Skopje's playground !
Elida Lyd Zylbeari
One fabulous not so cold morning, rushing my way at work, like always trying not to be late, I almost bumped my head on something big and white, almost in the middle of Skopje square. I stopped and looked up, that giant thing, was a man standing proudly in his chair, white as pizza dough. “Tsar Samuel”, ruler in the Medieval Balkans and the modern Macedonia, were some of the words I remember about the guy that now occupies my road to work and other pedestrians’ normal walk through the square. But hey, it’s not only him, the whole square is covered in objects, historic and “very very important” heroes like Alexander the Great for example. Actually Government calls him “The riding warrior “for reasons that I will explain some other time. The occupation (unfortunately it’s not the Wall Street initiative) is called Project “Skopje 2014” and contains much controversy as Lady Gaga and her weird life. It contains building of monuments and some administrative buildings in baroque style. The Government is funding the project with citizens’ money of course. They say their goal is to give Skopje a face lift, make it a metropolis city that should have always been, to return its lost history.. and some other wet dreams. According to New York Times, the center of the capital is a bizarre jumble of historically and aesthetically dissonant statuary! “On a short walk, visitors will see a 29-meter, or 95-foot, bronze Alexander the Great, along with statues of Justinian, Mother Teresa, the ninth-century Orthodox Christian saints Cyril and Methodius, and a 22-meter-high triumphal arch, among others” writes the NYT journalist. So you can imagine now, or If you u cant, try bumping on Alexander, he is bigger and has water and lions around. When the visualized idea of the project first became public, citizens had huge bad reaction on it, calling it ridiculous, offensive, unnecessary, highly expensive and (opposition deputies) Governments’ personal money laundry machine project. “Don’t rape our city” protested “Prva Arhi brigada” an informal group of students of architecture and young architects from Skopje, Macedonia. While Albanians, who are the second biggest community in Macedonia protested loudly about missing statues of Albanian culture or any other culture except Macedonian. They say “Macedonia is multicultural country, while the PM Nikola Gruevski with Skopje 2014 is trying to show the opposite”. Also, the Albanian parties expressed concerns that “the antiquization” of Macedonia’s identity is alienating Macedonia’s friends in the E.U, meaning that this hate-or-love-it project has worsted the name dispute that Macedonia has with Greece, (on that some other time).