Stone bridge in Skopje
The Macedonian capital, Skopje, is located on both sides of the Vardar River. Nine bridges were built over the Vardar, to link the southern and northern cities, but Stone bridge is the oldest and most historically significant of all.
Stone bridge in Skopje is a symbol of the Macedonian capital. Its image is the emblem of the ground and the city can be seen on its flag.
Stone bridge connects the old parts with the new part of Skopje - one side made for the Macedonia Square in the center of the Macedonian capital, on the other leads to the Old Bazaar.
Besides being filled with Macedonian history through the ages, Stone bridge is now one of the biggest attractions of the city. Stone bridge over Vardar is built from solid stone blocks and is supported by columns that are associated with 12 semicircular arches. The length of the Stone bridge reaches 214 meters with a width of six meters.
There are two basic versions for the construction of the Stone bridge, one is more romantic, linking its beginning even to the Roman era, when Emperor Justinian I decided to build a structure over Vardar after the great earthquake.
The rocks of the Stone bridge were skillfully arranged - with the standard summer lead, which is a construction technique known by the Thracians. Some of the core columns can be seen decorated with niches, while others have large cavities with loopholes.
The second version to build a Stone bridge is based on historical sources and describes how the structure is built over Vardar at the time of Mehmed II, who ruled between 1451 and 1469. Stone bridge was badly damaged by the earthquake in 1555.
Evliya Çelebi, who is famous Turkish traveler, poet and historian, was in Skopje during the year 1660 - 1661. He copied the inscription which is engraved on the Stone bridge after its restoration in 1579. The inscription on the marble slab was placed on the bridge and it was said: When people saw the renovation of this unprecedented bridge, they praised him and said, It is better than it was earlier.
In the early 19th century, from the year 1817 to 1818 saw a major reconstruction of the Stone bridge, which according to historical documents, amounted to 28, 816 pennies. In the late 19th century, after yet another flood the protection walls were built of Vardar .Then the arches and vaults of the north side of the Stone bridge were updated which included the installation of bricks and stone arches of the lower parts of the posts.
In the early 20th century by order of Sultan Mehmed V the bridge was extended and on both sides a sidewalk was built. At the end of World War the Stone bridge managed to survive demolition after its retirement when Germany troops mined it, but failed to explode it.
In the final restoration a decade ago the sidewalks were removed and the bridge restores its original authentic form. Since then, the Stone bridge is for pedestrians.