web analytics

The Old Stone Bridge in Skopje

From the day when it was built, until now, the Stone Bridge endlessly performs its function.

Stone Bridge.

The Bridge is a mute witness to many historic turbulent times. Numerous conquering armies passed on its stone path, states were created and decomposed and re-created again. At certain times even its name has been changed by some of the conquerors.

However, this Stone Bridge exceeded its utilitarian purpose and became a symbol of the city of Skopje, a symbol of many past, present and future generations.

Symbol who connects the old with the new part of the city, connect two religions (Orthodox and Muslim) and symbolizes the link between the past and present Skopje.

Stone Bridge was built on the river Vardar in the 15th century, a period when Skopje was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. The Bridge has all the features and elements of a Turkish bridge from the period of great development of the Turkish architecture.

It is built of travertine blocks, with a length of 214 meters and 13 arches that are connecting the massive pillars on which the Bridge lies. In the middle of the bridge Watchtower has been built. The middle pillar of the Bridge has two rooms that were used to reduce the pressure of a column, but also used by the soldiers who guarded the Bridge, which can be concluded from small opening for guns.

As the famous writer Evliya Celebi said, the Bridge was built in the second half of 15th century during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror.
But, there are some assumptions that the Bridge is older and that it was built in the early 15th century by Sultan Murat II. This assumption is supported by the inscription found in Isa Bey Mosque.

Perhaps, the confusion is caused by one simple reason.
Sultan Murat II retired from his throne in favor of his son Mehmed II the Conqueror, an event that caused a different interpretation about who is the Bridge builder.

During its existence, the Bridge had severe damages caused by earthquakes and floods, and after repayments it never lost its original appearance.

Major repairs were carried out during the reign of famous Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, when the region was first struck by disastrous earthquake and after that with flood of enormous proportions, in the 16th century.
In the year 1909 repairs were made because of the arrival of Sultan Reshad, when the Bridge was widened.
In 1911 plate was placed upon arrival of the representative of Turkish government – Mehmed V, with inscription that says that the Stone Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges.

Today, the plates with inscriptions which were set in different periods of its existence are missing, and no one knows where they are and when were they stolen.

The Stone Bridge was one of the few buildings that were not destroyed by the devastating earthquake that struck Skopje in 1963, when nearly 70% of the city was destroyed.

During the archaeological and conservation studies held in 1972-73 inside the Bridge, original German packaging of explosives was found, dated from 1944.

As participants in the liberation of Skopje said, the Germans fortunately failed to trigger the explosives and for that reason and revenge, they began to shoot at women and elders who were in the City Square at that moment.

Today’s look, the Bridge has received after its last reconstruction performed in the period 1992-2004.

On both side of the Bridge statues of Macedonian freedom fighters and Christian missionaries know as Apostles to the Slavs, are placed.

If you find yourself in Skopje in September do not miss the event “Breakfast on Bridge”. This manifestation was established 3 years ago in honor of Virgin Mary, which is the patroness of the city.

Admission to attend this event this year, just like every year so far will be free, but only with in advance provided tickets, for which you’ll need to check in on information desk placed outside the city pub Pelister on the City Square.

Tables and chairs on the whole length of the Bridge will be placed, but due to the complexity of space, the number of tickets is limited to 2.000.

So, if you are in Skopje, don’t miss to see this magnificent Landmark of the City.

One Response to The Old Stone Bridge in Skopje

  1. Igor says:

    The Stone Bridge is beautiful like as the rest landmarks of the city of Skopje.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>