Millennium Cross of Skopje, Macedonia – Officially Bigger Than Jesus

Millenium Cross "Ropeway", Skopje, Macedonia.
Millennium Cross “Ropeway”, Skopje, Macedonia.

T he Millennium Cross, located on Mount Vodno overlooking the amazing city of Skopje in Macedonia, really is the biggest cross on Earth when it was completed. Let’s get the obvious question out of the way – at 66 metres tall, the Millennium Cross is about the same height as a twenty-storey skyscraper. New York’s Statue of Liberty (minus the pedestal) is a mere 46 metres high. That rather-large Jesus, overlooking Rio de Janeiro is just 40 metres, including the pedestal. View-able from all over Skopje, by day or night, on a natural perch a kilometre high – the Millennium Cross is one Macedonian tourist attraction you won’t want to miss. Up close.

Hiking up the mountain is tough. It’s a real workout, taking several hours of strenuous exertion. Make sure you take plenty of water, warm clothing, and sturdy hiking boots. And that, is the advice I would give to those crazy enough to actually hike up to Skopje’s Millennium Cross. For the more sensible among us, it’s cheap and easy to make use of a remarkable combination of public transport. After a gentle 30 second or so hike at the end, you too can “bag the summit”. That’s mountaineering talk.

Yomadic is certainly not Lonely Planet. With former posts including a feature on Polish prostitutes, some may say that’s pretty obvious. However, given the lack of complete information about the Millennium Cross, an article outlining everything you need to know about the famous Skopje cross would be handy for anyone fortunate enough to find themselves in this part of Macedonia.

Millennium Cross Skopje bus
Millennium Cross bus ride – view from atop the Chinese made London styled doubled decker bus, enroute to the Skopje cross.
Skopje cross, Macedonia
Getting closer to the Millennium Cross. Skopje, Macedonia.

How to Get to the Millennium Cross in Skopje by Bus

Good news! You can catch a public transport bus to the Millennium Cross. The bus leaves from the main bus station in Skopje, located about a ten minute walk from the center of the city. Look for the small sign that says “KPCT” – obviously, Macedonian for “cross”. The buses come about every 30 minutes. En-route, the bus travels through the city, stopping at various places – you can jump on board anywhere it stops. The price is 35 Denar each way – about 70 cents US. Tickets can be bought on board from the driver, and the journey takes around 15 minutes.

What Time of the Day Should I Visit The Millennium Cross

From a photographers perspective – in the afternoon, the sun will be behind you as you look down on Skopje below. Of course, the dawn would be pretty spectacular. You’ll have to ask somebody who gets up earlier than I do, for a trusted opinion. The only problem with visiting the Millennium Cross later in the evening is that the buses stop by about five o’clock – so plan accordingly.

Catching The Millennium Cross Cable Car to the Top of Mount Vodno

After the bus stops in a car-park nowhere near the top of Mount Vodno, the fun part of the journey begins. The “Millennium Cross Ropeway” is a cable car that will take you the last 2 kilometers to the top of Mount Vodno, right to the base of the towering Skopje cross. A truly incredible view unfolds over the 8 minute journey to the top. Tickets cost 100 Denar (two bucks US), for a return ticket. Only completed recently, the cable car system was built by an Austrian company (they know cable cars), and is a really nice way to travel.

mount vodno, skopje
Seemed like a nice place to eat our packed sandwiches and have a cup of tea. Mount Vodno, Skopje.
View from Mount Vodno, next to the Millennium Cross
Plenty of room to sit and look at the Millennium Cross, or the almost 360 degree mountain panorama, or the city of Skopje down below.
 Millennium Cross Ropeway, Skopje.
Cable Cars are one of my favourite ways to travel. And, they look so cool. Millennium Cross Ropeway, Skopje.

Taxi or Private Car?

A taxi to the same car-park as the bus stop, will cost whatever you can negotiate. I’ve been told $5US – $10US. If you have a car, you can drive yourself to the same point, stopping along the way at the various lookout points. The views down to Skopje are seriously beautiful.

Millennium Cross – I’ve Reached The Top, Now What?

Have a wander around. It’s a historic site, and it feels like it. Panoramic views of mountains, a city beneath you, and plenty of remarkable places to sit and have a sandwich. Some tourist attractions are better referred to as tourist traps. But a trip to the Millennium Cross is one of the good-guys of tourist attractions. At a total cost of $3US dollars and an hour or two of your time – it’s a journey you won’t soon forget.

Cows on Mount Vodno, Skopje
It’s really peaceful atop Mount Vodno. Only the whistle of the wind, and the occasional cow-bell.
Millennium Cross Ropeway  - Skopje, Macedonia.
Millennium Cross Ropeway – Skopje, Macedonia.
Mount Vodno, Skopje.
Normally, I spend my days taking photos of strangers and concrete architecture. But today was different. Mount Vodno, Skopje.
Skopje Millennium Cross
Skopje’s Millennium Cross, up close.
View of Skopje from the MiIllennium Cross
The city of Skopje, as seen from the Millennium Cross.

click to see an interactive map showing the location of this article

 

Skopje is in the middle of a construction boom. Completed only in 2008, the Millennium Cross is representative of the ongoing effort to put Skopje onto the world stage. And what a location – there’s not many capital’s that can boast such a mountain right in the middle of the city.

Hopefully, this article finds it’s way into the hands of someone who needs to find information about the Millennium Cross of Skopje.

Because, even though you can see the cross from all over Skopje, it really is worthwhile to check out the the top of Mount Vodno.

Get up really early, pre-dawn, trek to the top, and bag that summit.

Nate.

PS, personal update – I have left Skopje. But, not Macedonia. More on that shortly. I will be returning to Skopje for another spell of communist-era architecture exploration. For fans of mid-century concrete, you will love it.

PPS, photography is easy – once you learn how to use your camera, properly. This is what I personally recommend – Getting Out of Auto. If you’ve already spent the cash on a camera, but aren’t getting the results you expected – click the link and check it out.

* don’t miss the next post – follow by FB, Twitter, or email. The links are down below.

 

 

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25 thoughts on “Millennium Cross of Skopje, Macedonia – Officially Bigger Than Jesus

    1. It’s fairly industrial isn’t it? I guess there’s not too many options when you’re going for such a huge structure in the shape of a cross. I did spend most of my time looking away from the cross, the views are much nicer looking!

  1. The hike is not a crazy idea, people do it every weekend, I have done it many times, it would take some time if you go by the road, but you can get up much faster if you go on the trail, it is all marked there is NO WAY that a person would get lost, and is much funner way to get to the cross. And the way back is much faster. The view is one of a kind. :)

  2. Just catching up on your blog! So cool that you are in Macedonia – we really need to get there as John has lots of family there…that cross is ridiculous!

    1. Ahhh, John is of Macedonian heritage. Great! Get yourself here, you won’t regret it. And yes, not only is the cross ridiculous, you should see all the new buildings in Skopje…

  3. I find myself playing catch up on your posts again. :) I love things like this to visit, it’s simple and uncomplicated, but to have amazing views and a fun way to get there, makes it worth it. There’s something about the grandeur of a panoramic mountain view.

    1. Hope you get some nice weekend reading done ;) ..and I agree, it’s one “tourist attraction” that’s actually worth a visit. Love those views of Skopje!

  4. Hey Nate ,
    Dalibor from facebook here.
    The cross was the biggest in the world when it was finished or better said made but now as i know there are a lot of bigger crosses all over the world.
    Another thing the cross is finished in 2002 but the lift inside the cross was installed in 2008 as donation from the city or the government (not sure).
    КРСТ in Macedonian is really Cross in English ,but on the bus there is inscription in English so it’s not really problem.
    Thanks for the nice photos and it is really great thing to relax on the top of mount Vodno when you are in Skopje.
    Cheers,
    Dalibor.

      1. no problem :) anytime :) just enjoy :)
        Anyway if you still want to come back to Macedonia and visit some other places write me and i will tell you more places worth to visit ,especially nature and historical sites ,even maybe some interesting architecture.

  5. Informative post. My husband is on business in Skopje and visted Mount Vodno this morning. Your pictures were helpful in visualizing his trip.

  6. Just pulled into Skopje a few hours ago. Now I’m at The Best Western Turist and was trying to get the info on the cross. Searching brought me to your site. Thank you. You answered all of my questions.

  7. Why doesn’t the cable car go to the bottom of the mountain?
    We walked up to the base. It was nice, but very tiring!

    1. There was a plan few years ago that the cable car will continue to the bottom of the mountain to two sides of Vodno mountain, one to the west-central part of the city and one to the east central part since the center is impossible, but it was never realized, why? ask our corrupted politicians..

      Anyway there is a substitute bus from the Central Station to the cable car park on middle Vodno which has normal bus price.

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