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GES101 - Court & Bank buildings, Skopje, Macedonia

Part of a trip around Albania and the Lower Balkans in the spring of 2011.

Turning up in Skopje on a bank holiday wasn't what I would have liked, however I had little choice. Coming to the capital of Macedonia primarily as a tourist, this limited my options a bit. So by late afternoon I found myself twiddling my thumbs. This could be quite dangerous as an explorer, particularly as most of central Skopje is a building site at the moment. Some of the buildings had workers clearly present. But the two I selected were both appearing empty. As a certain hairless Parisian might say, "Action!"

The first building I fancied was the new  Constitutional Court & State Archive building, which sat on the North bank of the Vardar River. It looked very impressive and grand from the opposite bank. At the time I thought it might be a casino or something.

Access in daylight was easier said than done, as there were security cameras for a bank next to it, that covered the hoardings. An obese security guard had already moved on a gang of romany kids sat near the hoardings. I weighed up the odds, and then popped over. legging it quickly into the shadows of the building. I hoped I hadn't been seen by those swilling beer and wine in the cafés on the opposite bank. The ground floor had a grand sweeping staircase that swept up to the first floor. Then a set of regular steps to the third. After that it was to the lift shaft stairs to the top floor. Which happened to look like this when I was there.

Up on the roof, lots of wood and scaffold poles were employed for the two domes on either end of the roof.

The edge of the bank building I climbed up next too, and beyond the piano like building, is the white Opera and Theatre building. Behind the Opera building was yet another construction project with accompanying crane.

Further along the bank of the river is another building project. I was thinking to come back at night for that one and try a crane. But there were workers appearing to live on the site, so I kept to easier options.

Looking to the South bank of the river, and area covered by trees is full of trendy cafés.  The cross on the hill is the biggest of it's kind bible bashing cross freaks might be interested to know. As an anti-theist, i'd be thinking, "Mmmm, scrap metal value!"

Looking West across the roof area.

Looking South West across the main central square of Skopje. A number of monuments and buildings hoarded up. The unfinished building on the left with hoarding around, was my second explore. The stone bridge is a highlight of Skopje tourist literature, it's referred to as 'The Stone Bridge.'

The closed fort on the hill, although it looked pretty crap. If it weren't for the military types running around inside, it would have been a very easy explore to access, due to a huge gap under a side gate. The building on the bottom left is also under development.

Under the Western Dome of the roof.

Top floor,and the scroll column heads, with the national flag flying in the background.

The grand staircase from the first floor.

When finished it will look like this: (taken from Skyscrapercity Forums)

2nd building

One down, one to go. Next up was the National Bank building. Think Bank of England but with less cash and in Macedonia.

Sadly with easy stairs to climb, no scaff fun for me :(

Skopje's main square, sitting sedately  in the early evening sun on a bank holiday.

The famous 'Stone Bridge', and fort. Building sites on the North Bank.

Mental maniac below the Metal mass. Try saying that after a few beers. The Western end of the roof.

I then settled down in a hidey hole for an hour, and read some more of my thrilling copy of the Economist.

As the sunset, it was time to get some longer exposures. The illuminated Stone Bridge. At this time, I happened to notice a guy in a dark uniform step out of the tiny white caravan next to the court building i'd climbed earlier. A possible close one, although I was rather careful having already been busted by cops once in Macedonia. (covered in GE105).

The lights come on in the Skopje suburbs.

The centre of Skopje's massive investment plans. Looking downstream East.

Some sort of national monument being built in the central square.

The well hidden cafés on the South bank. Must be a great place to hang out if you're a mosquito.

Practising my balancing on the metal roof structure. Looking West.

It took a few shots, but just about managed to get the fort without losing the building to the lights. And with that, time to dark out of a fold in the metal hoarding, and surprise a couple making out. Then disappear into the night to find some food.

The building had no real equipment left there or signs of construction. So one assumes the project may have run out of money. A little embarrassing maybe, considering it's their national bank.

when finished it will look like this (picture taken from Skyscraper city forums)


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