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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 33 | volume VI | July-August, 2003



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 33July-August, 2003

The Boiling Pot Called Skopje

p. 1
Tomislav Osmanli


    Skopje is a boiling pot, its citizens often say as the they gasp the air of the hot summer heat, unaware in fact, how right, metaphorically, they really are.
    And Skopje is truly a boiling pot. First and foremost, geographically. Skopje is a caldron situated in the shadows of the mountain range of Vodno, Matka, Kitka and Crna Gora, where everything moves in an unusual whirl: the air that descends from the adjoining heights and circulates the caldron valley, becoming hot and rising, only to return and somersault once again on the neighboring hills. From an urban landscape point of view, also, for this is a city of disheveled buildings stretched out along its trajectory.
    Historically, this is a region of perpetual simmering – from the early times of prehistory, through the distant reigns of Dardania, Rome, Byzantium, to 518 AD when its worthy urban ancestor Skupi was vaporized by the whirl of tremors caused by a catastrophic earthquake; later too, when the imperial community of Justiniana Prima was laid out on its lap; in medieval times, when Tzar Dushan made it its imperial seat; in the historical backdrop of the Balkan Quatrocento, when instead of the dawns of western renaissance, humanism and rationalism dusk set in, bringing the scent and music of the desert winds and the impending doom of the half-crescent moon that rode on the sabers, the passions and the belligerent cries of the Turkish conquerors.
    This was the definitive prelude to the all out Balkan fate of cultural dualism that Skopje has boiled in ever since; in the 18th century, when the Austrian General Picollomini “liberated” the impressive city in which equally impressive church bells were replaced by minaret spears that pierced the skies of Skopje. He burned the city literally making the Skopje caldron a “hostage” all over again. Skopje continued to simmer and once again it boiled over when the peasant leader of the Macedonian rebels Karpoš was put to cruel punishment and impaled before the eyes of the city that has a long memory and disturbing recollections. Later, toward the middle of this spend and tired century, during the times filled with new passions and йlan, it became the capital of the new Macedonian state. It has remained so up to this present day, when it is witness to celebrations and protests that make our blood boil, just as our ancestors, following not the quiet rhythm

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