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Street in Carsija (Bazaar) of Skopje

Skopje is the capital of Macedonia. With slightly over half a million inhabitants it is home to a quarter of the country's population. Skopje is located in the north of Macedonia, 15 km from the border with Kosovo and 30 km from the border with Serbia. Much of the city was destroyed by an earthquake in 1963, which claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people and destroyed 80 percent of the city's buildings. The loss of much of its historical architectural heritage and the reconstruction in the time of communist Yugoslavia left its mark on Skopje's appearance, prompting the Lonely Planet Travel Guide to describe the city as follows:

"In about 50 years or so pundits may well be raving about this superb period ensemble of concrete apartment towers, vast avenues suitable for tank parades and weird space-age public buildings. To the current eye, though, it might seem a tad ugly. The locals do have a sense of humour about it all. One described the bunker-like National Theatre as just like the Sydney Opera House, only square." (Lonely Planet Guidebook, Western Balkans)

The city of Skopje dates back to a Roman settlement in the second century BC

May 2008

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