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Stone Bridge in Skopje

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The Stone Bridge in Skopje is one of the most important sights of the city. There are two assumptions about the initial construction of the bridge. According to the first (that is confirmed by archaeological studies), it was built in the 6th century, just after the catastrophic earthquake in the year of 518. The earthquake happened during the Empire by Emperor Justinian I. According to the second assumption, which is supported with historical sources, the bridge was probably reconstructed during the time of Sultan Mehmed II Conqueror (1444-1446; 1451-1481), between 1451 and 1469.

The coat of arms of the City of Skopje, along with the fortress Kale and the snowy peaks of the mountains, presents a graphic of The Stone Bridge with Vardar River, as you can see in the image underneath, making it one of the main symbols of the capital of Macedonia.

In its original form, the bridge had 13 arches, with a total length of 213.85 meters and a width of 6.33 meters. It was walled with travertine blocks, arranged with great mastery and accuracy, interconnected with iron clamps, fastened with cast lead, crushed stone and mortar used inside the pillars. Some of them, such as the middle pillar has large double-function rooms in its interior to reduce the load on the pillar, and also to serve as rooms with cannons.

The bridge is connecting the main square in Skopje and the Old Bazaar. On one side of the river called Vardar, you can see GTC as a monument of modern architecture, and on the other side is the Old Bazaar with its all oriental atmosphere. It is representing a physical link between two time periods of Skopje. It's truly astonishing to see.

For five years there was an initiative called Breakfast on the bridge, where once per year, on one Sunday morning, it was held a collective breakfast right on this bridge. Everyone that previously reserved the place for this event could join for free. This tradition stopped because of seemingly unknown reasons.

I am always happy to visit Skopje. Very often I don't even realize that I am passing this bridge. This is how spontaneously and well positioned is. It is one of the most important city organs and this will be just an addition to previously mentioned aesthetic values.

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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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