Thursday, February 04, 2010

Macedonian Aqueduct, still unknown for scientist and travelers

The only Aqueduct in Republic of Macedonia (there were three aqueducts in ex-Yugoslavia) is located 2 km north-west of the city center of Skopje. One upon a time according to the notes of the traveler Evlija Chelebija (1669), the Skopje Aqueduct had 200, and now remain standing only 55 stone arches. In the disastrous earthquake which stroke Skopje in 1963, the Aqueduct was damaged and than restored and reconstructed.

According to one theory, this monument was built by the Romans, during the reign of the emperor Justinian I, who was born in the vicinity of Skopje, in a place called Tavresium. The other theory suggests it was constructed in 16th century, by the Ottoman Empire who conquered the whole Balkan (including Macedonia) and in the middle ages it provided water for public baths located now in the old part of Skopje.


Although the time of the origin is questionable, this archaeological site and magnificent cultural monument still seems like forgotten, both from the people and the Ministry of Culture. Undermined by the locals as a source of construction material and completely ruined, for decades this Aqueduct is sinking into the bogs by which it is surrounded. The pillars are filled with water and a large percentage of humidity, and there is a big possibility for permanent damage and demolition. In addition, probably the problem with the surrounding land is not yet solved, because I am not familiar whether the process of expropriation of the field which borders it has begun.

I was part of the event in 2007 when a famous ethno group Synthesis held a concert under the Aqueduct, as a contribution to its popularity. This monument is one of the hundred cultural sites which are completely abandoned and forgotten. It has never been scientifically studied and it has never been published (except in the travel catalogues). This Aqueduct is a true example of how we take care of our cultural and historical heritage in Macedonia, besides its location in the heart of the capital Skopje.


Kittie Howard said...

When I lived in Skopje, I was a visitor so said nothing. However, my two years there both delighted and frustrated. Macedonia has assets other countries lack. I've seen the aquaduct many, many times. Few countries have such a treasure. Yet, the aquaduct looked very abandoned. The word that best fits, I think, is mentalitate! Concerned people like you must continue to speak out!

Arheoblog said...


Mostly I was writing in Macedonian, because my visitors, readers and commentators speaks or understand this language.

But I realized that if I want real promotion and protection of cultural monuments in Macedonia, I have to write in English.

I am trying my best, thank you for you support.


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