Part ideological desire to create and celebrate Macedonian nationalist heroes (leading to fun discoveries like a 15 foot statue of an obscure lexicographer) and part attempt to woo tourists to a capital formally described as frumpy - the result is a schizophrenic collision of styles with modernist concrete swoops vying with fake baroque pretense all against an Ottoman backdrop.
While the execution may be lacking, and the renovation of the central square has left it feeling like Disneyland meets Las Vegas as the governing classes seek to manufacture a picture postcard view, it is hard not to be charmed by the city.
At the hostel Fred and I stayed in a local girl, Mariana, raged against the mess that was being made of her city claiming she could hardly recognize it. Following the earthquake here in 1963 an international effort was made to assist with reconstruction; overseen by the great Japenese architect Kenzo Tange. There can be little doubt that his vision has been sullied by the current spate of reckless revisionism but the vigour and vitality of the city shines through with bustling bazaars and a cool riverside bar scene. We amused ourselves playing spot the statue and trying to keep tally. (Impossible)
A snapshot of Skopje and it's many littered statues.