If a city’s beauty can be gauged by the number, size and sheer uniqueness of the statues it showcases, then this capital city in southeastern Europe – and Tempe’s Sister City – makes Paris, Rome and London look prosaic in comparison.
Walk through the heart of Skopje you’ll see well more than 100 statues, most of which were erected in the past 10 years in a government effort to boost tourism and build national pride. The statues depict Macedonian military heroes, politicians, literary and religious figures, and people going about their daily lives. Skopje, a city of about a half-million people and the capital of North Macedonia, is an eclectic blend of Christian and Islamic cultures.
Formerly part of socialist Yugoslavia, Skopje became Tempe’s Sister City in 1971, a groundbreaking relationship that endures nearly a half-century later. At the time, it was the first partnership between an American city and a counterpart in Eastern Europe’s socialist bloc.