Travel Guide to Skopje

 

Skopje was inhabited since 4000 B.C, the area where the fortification (Kale) stands today. Tracing back the history, Skopje was part of Dardania, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Austro- Hungarian Empire, the Bulgarian Occupation, the Serbian Empire and Ottoman Empire. Since 1913 until 1991, Macedonia was part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Moreover, Skopje is the capitol of Republic of Macedonia since its independence, 1991. 

Skopje Remembers

1. General Facts

Population: over 700.000 citizens
Postal code: 1000
International dialing code + city code: + 389 02
River: Vardar divides the town on two parts
Airport: Alexander the Great Airport is 27 km away from Skopje. Regular Bus lines operated by Vardar Ekspres run from and to the airport on a daily base. The ticket for one-way transfer costs 2.5 euros (150 denars). Moreover, taxi is also available in front of the airport but it will be more expensive than the bus.  

Eagle eye perspective

2. Infrastructure 

Pristina - 80 km away
Sofia - 170 km away 
Thessaloniki - 250 km away
Tirana - 290 km away
Belgrade - 320 km away

The Pan-European Corridor X (M1-motorway E-75) intersects in Skopje, linking the town to Thessaloniki on one side and Belgrade on the other. Moreover, Corridor VIII connects Skopje with Tirana on West and Sofia on East. 

3. Main Train Station Skopje

The Train Station is around 1.5 km away from the city center. Direct trains from Kosovo, Belgrade and Thessaloniki arrive at the Main Train Station daily. Connections to other town in the country are also available by train, Tetovo, Gostivar, Kicevo, Veles, Prilep, Bitola, Kumanovo, Shtip, Kocani and Gevgelija.

4. Main Bus Station

The Bus Station was opened in 2005. It is located under the Main Train Station. Daily Busses from Sofija, Tirana, Thessaloniki, Belgrade and Istanbul arrive in Skopje. However, two or three times per week buses run to and from other European Countries including Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Denmark, Sweden, Croatia and Austria. Local buses connect Skopje with the rest of Macedonia, busses run daily. 

Skopje Train and Bus station

5. Public City Transportation

JSP services the public transport in the capitol city. Many of the marginal bus stops are not marked. So, it is advised to ask someone where the bus stops are or to use the interactive map, which can be found on the official web page of JSP. Bus ticket, for single ride costs 0.5- 0.6 euros (30-35 denars). There is also an option to buy a ticket for 10 rides. The ticket needs to be validated in the bus, use the machine to stamp the ticket. Most of the city buses are double-decker. Moreover, there are also two other private companies that offer public transport, using the same route and numbers as JSP. The difference is that those private busses have the sign "ПРИВАТЕН" and they are 5-10 denars cheaper. 

Taxi is another mean of transportation in the capitol city. Make sure the taxi has a meter. They usually charge 1 euro for start and then each kilometer is 0.5 euros (day tariff). 

JSP BUS

6. Shopping Centers

Skopje has diverse shopping possibilities. Among the biggest shopping centers are  Ramstore Mall, City Mall, Super Vero Center, GTC (Gradski Trgovski Centar)- City Shopping Center. Other smaller shopping center are TC Biser, TC Bunjakove, TC Beverli Hills and Capitol Mall. Among the popular shopping areas are the green markets, the Green Bazaar (Зелено Пазарче) and Bit Bazaar (Бит Пазар) where a variety of homegrown products, seasons and clothes could be found. In addition, the Old Bazaar, the largest open bazaar in the Balkans is still very popular among the tourists and citizens. Variety of craft shops, restaurant and other markets surround the bazaar.  

Super Vero Center

7. Museums

Macedonian Museum of Natural History - home to over 4000 items 
Museum of Contemporary Art - built after the earthquake
Memorial House Mother Teresa - opened in 2009
Holocaust Memorial Center of the Jews in Macedonia
Historic Museum - Ilinden Uprising
Archaeological Museum - opened in 2014
Museum of the Macedonian Struggle
Museum of the City of Skopje 
Museum of Macedonia - the largest museum in Skopje and one of the oldest

Museum of Macedonian Struggle

Museum of city Skopje

Archeological Museum Skopje

8. Festivals

Skopje Jazz Festival

It is one of the most popular festivals held in Skopje, since 1982. Skopje Jazz Festival is part of the European forum of World Music Festivals and as such, it has gained international reputation. It is annually held in October

Skopje Jazz Festival

Skopje Cultural Summer Festival

This multimedia festival traditionally starts on 21st of June until July, lasting for 40 days. Most of the performances and events are held under the open sky. Skopje Cultural Summer Festival is held since 1979. 

Skopje Summer Festival

 Vino Skop - Skopje Wine Festival 

Vino Skop is a festival that celebrates and promotes the Macedonian wine and wine production. It was held in 2007 for the first time. It last for couple of days and a variety of singers and other entertaining events take place. Every year the festival is held in October, on different locations. The festival has no entrance fee. 

Vino Skop

BuskerFest

It is the most popular international street performance festival at the Balkan region including musicians, magicians, acrobats and jugglers. Each year the festival is on different days, June/July. BuskerFest gained international fame as it is a part of the Balkan Circus Network. 

BuskerFest

Skopje Film Festival

The Film Festival is annually held in April, lasting for a week. During the festival over 50 film are shown. The tickets for the movies are 100 denars (1.6 euros). However, there is also free entrance for some of the movies, which will be shown in a certain cinema, Kino Frosina (for the festival in 2015). 

Skopje Film Festival

9. Nightlife

Skopje has one of the most diverse nightlife among the Balkan. The most popular are bars, nightclubs and restaurant, which are located at the city center as well as in the City Park.
Popular nightclubs: XO club, B2, Havana, Colloseum, Marakana, Sector, Jukebox, Hard Rock and Midnight.
Popular cafes: Trend cafe, Ciao Cafe, Drama cafe, Birokrat-ministry of coffee and Il Cafe di Roma.
Popular bars: Casa Cubana, Irish Pub St. Patrick and Plaza de Toros.
Popular traditional Macedonian restaurants, kafana: Furna, Stara Kuka  (Old City House), Skopski Merak and La Tana. 

Birokrat

Old City House

Plaza de Toros

10. Sport Events

Most of the sport events as well as music concerts take place at: National Arena "Philip II" and Sport Center "Boris Trajkovski". In front of the Sport Center, there is a carting club which is open until midnight. Moreover, the Sport Center has a swimming pool, fitness center, aerobic center, pink-pong club, massage center, hockey arena, congress center, bowling and Aqua Park. 

Arena Filip II

Sport Center Boris Trajkovski

11. Skopje ZOO

The Zoo was opened in 1928 and from 2004 is a part of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. Today, the zoo covers over 12 hectares of land, part of the city park. It has over 500 animals from around 100 species. The entrance ticket is 50 denars (0.9 euros). 

Skopje Zoo

12. Popular Attractions

Stone Bridge - the Emblem of the City 

The Bridge has 13 arches and is 214m long
The stone bridge was build sometime between 1451 and 1469. However, the 214 meters long bridge was only partially renovated in 1990's. Moreover, it is characteristic for its 13 arches. 

Stone Bridge

Old Town - Old Bazaar, the heart of the city 

During 16th and 17th century, the Old Town was one of the most famous and largest open bazaars in the Balkans, mix of eastern and western culture. Moreover, worth for a visit are the Ottoman caravanserais (Kurshumli An, Kapan An and Suli An), mosques (Jahja Pasha and Ishak Beg) and Hammams (Daut Pasha Hammam)

Old Town

Old Railway Station - the Witness to the most Devastating Event in Skopj

What happened on 26.07.1963 always will be remembered as the day when the most devastating event took place. Over 1000 people died and many more were injured. The clock on the railway station still points out the time when the earthquake happened, 05:17 am. Today, the Old Railway Station is turned into a museum. 

The clock on the Old Railway Station

Mount Vodno and the Millennium Cross

66 meters high cross, the tallest one in Europe, which can be seen even from a distance of 40 km. It was build to celebrate 2000 years of Christianity. There is a bus, which goes up to Middle Vodno from where a cable lift is available. Another possibility is from Middle Vodno to hike up to the top. The top of the mountain offers a panoramic view of Skopje. 

Millennium Cross

Mother Teresa Memorial

The Memorial House was opened in 2009 to honor the winner of Nobel Prize for Piece, Mother Teresa. The memorial is build near the Church where Mother Teresa was baptized. 

Memorial House Mother Teresa

Kale Fortress 

The historical fortress perches on the top of a hill offering stunning views over the city of Skopje. The excavations discovered that the first fortress was built in the 6th century and destroyed the same by an earthquake. Later during the 10th century the Emperor Justinian I, rebuilt the fortress. 

Kale Fortress and Stone Bridge

Tumba Madzari - a Neolithic site

The most famous open museum located 7 km from the city center. Evidences prove that the area was inhabited 6000 years ago and people had been living there for over 2 centuries. Today,Tumba Madzari is open for visitors. In 2008, 4 houses were built to resemble the living style 6000 years ago. One of the characteristics of those houses is the sanctuary located within the house. The most representative and the most popular finding is the statue of the Great Mother Goddess.

Tumba Madzari

Skopje Aqueduct

This archaeological site, which dates from the Roman times, was the main aqueduct that for years was supping the city with water. Today the remains are still impressive especially its architecture. The locality is around 7 km away from the city center, village of Vizbegovo. 

Skopje Aqueduct

Porta Macedonia

This triumphal arch is located on the Pella Square, close to the main square. Since 2012, the year when the arch was constructed it became one of the famous landmarks of Skopje. The monument was built to celebrate the 20 years of independence. 

Porta Makedonija

Matka Canyon 

The most popular destination famous for its natural beauty is located around 15 km away from the city center. The Matka Lake is the oldest artificial lake. In addition, Matka is home to 365 churches and monasteries, most of them are left in ruins. The most popular attraction is the Vrelo Cave, which can be accessed only by boat. Kayak rentals are available on site. 

Матка Скопје

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