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News 14 Jun 11

Macedonia's Alexander the Great Statue Arrives in Skopje

The controversial bronze statue of the ancient warrior king Alexander the Great arrived early Tuesday morning at the main square in the Macedonian capital, Skopje.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
Skopje

The tall statue will be assembled on site | Photo by: Balkan Insight

The equestrian statue, which depicts the ancient warrior king riding his horse Bucephalus, arrived from Italy in several pieces and is expected to be assembled on site within the next ten days.

After assembly, the statue will be erected on top of a 12-metre-tall fountain pedestal. The entire structure is expected to stretch more than 24 metres into the Skopje skyline.

The erection of the monument has been highly controversial due to its estimated high cost, the manner in which the decision to commission the statue was taken, as well as its potential impact on relations with Greece, already strained due to the 18-year-long row over Macedonia's name.

The origin of Alexander the Great is at the heart of the dispute, as the two neighbouring nations have different views on ancient history. The warrior king is one of many historic figures and symbols claimed by both states.
 
The bronze artwork was cast in Fonderia Artistica Ferdinando Marinelli, a well known foundry located in Florence, Italy, and will reportedly cost Macedonian tax payers some five million euros.

Together with the pedestal the statue will be over 24 metres tall | Photo by: Balkan Insight

The statue is seen as the pinnacle of the massive government-funded revamp of the capital, dubbed “Skopje 2014”.
 
The pricey makeover, expected to cost taxpayers several hundred million euros, involves the erection of a range of marble and bronze monuments of historic figures alongside sculptures, bridges, fountains, museums, a hall for the Macedonian philharmonic orchestra, a foreign ministry building, hotels and a church.

Most of the buildings and sculptures draw inspiration from classical architectural styles and are already under construction.

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