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Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia The land of undying creativity

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is at the crossroads of East and West; a territory where European  and Asian civilisations unite to create new values, and an area where great and mighty empires have clashed.

The postcards represent Skopje, the capital of FYR Macedonia, at the beginning of the 20th century. Visioners had adopted Western architectural values and applied them to the buildings constructed in the new part of Skopje while the Stone Bridge and Skopje fortress silently pay testament to the ancient symbols of the town from the Ottoman Empire.

The Stone Bridge, 1928, Knjižara Trajka B. Stolića, National and University Library, Skopje, CC BY-NC-ND
The Stone Bridge, 1928, Knjižara Trajka B. Stolića, National and University Library, Skopje, CC BY-NC-ND

The Stone Bridge connects the banks of the Vardar River as well as the old and new sections of Skopje. When exactly the bridge was built is uncertain. Confirmed by archaeological studies, it was most likely built in the sixth century, after a devastating earthquake in 518 that occurred during the bridge’s construction that had been commissioned by Emperor Justinian I. A second theory states, also supported by historical sources, that the bridge was built during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror, between 1451 and 1469.

The National Theatre, Skopje, 1927, Trajko B. Stolić, National and University Library, Skopje, CC BY-NC-ND
The National Theatre, Skopje, 1927, Trajko B. Stolić, National and University Library, Skopje, CC BY-NC-ND

The construction works on the national theatre began in 1921. The work was interrupted several times. The official opening of the National Theatre (also referred to as the ‘King Alexander I’) in Skopje, took place in 1927. The theater was the jewel of the city, which illuminated the entire bank of the river Vardar at night. The earthquake in 1963 destroyed the building. A symbol of Macedonian theatrical arts, this magnificent building was reconstructed in 2013, thanks to today’s advanced technology it now provides a home to the Macedonian National Theatre and to all admirers of theatre and the arts. And just above it stands the old fortress, protecting the city and testifying to its steady and continuous development.

The Clock Tower, Skopje, 1927, Trafika Vasa Stojanović, National and University Library, Skopje, CC BY-NC-ND
The Clock Tower, Skopje, 1927, Trafika Vasa Stojanović, National and University Library, Skopje, CC BY-NC-ND

In 1392, Skopje was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. At that time the city was famous for its oriental architecture. Among the most significant specimens of Ottoman buildings in the Balkans and one of the largest mosques in Skopje is Sultan Murad Mosque, built in 1436 on top of the Monastery of Saint George. Named in honour of Sultan Murad II, who commissioned its construction, it is the oldest preserved mosque in the Balkans. On the same plateau, next to the Sultan Murad Mosque, stands the Clock Tower, built between 1566 and 1572. It was the first clock tower in the territory of the Ottoman Empire. The mechanism of the clock was taken from the clock tower in Sziget, Hungary, after its occupation by the Turks. Initially made of wood, it was later rebuilt with bricks.

Discover more postcards from FYR Macedonia at europeana.eu