How To Build A Fake Ancient City In Just 5 Years

How To Build A Fake Ancient City In Just 5 Years
yeowatzup/Flickr

For the last five years, the Balkan nation of fYROM has been involved in one of the more improbable public works projects around, filling the streets of its capital, Skopje, with gaudy, faux-antique statues and buildings. The aim: to turn this earthquake-prone city, where the main influence was previously 1960s concrete Stalinist architecture, into a bombastic neoclassical theme park.

To make the project even stranger, many think that it was all done to spite fYROM's southern neighbor.

The tiny country has long traded barbs with Greece in its quest to reclaim the third-century B.C. conqueror Alexander the Great as a native son—the capital’s airport was renamed Skopje Alexander the Great Airport not long ago—and even to officially call itself Macedonia (which is also a region in northern Greece). Now, thanks to embattled Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s massive building project, Skopje is home to a 72-foot-tall marble statue of the ancient king on his trusty war-steed, Bucephalus. (It's also worth noting that the controversial antiquation program is not the only scandal, as the country is currently being rocked by a huge surveillance controversy, which has resulted in dead protestors and police.)

How To Build A Fake Ancient City In Just 5 Years
Dalco26/WikiCommons CC-BY-SA-3.0

Alexander the Great, whom many believe was poisoned by his fellow Macedonian aristocrats, is hardly alone on Skopje’s skyline. He could have a dangerous dinner party with at least half a dozen other figures from the region's history, some with swords, capes, and centurion helmets, and others with tailcoats, bow ties, and smoking pipes.

The mix-and-match period statues face a series of columned buildings bedecked with nymphs and fronted by fountains designed to evoke the ancient world, but constructed starting in 2010. Enhanced by light shows, the buildings are more reminiscent of that other monument to modern classicism, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, than they are to the Athenian Agora. The price for all this historical kitsch? Estimates of the construction costs range from 200 million euros to 500 million euros.

For their part, the people of fYROM are angry because the Greeks have been blocking fYROM from joining the European Union since 2005, and also scuttled the country’s bid to join NATO. Ever since fYROM became independent in 1991, the government in Athens has refused to recognize its northern neighbor’s constitutional name: The Republic of Macedonia.

On the other side, Greeks claim that the people of fYROM are trying to usurp their cultural heritage, and argue that the historic kingdom of Macedon (which Alexander the Great ruled over) was mostly in modern-day Greece. Inconveniently for the country of fYROM, the largest region in Greece is also called “Macedonia” and is home to 2.4 million people. Alexander the Great’s birthplace was actually in Greek Macedonia, but only here in Skopje is he given pride of place atop a green-and-purple lighted pedestal in the central plaza.

How To Build A Fake Ancient City In Just 5 Years
The Agency for Electronic Communications and Archaeological Museum (Pudelek/WikiCommon CC BY-SA 4.0)

How To Build A Fake Ancient City In Just 5 Years
The Art Bridge. Skopjeinfo.mk/Public Domain

How To Build A Fake Ancient City In Just 5 Years
Warrior on a horse monument by night Diego Delso/WikiCommons CC BY-SA 3.0

How To Build A Fake Ancient City In Just 5 Years
Justinian I monument Dalco26/WikiCommons CC BY-SA 3.0

How To Build A Fake Ancient City In Just 5 Years
Horses Fountain Diego Delso/WikiCommons CC BY-SA 3.0

How To Build A Fake Ancient City In Just 5 Years
Triumphal arch "Porta Macedonia" Rašo/WikiCommons CC BY-SA 3.0

How To Build A Fake Ancient City In Just 5 Years
Close up of Warrior on a horse monument (Juan Antonio F. Segal/Flickr)

Source: AtlasObscura

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5 comments

  1. Hello there! I am from the Republic of Macedonia, which you so kindly call "the nation of FYROM". First of all, that acronym stands for "The Former Republic of Macedonia", an absurd name imposed by the Greek state when my country proclaimed independence form the communist state Yugoslavia. So this fake name was imposed on us in order to become part of the United Nations. Before 1991, the year of our independence, we were part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and our then federal state was called Socialist Republic of Macedonia. From 1945 to 1991 Greece had more than enough time to complain about our name, but it didn't. Why is that? Because to Greece, the famous century old so called "Macedonian question" was solved by occupying and dividing Macedonia between Greece, Serbia (later Yugoslavia), Bulgaria and Albania. In all of these surrounding countries there are people who call themselves Macedonians and they identify with us, the citizens of Republic of Macedonia as their fellow countrymen. So what a surprise, Greece wouldn't recognize us as Macedonians, right? That's because in Greece there is a unrecognized Macedonian minority. The Greek government doesn't recognize minorities, according to its policy everybody in Greece is a Greek, therefore Greece brakes basic human rights. Not to mention the atrocities and the exodus imposed to Macedonians that used to live there, that happened after the WW II, and on their properties, in their very own houses actually, they inhabited Greeks from Asia Minor, i.e. from Turkey. They didn't even bother to build them new houses. So what do you call that, huh?

    That is the real problem between Greece and Macedonia, not Alexander the Great. I personally don't give a fuck about Alexander the Great.

    Second, this article is very misleading in it proposes plain lies about my country. For example this part:

    "(It's also worth noting that the controversial antiquation program is not the only scandal, as the country is currently being rocked by a huge surveillance controversy, which has resulted in dead protestors and police.)"

    There is a surveillance controversy in my country now, that's true, and there are protests happening, but during them no protestant nor policeman was killed, this is such a stupid and mal-intentioned shallow mediocre lie!!! There were policemen killed recently, but they were killed while defending our country from criminals and terrorists from the neighboring Kosovo, which happened in Kumanovo. Here is a link:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/macedonia/11595272/Armed-clashes-on-Macedonia-Kosovo-border-reports-of-police-deaths.html

    So that the filthy lying scumbag who wrote this article can inform him/herself a little bit better. And he or she should work on his/her/its English grammar too, but that's another question.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Damjan! The problem is that names of the statues are not Slavic or even better weren't speaking Slavic in their lives, since Slavs weren't there in first place when the Ancient Macedonians existed... actually we are talking about 1000-1200 years difference between the Ancient Macedonians who were speaking ancient Greek and the Slavs who after 1.200 years of their existence decided to call themselves "Macedonians"... To conclude, Macedonians weren't speaking the Slavic language, not even the Slavic language existed by that time... Justinian I (482 - 565 A.D.)? Philip II of Macedon (382–336 BC)?? Saints Cyril and Methodius are closer to the truth.

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    2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PanxHO0P1mE

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    3. http://mn.mk/feljton/10291-Makedonskoto-pismo-i-jazik-od-najdrevni-vreminja-do-denes

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    4. You can use Google translate to translate the text from Macedoinian to English,
      to see the point of meaning about the text.
      http://mn.mk/feljton/10291-Makedonskoto-pismo-i-jazik-od-najdrevni-vreminja-do-denes

      Delete

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