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Macedonia Sprinkles New Statues Over Capital

November 19, 2012

Six new monuments are about to join the government-funded makeover of the Macedonian capital called Skopje 2014.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 15.11.2012
One new monument will be erected in the central square

The Skopje municipality of Centar has started constructing pedestals for four of the six envisaged bronze sculptures that it plans to erect by the end of 2012, or early in 2013.

“The monuments are being cast in the Guastini artistic foundry in Italy,” Jovica Ackovski, spokesperson for Centar municipality, told Balkan Insight.

The statue of an Albanian writer, Pjetr Bogdani, will be placed in the city’s central “Macedonia” square that is already home to nine new bronze and marble statues.

Albanian Catholic priest Josif Bageri will be honoured with a statue near the Macedonian National Theatre.

The statues of Ottoman-era revolutionaries Pavel Satev and Hristo Tatarcev, along with those of Nexhat Agoli, an ethnic Albanian minister in the first Macedonian government in 1945, and the WW2 Macedonian anti-fascist leader Kuzman Josifovski-Pitu, will all be placed in the park in front of the parliament.

The park and its immediate surroundings are already adorned with 12 new monuments. Most of them, including a 22-metre-high triumphal arch, were erected last and this year.

The municipality has not divulged how much money it has received from the government for the latest batch of bronze monuments.

The pedestals for the new monuments are under construction

Designed to change the appearance of the shabby-looking city, and drawing inspiration from the architectural styles of Classical Antiquity, the Skopje 2014 project has seen the erection of some 30 bronze and marble statues so far, with more on the way.

Mostly erected in the city’s central area, some of the most notable edifices include two nearly 30-metre-high statues of Alexander the Great and his father, Philip, a triumphal arch, a grand colonnade with lions and another colonnade with an obelisk in the middle.

The project also envisages the construction of some 20 other buildings, including museums, theatres, concert halls, hotels and administrative offices whose construction in most cases is finished or underway.

Since it was unveiled, the project has attracted much controversy, however.

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 that a country as poor as Macedonia should spend its meager resources more prudently.

At the start of the project in 2009 and 2010, ethnic Albanian parties complained that the plan was only focusing on Macedonian heroes, to which the government has responded by including some monuments reflecting Albanian history.

Albanians make up about a quarter of Macedonia’s population of 2.1 million.

See related gallery: Skopje 2014: The new face of Macedonia, updated

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