Skopje, Macedonia – Another Weekend, Another Political Rally
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. This post was meant to be a showcase of communist era architecture, of which Skopje – capital city of Macedonia – has a mind-blowing array. However, from the 5th floor of my beautifully brutal communist-era apartment in Skopje, tonight I heard chanting coming from down below. A large crowd was gathering in the middle of the street, singing, smoking, and blocking traffic. Naturally enough, I went downstairs to investigate. Re-runs of dubbed Seinfeld would have to wait.
“Allo allo allo! What’s all this about then ay Guv? Do you speak English?” I didn’t actually speak like a jovial Londoner, as he was a particularly burly Macedonian man, and we were standing in front of several thousand people marching towards us down a fairly dark street. On a late Sunday evening, inner city Skopje, a handful of other equally burly men were looking at him for direction. In turn, the front runners of the group were waiting for orders on whether to stand and wait for the crowd to grow, or move forward.
“This is a march, for the opposition party!” A few pleasantries were discussed between crowd control duties, as he was impressed that I was here from Australia. Perhaps, he mistook me for a news reporter. “Take a photo of this lady! She is beautiful!” He pointed at one of the ladies holding down the front line of the crowd. “Ah, let me guess, it’s your wife, isn’t it?” “YES! HAHAHAHAHAAAA!”. Nice one, burly Macedonian dude.
We were headed towards Macedonia Square in the center of the city, about a twenty minute march away. Waiting for us would be a large crowd, dance music blaring, flags waving, snacks being consumed, and of course, cigarettes being smoked. Even after 10pm on a Sunday night, they’re just getting started. The Macedonians are serious about the upcoming election, which will take place next weekend.
Time to book the apartment for another week.
click to see an interactive map showing the location of this article
I can’t say I know much about Macedonian politics, but I can say that I’m starting to understand the people of Macedonia. They’re proud, spirited, community minded, and more than willing to wear their hearts on their sleeve. Qualities I’m particularly fond of.
Skopje continues to amaze me on a daily basis. I could write forever about this city.
However, this being a late Sunday night unscheduled post, I’ll keep it short.
I need to get up early tomorrow, I’ve been told that McDonalds serves beer with it’s breakfast menu.
PS, thanks to local Macedonian website off.net.mk for picking up my last story on the Skopje almost-riots and political rally.
17 thoughts on “Skopje, Macedonia – Another Weekend, Another Political Rally”
I think Macedonia seems to have your name written all over it! What an odd thing to suddenly have a political rally start right outside one’s apartment late on a Sunday evening. But, I love that the people seem to actually care and want to be involved. So different than what I see here in the States. As always, great shots, I can feel the energy of the protesters. Looking forward to more big concrete things in your next post. Cheers!
It really does Noelle, I’m loving it here in Macedonia. I have a little problem with my apartment booking (ends tomorrow), so I may or may not hang around longer in Skopje – we’ll see. Either way, lots of concrete coming soon!
I’m taking it that you didn’t get burly man’s thoughts on Seinfeld?
I barely got anything in English, I had no idea what was going on for most of the time!
Great comments and pictures from Skopje. Really enjoy your blog and just wanted to let you know that the guy who is reluctant to smile at the camera is the actual mayor of Kumanovo (one of the biggest cities after Skopje, of course). I have heard he is a funny guy, but still, good picture. :)
Ahhh! Thanks for the info Ivan (and the kind words). I could tell he was somebody important! I actually have a few photos of him smiling, he did seem like a nice guy.
the apartment you are staying is desighnet by Japanese architect Kenzo Tange, i think he is not a communist. And most of the people u see in political rallies are not from Skopje, they are brought by busses from other towns or outskirts of the city. People from Skopje rearly go in such rallies. :)
Thank you Pero for the info. Having written various articles now on “communist” architecture, I always epect to get at least one comment about this terminology. I use the term to denote an era of time – it certainly was designed and built during the era of communism, and I normally write a paragraph to explain this in any post I do with an architecture focus. And I agree, I don’t think Kenzo was a communist haha.
Re: Kenzo Tange, thank you for this information on the apartment. I have been reading about what Kenzo did for Skopje after the earthquake. Can I ask, are you certain the apartment I was in was designed by Kenzo? What year was it constructed? Any extra information would be appreciated!
built by kenzo occupied by communists hahha.
Тhose 12 storey buildings are Kenzo design build around 1975 by yugoslavian construction companies. Also Kenzo project was мaybe 30% finished.
Here is more info http://archimess.tumblr.com/post/13127712012/kenzo-tange.
And some pictures from the time they are constructed http://retromk.posterous.com/-1960-1980
haha! Thanks for the info Pero, I really appreciate it. Amazing to see the old photos. Skopje is probably my favourite small city anywhere on Earth – I stayed for two weeks (arrived in Ohrid today), but I will return next week for at least another week – more architecture to see. Can you imagine if Kenzo’s plan was actually completed? Wow, that would be incredible.
We come here united by photography/ a travel journal and we get amazed by history. The connections you have run deep and true.
Still what is coming off that fuji,wow. Making me a believer, and if the rumors are true, xpro 2 soon.
Totally agree Laurence. It’s these connections that make the world a better place.
As for the Fuji, I have just upgraded my laptop, and am finally able to use RAW files – the Fuji is like a new camera, I think you will be as impressed as I have been over the last few days. From the next post, all files will have originated as RAW rather than JPG – it makes a huge difference.
If I saw that many people gathering below my apartment, I dont know what I would think. I would freak out, but probably join in the end!
Amazing. Do you think a revolution will take place soon?
Hi Maria – I don’t think there is a revolution coming, I’m not sure the people have that much to revolt against… but I will see what I can find out, I wouldn’t want to miss the action ha!
A friend of mine from the U.S just introduce me with your Blog.
You’ve catch the atmosphere pretty well. I know this cause i was in one of the buses passing by that you have it captured in one of your photos :) .
If you are coming back to Macedonia, feel free to write to me, I would love to give you a tour around.
Thanks Kristijan… I am still in Macedonia, in Ohrid now. I will probably head back to Skopje soon.
Hi, I was wondering where you lived, was it Aerodrom? If it was, I also have an apartment there, haha :)
Now I am currently in Sweden.