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The nation’s capital of Skopje wears its pride with the aplomb of any European cultural center. Ottoman Turks ruled here for 500 years and vestiges of their culture are everywhere, lending the city an “east-meets-west” atmosphere. Its historic centerpiece, the Kale—kale means “fortress” in Turkish —overlooks the city. In its heyday, one renowned writer visiting in 1660 remarked that “one cannot see so much refinement and art” as he saw here Much of that era’s flavor also seeps through the stone lanes of the Turkish Bazaar, known locally as Čaršija. Home to some 30 mosques and a number of historic caravansaries, its stalls are brimming with colorful carpets, handmade crafts, carved dolls, and all the traditional makings of Macedonia. With its vast collection of historic architecture, it is perhaps Skopje’s most significant area of cultural heritage. Nearby, one of the 20th century’s greatest humanitarian figures, Mother Teresa, was born in 1910, when the city was part of Albania.


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