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Macedonia’s New Foreign Ministry Opens

October 26, 2012

After three years of construction, Macedonia’s new Foreign Ministry, which forms part of the massive Skopje 2014 revamp, opened this week.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 24.10.2012


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The new, lavishly decorated ministry building is placed along Skopje’s Vardar River in the city centre. It is 27 meters high and has some 13,500 square meters of usable space.

“After 20 years of independence, Macedonian diplomacy finally gets a building suitable for a future member of the Euro-Atlantic family,” Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki said at the opening ceremony on Tuesday.

The building draws inspiration from the architectural style of Classical Antiquity, the preferred style of the government-funded revamp project.

The first floor is lined with sculptures of Macedonians in traditional dress but also with sculptures of people wearing traditional costumes of other Balkan nations.

From the rooftop stare historical figures like Britain’s Winston Churchill, US President Woodrow Wilson, British Liberal leader William Gladstone, Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin, Turkey’s Mustafa Kemal-Ataturk, and many others.

Although the Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, recently said that the building cost 13.5 million euro, some local media, citing Public Procurement Bureau data, suspect a bigger price tag.

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According to these data, the government spent some 19.5 million euro only on the building and the exterior decoration, excluding the cost for most of the work inside.

The Skopje 2014 project envisages the construction of almost 20 buildings, including, museums, theatres, concert halls, hotels and administrative offices.

A similar number of bronze and marble statues are also being erected to adorn the surroundings, including a triumphal arch and a colonnade.

Since it was unveiled, the project has attracted controversy. Supporters say it will shake up the image of a city blighted by decades of dreary Socialist architecture and simple neglect.

Critics complain about the artistic styles, the cost of the work and the transparency of the contracts given to the architects and designers. Some feel a country as poor as Macedonia should spend its meagre resources more prudently.

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