Best Things to do in Skopje Macedonia

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More than city beautification, after a massive city facelift, Skopje has reinvented itself. The controversial "Project 2014" has been widely criticised as an overpriced frivolous display of nationalistic kitsch, some even labelling it a mini Vegas.New museums, government buildings, bridges and countless monuments (preferably with a water feature) laying claim to historical Macedonian figures have been constructed and erected. The aim; to give the city a more classical feel.The number of statues is really quite mind-boggling. They are literally everywhere you look, including on the roofs of buildings. Statues and monuments are not the only over the top installations in the city.Four replica Galleon style warships are being constructed on the Vardar River in the city. Pegged for use as cafes and restaurants, the theme park style boats, have been described as "the height of bad taste" leaving most locals outraged.Perhaps the artificial islands in the middle of the river, home to giant potted willow trees were the tipping point for angry locals.While public discontent reverberates through the country at the government's frivolous spending, some looking in, claim the city-wide facelift is a way for the Republic of Macedonia to rewrite its history.Politics and opinion aside, we loved the camped-up vibe of the new look Skopje Macedonia. Set against a grey urban canvas of conformist communist architecture at its finest, or bleakest depending on how you look at it. Perhaps this is what post-communist kitsch with a neoclassical twist should look like.Macedonia is a small country and Skopje is a relatively small city, so a very walkable city. A few days in the capital should be sufficient to marvel at the cities changing storyline and to enjoy some of the cities original features such as the cities Old Bazaar and Kale Fortress.Maybe add an additional day or two for a day trip to outlying Matka Canyon or Mavrovo National Park. If not already on your Macedonia itinerary, a day trip to Lake Ohrid is also possible. You can read more about Lake Ohrid here. We spent a week in Skopje which was more than enough to explore the city and outlying highlights. If you like national parks and or skiing, there is enough to keep you more than happy for longer.Come night time, all of these enormous statues and fountains become a Vegas-esque light show, set to classical music pumped out through the central square.Locals come to Macedonia Square in the summer evenings to cool off by challenging the choreographed water show in a run of faith through the centre. For some, the challenge is to stay dry, for others their main mission is to get soaked. There is a lovely atmosphere in Skopje at night as locals come to the city centre to enjoy their new city.Near Skopje, on top of Vodno Mountain is the Millennium Cross. The 66-metre high celebration of Christianity is visible from almost anywhere in Skopje and much like the city, is illuminated each night to shine down on the city.Built-in 2002 to commemorate 2,000 years of Christianity, the Millenium Cross one of the biggest Christian Crosses in the world. Aside from the view at the top, the restaurant for a coffee and a whirl through the gift shop, getting to the Millennium Cross is probably the most exciting part of the massive installation. Although, it does look quite spectacular at night from the city.Situated on the highest point in the city overlooking the Vardar River is The Kale Fortress. Depicted on the coat of arms of Skopje, Kale Fortress has stood watch over Skopje since the 6th century during the rule of Roman Emperor Justinian I.