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News 08 Aug 13

Macedonian Capital’s Main Square Awaits Classical Makeover

After large parts of the capital were transformed by a government-funded architectural makeover, Skopje's main square appears next in line for a classical-style revamp.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje
 

 The envisaged new look of Skopje's main square

Although it was thoroughly revamped back in 2004, the city authorities have announced that Skopje’s main Macedonia square needs another facelift in line with the grand government revamp called Skopje 2014.

The city has launched a tendering procedure to choose a construction company that will do the envisaged makeover in the style of classical antiquity, like the rest of the Skopje 2014 project.

“Two-thirds of the project will be financed by the government while a third will be financed by the city,” the city said in a statement.

The authorities did not reveal the envisaged cost.

The makeover will see the installation of a large fountain system and the laying of white and grey cobblestones that will form floral patterns on the ground.

Images of the envisaged revamp suggest that the fountain will be built just next to the existing classical-style fountain that surrounds a huge statue of Alexander the Great riding a horse, the focal point of Skopje 2014.

The plan follows a controversial suggestion from Skopje mayor Koce Trajanovski, who wanted the cobblestones that were largely removed from the square during the 2004 revamp to be brought back.

However the project has drawn criticism on social networks.

“We are wasting money on a revamp of the square that looks just fine as it is,” said one comment, while another said that politicians had gone too far: “They have completely lost touch with reality,” it said.

Meanwhile, the government is continuing to transform much of the rest of the city centre as part of the ambitious project.

Skopje 2014 envisages the construction of more than 20 buildings, including museums, theatres, concert halls, hotels and administrative offices.

Many more bronze and marble statues are also being erected to adorn the city surroundings, including a triumphal arch, 15 equestrian statues and a memorial complex dedicated to fallen heroes.

Old facades and bridges are also being revamped to match the project’s aesthetics.

Since it was unveiled three years ago, Skopje 2014 has sharply divided opinions over the artistic styles chosen, the cost of the work and the transparency of the contracts given to the architects and designers.

 

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Skopje 2014: The new face of Macedonia, updated

The government-funded revamp of the Macedonian capital, called Skopje 2014, aims to give the city a more impressive and ‘historic’ appearance. See new images in this updated gallery.