Friday, July 22, 2022

Well, I'm Gone for 10 days

I'm off. Why? Ed is working in Orlando next week. And I want to go to Macedonia - and he doesn't - so I am going. I got a great airfare (albeit on Polish LOT airlines) even though I have to stop a lot (two transfers there, one back).

Let me share some info and images from Macedonia.

First, it is called North Macedonia. This is a quirk of nationalism by Greece. North Macedonia is just north of Greece. While Yugoslavia was a county, it was a province ("republic") called Macedonia. When Yugoslavia broke up, Macedonia evaded the wars because it was isolated from the rest of the country - by the war in Kosovo. 

The other provinces, Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia all kept their names and joined the UN. Macedonia tried to join but Greece banned that name because they believe the Macedonia of old times was their country and heritage. So Macedonia joined the UN as the Former Yugoslavian Republic Of Macedonia - or - FYROM (pronounced FI-rom).

After a couple of decades of Greece keeping them out of talks with EU, the two countries agree FYROM could be called NORTH Macedonia.

The Capital of Skopje (SCŌ-pē) had to change the name of their giant statue from "Alexander the Great" to "The Warrior". Apparently Skopje is a mishmash of architectural styles. In 1963 there was a very large earthquake. Because Yugoslavia was Communist but not part of the  Russian controlled country, they requested help in rebuilding from everyone. A Japanese architect ran the city rebuild - with lots and lots of "Brutalist" buildings.

Clockwise: Old Town Ottoman (not destroyed in quake)
1963 Quake
"Styrofoam" Town Square (my apartment is right on it)
Brutalist Architecture of the 1970s

Later the non-communist FYROM went on a building spree that hid (although did not teardown) the Brutalist architecture. And they build in a style derisively called "styrofoam" architecture. It is pretend old buildings and a shit ton of statues. It should be fascinating.

There are also old Yugoslavian monuments I am excited to see. Only the one in the upper left has been rehabbed, although upper right is in good shape. All are monuments to fighters from Macedonia (for wars against the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary or Nazi Germany.

There is also some amazing natural wonders and I should have fun. I will post pictures - not to humble bra, but because I find them interesting. Ignore if you want.

One last thing, the latest EU complaint is from Bulgaria - claiming part of North Macedonia was Bulgarian and they should teach that language in school.

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