modern confident designs and this is one of the most successful cases. This object is built 1973, according to the designs of prof.dr. Zivko Poposki. GTC is considered as an architectural monument so the decision of the government to remake this building into a baroque mall caused huge negative reactions among the people. GTC is a trading center combined with housing. Urbanistically speaking, it is a street, a link, a organ, historically speaking, it is a monument and emotional destination for many generations.
This controversial government decision made people go out on the street, remembering all pleasant memories that this object gives to them. At one point, thousands of people, GTC lovers, made a circle around this object and hugged it! People of various generations, the ones that remember romantic walks here, the ones that met their first love here, the ones that spent their youth in joy and happiness around, and the ones that hope to enjoy, came together!
We, the ones that were hugging the building, strongly believe that the hug saved this building from governmental destroying, so I can proudly invite you all to visit Skopje and to enjoy this hug-able place.
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