When in Skopje, look under the ''baroque'' mask

2 minutes to read

There is one song that goes like this:,, Скопје, радост ти ќе бидеш, Скопје, ти ќе бидеш цвет!". It is a song played in the oldest children's music festival in Macedonia in 1974. It is a song that gives hopes to Skopje after the earthquake 11 years before, that there will be joy and flowers again .

Spontaneously, the same song became an anthem of the movement that was fighting against the bad government decisions related to architecture in the capital of Macedonia, 30 years after. Many activists were saying that project SK2014 is an equal disaster as the earthquake in 1963, just caused by human factor. A long period of debates and protests were happening on the streets of Skopje just for trying this governmental project to be ended. To be clearer, I will try to explain what Skopje gained and what lost because of “SK2014”, skipping the part of money laundering, because it is still not proven.

Upper picture is the Governmental building of Republic of Macedoina designed by Petar Mulickoski, 1970. The picture below is the same building, just with added layer of facade on it.

The capital of Macedonia got a huge number of sculptures around the center, not professionally dimension-ed, nor placed. This is a random placement of а sculptures of historical persons whose relations to the Macedonian history is still a topic of discussion too. This made a very clear impression that the government was trying to create whole new identity through fake architecture. After placing a 30 m tall Alexander the Great fountain sculpture on the main square, the government decided to ‘’dress’’ the city center in ‘’baroque’’. This insane move was put into realization just by putting new facades on the already existing buildings. The most scandalous case was re-facading the building of the Government in cheap baroque manner, while the author of the old building never gave permission for all that!

In order this text not to be too "heavy" for you, my dear reader, I will stop here. I just want people to have an Idea of one different Skopje, the one that got killed by bad politics.

Also, I sincerely believe that this case can be an inspiration for you to visit this capital since it is a unique case in architectural history.

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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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