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News 08 Apr 13

Macedonia Monument-Building Drive Enters New Phase

The authorities on Monday unveiled over 20 new statues as part of the government-funded makeover of the Macedonian capital called Skopje 2014.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Large bronze statues of Ottoman-era revolutionaries Pavel Satev and Hristo Tatarcev were erected on either side of a triumphal gate that was built last year.

Statues of Ottoman-era revolutionaries Vasil Cakalarov and Boris Sarafov on horses were also unveiled in the city centre.

Over 20 smaller bronze statues are being mounted on a bridge called Eye on the Vardar River, depicting famous figures from classical antiquity.

A statute of WW2 hero Kuzman Josifovski-Pitu was erected in the park opposite the parliament building while several bronze likenesses of horses and lions are being mounted on two new fountains near Skopje’s landmark Stone Bridge.

The newly-built square in front of the St. Mother of God church in the centre of the city got three new bronze depictions of saints mounted on top of tall marble columns and adorned with reliefs.

The massive undertaking carried out for the most part by Skopje’s municipality of Centar came just one day after mayor Vladimir Todorovic lost in Sunday’s local elections.

His successor, Andrej Zernovski, is a harsh critic of Skopje 2014 project, and insists he will check Todorovic’s work for possible financial fraud related to the project.

“This will be the latest visual desecration of the neighbourhood” Zernovski told reporters.

The municipality has not divulged how much money it has received from the government for the latest batch of bronze monuments.

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic


Designed to change the appearance of the shabby-looking city, and drawing inspiration from the architectural styles of classical antiquity, the Skopje 2014 project has seen the erection of some 30 tall bronze and marble statues so far, with more on the way.

Mostly erected in the city's central area, some of the most notable edifices include two nearly 30-metre-high statues of Alexander the Great and his father, Philip, a triumphal arch, a grand colonnade with lions and another colonnade with an obelisk in the middle.

The project also envisages the construction of some 20 other buildings, including museums, theatres, concert halls, hotels and administrative offices whose construction in most cases is finished or underway.

Since it was unveiled, the project has attracted much controversy, however.

Critics complain about the artistic styles, the cost of the work and the transparency of the contracts given to the architects and designers. Some feel that a country as poor as Macedonia should spend its meagre resources more prudently.

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic

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In Pictures

skopje-2014

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.