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Skopje Old Bazaar

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The city kaleidoscope

Skopje Old Bazzaar or Skopjska Charshija, is one of the most authentic places on Balkan you can visit. It is city part that historically is first time mentioned in 12th century. Stone tile paving, small shops and extremely welcoming sellers is things you can expect when you decide to visit this kaleidoscopical part of the capital of Macedonia.

The oriental atmosphere is consisted not only in architectural expression of this narrow streets, but also smells, sounds, stories and tastes. I encourage you to enter in one the stores, called 'djukjanche', and feel free to ask questions about history of this part of the city or the store, precisely. Most of the stores you can find in Skopje old bazaar are, through following family tradition and knowledge, there for centuries!

Char-shi, where from comes the word that is used instead of bazaar, charshija, comes from Persian words for “four sides”, and nothing better can describe this part of the city- everything that can be pleasant for human senses, from every side of the world is accumulated here, in the net of narrow streets, in the navel of Skopje. Similar like in Turkish traditional stores, you must be pleasant negotiator over the price if you decide to take piece of Skopje with you. Sellers can be offended if you don’t try to make ‘’talk’’ over the trade you are intending to do.

There are several things you should try while visiting this time machine of neighbourhood, so be sure that you arrive here hungry. First is Lachmagjun in Galerija. It is something like turkish version of pizza, with minced meet and served with ajran for drinking (sour milk). Kjebapi in Turist is another famous Skopje dish. It is iconic for people living here. Here you can find Turkish delights made by family recipe and with high professionalism while following the tradition. If you are not a vegan, don't forget to buy "opinci", traditional shoes made of pig leather, and "dayere", frame drum with jingles. My intentions are you to be full and to start singing and dancing out of joy while visiting Old Bazaar, as you can see of my recommendations.

If you are interested for something more than delicious food and oriental ambient, you are still on a right place! Cultural and historical values are surrounding you with each step you make. Ottoman combined with Byzantine architecture and finally varnished with modern touch is summed state of what old bazaar become during centuries.

The Old Bazaar still is home to several active mosques, turbes, two churches and a clock-tower, that, together with the buildings of the Museum of Macedonia and the Museum of Modern Art, form the core of the modern bazaar.

Come with an empty stomach and to go back with a full heart. Leaving this place is impossible, people say. Part of you will stay forever there. Attached to fragrant aromas, motley views, and relaxed people, your memories will always get you back in the Old Bazaar of Skopje.

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The author

Zlata Golaboska

Zlata Golaboska

I am Zlata and I am an architect living in the Balkans. I am passionate about cities, how people influence architecture and vice versa, and how places change our lives.

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