Text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
Design Florin Alexandru Stancu

In 2014 July 21
I passed the border between
Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Soon after that
I passed near Lake Ohrid
(which is included in the UNESCO Heritage),
and I thought of the medieval times when, on its shore,
the city of Ohrid became the main religious (Christian-Orthodox) center
between ihe Western (Catholic) world
and ihe Byzantine (Orthodox) world.

I arrived in Skopje (the Capital City of FYROM)
during the nighttime,
I slept at a hotel,
and on the next morning I enjoyed the landscape from around:
Mount Vodno with the Millennium Cross
(the bigger cross at over 1000 m altitude, made in the 2000s),
the sunrise, the flag of FYROM with its radiant Sun which, amazingly,
moved to the real sky as crepuscular rays.

I also looked from the distance
at the central zone.

In the first millennium BC
Skupi was firstly a town in the Kingdom of Paeonia
(with a Thracian-Illyrian population)
and later the Capital of the Kingdom of Dardania
(with a mainly Illyrian population).

After the Roman conquest (1st century BC)
it became the Capital of a district in the province of Macedonia
during the Roman-Byzantine era,

After the Slavic invasion
Skupi became Skopje
and was the Capital of the First Bulgarian Empire
(in the 10th century, under Czar Samoil),
and the Capital of the Serbian Empire
(in the 14th century, under King Stefan Dusan).

During the Ottoman domination
Skopje was the Capital of the Uskub pashanjak
and, in the 19th century, of the Kosovo vilayet.

After the second Balkan War (1913)
Skopje became the Capital of South Serbia or Vardar Macedonia
in the Kingdom of Serbia.

During World War I and World War II
Skopje was a moral zonal Capital in the Kingdom of Bulgaria,
while during the interwar times
it was the Capital of the Vardar Banovina in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

After World War II
Skopje was the Capital of the Socialist Federal Republic of Macedonia
in the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia.

Since 1992 Skopje became the Capital City
of the independent Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
which changed its name later in North Macedonia.

After this enumeration of the amazing positions of this city
on the changing map of the Balkans,
I had to add that today Skopje has over 500,000 inhabitants,
from which 2/3 are Slavs (mainly Christian-Orthodox)
and 20% are Albanians (mainly Muslims).

And I personally admired its central zone,
with many beautiful palaces,
the Vardar River with its artistic bridges,
the Old Bazaar with Christian-Orthodox and Muslim edifices,
statues of national heroes
and universal personalities connected to the history of this country,
such as Philip II and Alexander the Great
(although the Dardani were rather their enemies than their allies),
Emperor Justinian and Mother Theresa
(who were born in this area).

The last gift which I received from Skopje
was a sea of clouds
which slowly installed over Mount Vodno.

To walk through an eternal Capital
Is something quite phenomenal!
It is astronomy of time,
The feeling is astral!


© 2019 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)