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In Pictures 07 Jun 13 / 12:34:00

Skopje 2014: The new face of Macedonia, updated

The government funded revamp of the Macedonian capital, Skopje 2014, aims to give the city a more monumental appearance. The gallery has been updated with new photos, so check them out.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic BIRN Skopje

Drawing inspiration from the architectural styles of Classical Antiquity, the project envisages the construction of almost 20 buildings, including, museums, theatres, concert halls, hotels and administrative offices.

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

The piece de resistance is a 22-metre-high bronze equestrian statue of the Ancient warrior, Alexander the Great, standing on top of a white marble fountain in Skopje’s central square.

A similarly sized statue of Alexander’s father, Philip of Macedon, is placed opposite the square on the far bank of the Vardar River.

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

Since it was unveiled in 2010, the project has attracted controversy. Supporters say it will transform the image of a city blighted by decades of dreary Socialist architecture and neglect. They say it will restore a missing sense of national pride and create a more metropolitan atmosphere.

Critics complain about the cost of the job and the transparency of the contracts given to the architects and designers. Some say a relatively poor country should spend its resources more prudently.

They also say the project is an attempt to distract people from the country’s real problems, such as high unemployment, poverty and stalled progress towards EU and NATO membership.

Many architects are unhappy with the aesthetics of the project and would have preferred a more contemporary approach.

In April, immediately after the local elections, the government revealed a first-ever report on the costs of the project, saying it had spent a total of 208 million euro so far.

But critics dispute that figure and estimate the real costs of Skopje 2014 to be much higher, in the region of 500 million or even a billion euro.

01 Sk 2014 UPDATE.JPG Carriage ride across Skopje’s landmark Stone Bridge | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
02 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Skopje authorities insisted on installing a carousel in the city centre | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
03 Sk 2014 Update.JPG WW2 partisan leader Metodija Andonov – Cento, widely recalled as first president of Macedonia | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
04 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Statues evoking the performing arts stand in front of the new national theatre | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
05 Sk 2014 Update.JPG A woman in old urban costume adorns the plateau around the national theatre | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
06 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Holocaust Museum honours the memory of Jewish victims of Nazis | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
07 Sk 2014 Update SJM.JPG New theatre evokes memories of the old building that crumbled during the 1963 earthquake | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
08 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Statues recently placed on the plateau in front of the theatre | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
09 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The theatre overlooks the Vardar | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
10 Sk 2014 Update.JPG A multi-story car park, destined for a baroque shell, and a riverside galleon are placed beside the old central post office | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
11 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The theatre has 47 statues on the roof | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
12 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Workers add finishing touches to the richly ornamented building | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
13 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Petre Prlicko, one of the bards of the Macedonian stage | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
14 Sk 2014 Update.JPG One of the new sculptures in front of the theatre | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
15 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Ornament from the Museum of Macedonian Struggle for Independence | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
16 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The museum entrance contains replicas of artillery used by Ottoman-era revolutionaries | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
17 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Four fountains adorn a new square in central Skopje| Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
18 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The square is overlooked by a giant 29-metre tall bronze statue of the warrior king, Philip of Macedonia | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
19 Sk 2014 Updat.JPG Lions dominate one of the four fountains in the square | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
20 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Mothers with their sons who, according to the artistic narrative of the complex, will one day become Macedonian soldiers | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
21 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The square near the Museum of Macedonian Struggle | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
22 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The square also forms the main entrance to Skopje’s old Turkish Bazaar | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
23 Sk 2014 Update.JPG In the other direction is the landmark Stone Bridge over the Vardar | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
24 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Depiction of the young Alexander the Great with his mother Olympia and father Philip | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
25 Sk 2014 Update.JPG A new hotel, one of the three new buildings planned for the main Macedonia Square | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
26 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Skopje’s old fortress as seen from the central square | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
27 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The focal point of the project is the giant statue of Alexander the Great | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
28 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Other tall statues also adorning the central square | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
29 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Old residential buildings are getting Classical treatment | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
30 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Hristo Tatarcev, a founder of the Ottoman-era Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization, VMRO | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
31 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Pavel Satev, another Ottoman-era revolutionary, stands alongside the triumphal arch | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
32 Sk 2014 Update.JPG WW2 anti-Fascist revolutionary Kuzman Josifovski – Pitu | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
33 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Ottoman-era revolutionary Pitu Guli | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
34 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The founders of the clandestine VMRO revolutionary organization | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
35 Sk 2014 Update.JPG A memorial complex dedicated to fallen heroes stands opposite parliament | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
36 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Parliament is also undergoing a facelift, including the addition of three glass domes | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
37 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The triumphal arch and some new facades seen from Skopje’s iconic GTC shopping mall | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
38 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The new Bridge of Arts, ironically, leads to the building of the financial police | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
39 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Poet brothers Dimitar and Kosntantin Miladinov take up the central position on the Bridge of Arts | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
40 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The new archeological museum is nearly finished | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
41 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Another bridge, known as the Eye, sprinkled with statues, leads to the archeological museum | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
42 Sk 2014 Update.JPG A priestess dominates the bridge, placed on a rotating pedestal in the middle of a fountain | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
43 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The opening of the bridge in June was the latest addition to Skopje 2014 | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
44 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The Eye Bridge is decorated with 29 bronze statues | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
45 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Statues depicting clerics, scholars, warriors and leaders, from the Classical era to Medieval times| Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
46 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The archeology museum is one of the most significant buildings of the project | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
47 Sk 2014 Update.JPG The building will also host the National Archive and Constitutional Court | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
48 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Stay away from evil, this religious message says | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
49 Sk 2014 Update.JPG Saints mounted on top of tall marble columns have been erected on what is to be a new square in front of the Holy Mother of God church | Photo by: Sinisa Jakov Marusic
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