Travel in Sofia, Skopje 2017: Photo Journal

Posted on May 31, 2018

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Wanderings through Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Stops in Skopje, Macedonia and the newly minted European capital of Sofia, Bulgaria.

Skopje, Macedonia

Statue of Alexander the Great

Macedonia’s national hero. Alexander (356 BC-323 BC)built an empire stretching from Greece to northwest India by the age of 30, waging a military campaign across Asia and North Africa. The birthplace of Alexander and the claims of Macedonia for his origins are disputed with Greece. In fact Greece refuses to call the country Macedonia.
Statue of Alexander the Great 02

Statue of Alexander the Great 01

Statue of Alexander the Great 03

Statue of Alexander the Great 04

View along the River Vardar

Macedonia’s longest river, the Vardar, runs through the centre of the city of Skopje and stretches for 241 miles.
View along River Vardar

Olympias Monument

Nationalist prime minister Nikola Gruevski thought the city did not look nearly baroque enough to be a European city so he commissioned many statues including this one of Alexander’s mother Olympias. Due to the dispute with neighbouring Greece over Alexander and the country’s name Macedonia has been prevented from joining NATO and the European Union.
Olympias Monument

Olympias Monument 03

Monument of Karposh

Rebel leader Karposh lead Christian militias against the Ottoman Turks in the 17th century. He was captured by Ottoman troops and executed on the Stone Bridge crossing the Vardar River.
Monument of Karposh at night

Sleeping Dog

We called this pooch ‘Kebab’. He followed us all through the Matka Canyon, a beautiful river canyon to the north of Skopje.
'Hotdog' sleeping in Matka Canyon

Sofia, Bulgaria

Statues in the Knayzheska Gardens

There are several really attractive monolithic statues in Knayzheska Gardens reminiscent of the Soviet era.
Statues Knayzheska Gardens 02

Statues Knayzheska Gardens 01

Andy Warhol knockout

Street art near the Nevski Cathedral
Sofia Street Art

Soup Napkins

On Ulica Tsar Shishman the restaurant Supa Star serves soup lunches and a public gallery of napkin art devoted to the liquid gold.
Soup Napkin 02

Soup Napkin 01

Russian Church, St Nikolay

Built to celebrate St Nikolay, people come here to post prayers and buy ikons or keepsakes.
Russian Church, St Nikolay

Cathedral Saint Alexandar Nevski

Alexandar Nevski (1221–1263) sounds like a formidable character from his Wikipedia entry. Born in Russia, he was the grandson of Vsevolod the Big Nest and became Grand Prince of Kiev and then Vladimir. He rose to legendary status on account of his military victories over German and Swedish invaders while agreeing to pay tribute to the powerful Golden Horde.

From Tales of the Life and Courage of the Pious and Great Prince Alexander found in the Second Pskovian Chronicle, circa 1260–1280:
“He was taller than others and his voice reached the people as a trumpet, and his face was like the face of Joseph, whom the Egyptian Pharaoh placed as next to the king after him of Egypt. His power was a part of the power of Samson and God gave him the wisdom of Solomon … this Prince Alexander: he used to defeat but was never defeated …”

Cathedral Saint Alexandar Nevski 01

Cathedral Saint Alexandar Nevski int 04

Cathedral Saint Alexandar Nevski int 03

Cathedral Saint Alexandar Nevski int 02

Cathedral Saint Alexandar Nevski int 01

Cathedral Saint Alexandar Nevski 02