Love from four sides


Times had been quite difficult when people had to pass through hellish tortures to get close to a girl. Walking in circles for many times just to see the girl at glance at the promenade and to exchange a few shy glances. Well the corso I speak about was in the Old Bazaar.


The word Bazaar derives from the Turkish word “charshi" (TurkishÇarşı meaning marketplace) which means square with four sides approach. For us the Bazaar has always been an important place with narrow streets of cobbled stone, fountains, mosques, inns, caravan saray etc. Bazaar streets had a distinctive appearance because of the narrow construction and specific stores that had been built next to each other as if they are under same roof. It represents a fantastic variety of crafts, aromas, tastes, wealth etc.

A perfect place for a coffee break and a walk. And so it happened... 

"Dzambaz" told us that in order to buy sandals and “opinci” (national footware) you had to wait in lines for long period of time. It was hard to manage everything. Now people buy things but only foreign visitors have the passion for the products as something unseen before. The craft is extremely cautious and what is highly important is to whom you will convey the secret, emphasized Dzambaz. We had a nice feast in Destan. The famous freshly grilled kebabs will allow at least an hour to enjoy in the beauty of the bazaar. You will not believe us if we discover the daily number of prepared kebabs in Destan. 

Like cherry on the top it is not possible to surround "Kolumbo" after such kind of mental and physical feast. We have tasted the most beautiful "Indijanka" (cookie) in the world. In fact, the world probably does not know what exactly "Indijanka" are. Only "Kolumbo" have found the secret and skillfully have been practicing it for many years.

One cobbled stone, one secret. Perfect till the end. The smallest street in the city, street "Belgradska" which believe it or not has eighteen shops and two cafes has the perfect cobbled construction. In this part the most preserved and oldest shop in the Bazaar which itself represents a historical building is placed. It is still visited and works with the same enthusiasm like many decades ago. It is upon your decision whether you will be enchanted by the architecture itself to enter inside or the textile quality which is still bought by meters. The complex mixture of cultures, religions, civilizations and decades do not leave you to stop here. All in one breath. All seems so tempting. The filigrees, goldsmiths, coppersmiths and even duvet makers. Everyone wants you to take everything with you and to see all those people and items that have left a significant and valuable mark on the bazaar.

Just think for a moment of art and you are just before the Cifte Hamam. It is perfectly constructed and situated in the heart of the Bazaar. Your view will be captured by even if you are caught in the biggest Bazaar jam.

It is different in every aspect from the others. The female and male parts merge only in the part where people are having their bathe in this double Hamam. Nowadays it is turned into a perfect gallery where domestic and foreign artists present their exhibits.
We are looking forward to seeing each new!
As a witness to the existence and development of Ottoman culture in the Balkans we are pointing out the only Daut Pasha Hamam. As an outstanding and oriental object today the most beautiful sounds of Skopje Summer can be heard in Daut Pasha Hamam every year. Let’s not speak again about Hamams. So beautiful and calm, some of them offer unique feast and peace for the mind. Kurshumli Han, Suli Han, Kapan Han etc. The best cuisine and art you can ever imagine. So unique!
Mosques and churches are outstanding monuments of culture and religion. So simple and full of million stories. As if history comes alive again. 
There are also a number of destinations that can enable you memorable moments in the Old Bazaar. Many other small places can make you happier and distract your thoughts from the city jam. And just imagine how it will look now when we it will be again revived. Everything will be as it was before. Music, dancing, jewelry, kitchen, art.

Turkish traveler Evlija Celebija loved to mention that the Old Town resembles Bagdad’s’. He had never forgotten to address the extraordinary beauty of our Bazaar as a mixture of cultures and stories that will remain to live. And let us take care of that.

The Ministry of Culture honored us with several projects, not only in the area of architecture, but also in the area of culture and together we will try to bring back the culture life of Skopje’s Old Bazaar. Let’s try together to raise the most beautiful and noble buildings in the Old Bazaar and to reactivate its culture and night life.    
The most complex and certainly the most interesting project for manufacture is the Art Bazaar, being in the same time the biggest challenge for the “re-creators”. Composed of several phases, the project begins with restoration of the oldest shop in the Old Bazaar and ends with rehabilitation of one of the most important objects in the Bazaar, the French Bank. The oldest shop is certainly one of the most complicated rehabilitation projects, considering the changes suffered in the earthquake in 1963.
 Mr. Kokan Grchev, PhD, architect and art historian speaks about the reconstruction, conservation and rehabilitation of the oldest shop in the Bazaar and of the French Bank: „Following the principle of transparency and constant information for the public on the activities of the Coordination Board of the Ministry of Culture, we also animated this complex procedure and accentuated its importance. Certain reactions and comments considering some problems and dilemmas are already mitigated, and therefore I find that the Art Bazaar Project being presented at this year’s Biennale achieved the expected mission of “active communication”…

The Minister of economy, Mr.Fatmir Besimi, in terms of finances, stated that the crafts in general have a potential that is not fully used, and their upgrade and effect maximization rely on promotion of crafts’ competitiveness as economy and service-providing activity. The Minister also made an overview on the Crafts Development and Support Strategy which is under preparation by the Ministry of Economy. He added that better business environment, creation of development systems, systematic concept for protection of craft’s interests, and contemporary training programs will contribute to increased role of crafts in the overall economic system and public life.
For even more successful revival, “Days of Craftsmanship” have been recently organized by the Crafts Association of Republic of Macedonia and Crafts Association Koblenz of Federal Republic of Germany in the Old Bazaar. In cooperation with the Ministry of Economy of Republic of Macedonia this was the first event of that type in our country aiming to promote the craftsmanship in the cities of Macedonia.

The president of the Crafts Association, Mr. Gligor Cvetkov opened the event saying that the Association strives to build up framework conditions for development and promotion of craftsmanship as an economic engine, as a guardian of tradition and culture and as a creator of future personnel with competencies and skills that ensure competitiveness and quality. For the first time the “Craftsman of the Year” was announced hoping that it will become a tradition.

The executive director of the Crafts Association Koblenz, Mr. Alexander Baden, have sent a message to us to take care of craftsmanship and it will gave its contribution to the national economies.
The president of the Crafts Association Koblenz, Mr. Werner Wittlich, added with optimism: “Believe me, your efforts will be rewarded a hundredfold, if you contribute crafts to become advanced part of the micro-economy and if modern educated young people one day take over from you”. Closing ceremony of this event will happen in Strumica as the last city that will mark the "Days of craftsmanship”.

“Days of Craftsmanship”, preserving of the traditional crafts, the establishment of the Touristic Information Center, apartment- ateliers for the artists and  opening of traditional food restaurants are only a part of the five-year program for revitalization of the Old Bazaar.
The Minister of Cultutre, Mrs. Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska often says that the Old Bazaar is a beautiful open air museum, a place where the vivid architecture of the tradition tells stories about coexistence and mix of cultures and customs. She says that the program for revitalization of the Old Bazaar has been prepared only one year after the adoption of the Law on proclamation of the Old Bazaar as a cultural heritage. The Law identifies the goods by their names, categories, limits and contact zones, as well as by the appropriate protection and management regime.
Action plans will be prepared based on the Program that will ensure permanent protection of the historical, architectural, urban, ethnologic, sociological and other values of the Old Bazaar.
Just imagine the look of the oldest urban core of Skopje. The beautiful old restaurants will be back, young people will have a new place for night’s craziness, extraordinary places and a brand new culture life.
The spirit and vitality of the Old Bazaar will be back. There will be a “storm” of people who will dance perfectly in the rhythm of the Bazaar and enjoy in the most delicious wines and dishes of the world. A new generation of people will be born, people who will tell stories about the Old Bazaar someday. They will mention it as a monument of culture, crafts and beautiful things. We will create new secrets for the cobbled streets. Just like before: one secret for each street. We will create new love, new smiles and new romances.
In couple of decades we will say it was us who gave back the life to the Bazaar and who didn’t let the only magic place in Skopje to just slip out of our hands. Remember…
Напишано од Александра Маневска