Going on, on my trip traveling countries that arguably, maybe, should not even exist, I wonder still more, what the deal with nation-states is. Macedonia, or as it is recently been renamed, north-Macedonia is my next destination to stop at. Really it should be called the Republic of Northern Macedonia. Some know it by the name FYROM (former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia). I know, it gets too much…
Anyhow. I am here, and cannot complain. This is strictly speaking not true of course, having a German passport entitles me to complain, always. Genetically I may even be programmed to do so compulsively. Although a recent DNA-Test revealed that I am more Irish and Scottish by genetic origin, and Tuareg. But that may be a topic for another post. Certainly culturally I am obliged to complain as a German passport holder.
Maybe I just complain about the weather at this point. It seems like autumn is chasing me. It started when before I left Moldova, temperatures drop to single digits at night. Then Greece followed suit, and now it seems that Macedonia has done the same. Bugger. However, Skopje was pleasant when I was there and also Ohrid offered 27ºC the day I had to spend there. Sweet.
Macedonia is mostly Skopje, for many tourists. Although Skopje is mostly Disneyland. When I said that Venice was like Walt Disney’s wet dream, then Macedonia must be more like his nightmare. Some dude decided (a true sign of real functioning democracy, if you ask me) to rebuild the inner part of town, modeled after, well, whatever he thought people want to see. Mostly faked old stuff.
There are a thousand statues that are five or less years old, looking ancient. The same attempt has been undertaken with the buildings. Sad only, that on many ancient columns you can see the rust spilling out through the concrete. Now, that being said, I liked Skopje. It does look pleasant if you look past the many remaining building sites. And the fact, that the new president has called the program bullshit, apparently.
One of the hallmarks of this rebuilding project is that there are statues, as I mentioned. Many. One of them is a “rider on a horse”, looking suspiciously close to depictions of Alexander the Great. Now, I am not willing to read up enough on history to really penetrate this issue. So I will leave that part up to you.
I understand that Alexander was not born in this region, but in the part of Greece that is still called Macedonia (where I was last week when visiting Thessaloniki). Formerly the most powerful part of Greece for quite some time. Producing great warriors, well, such as Alex. Also, a long time ago the part that is now the Republic of Northern Macedonia has apparently been settled by Slavic tribes.
All of the above left the Greeks quite unsettled. They felt, that the name Macedonia (which is the name the former Yugoslav republic had chosen for itself) is taken historically, ethnically, and anyway, what is up with the flag, that resembles an old Greek symbol?
So, there we go. Macedonia. Mostly fake, it seems, but they got a nice lake, called Ohrid. The lake and its surroundings are magnificent and well worth a visit. The only downside was the internet there. Upload was all but impossible. Hence the delay of my postings. But here we go. The pictures speak for themselves, I would say.