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Photographer's Note

The famous Stone Bridge (Kamen Most) on river Vardar is located in downtown Skopje. Some claim that it was erected during the Romaoian rule, in the middle of the 6th century, immediately after the disastrous earthquake of 518 when the ancient city of Skupi was destroyed. Much more likely, however, is the second theory, according to which the Bridge was built in the second half of the 15th century (between 1451-1469) under the patronage of sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror.

In its original shape, the Bridge had 13 arcs and was 329 steps long (or 213.85m.; one step is 0.65m.). Its total width was 6.33m. Throughout the centuries, the Bridge was often damaged and repaired. There is historical evidence that it once suffered during the great earthquake of 1555 which heavily damaged or destroyed four pillars.

In 1944, explosives were placed on the Bridge by the fascists. But when the city was liberated the activation of the explosives was prevented and the Bridge was saved from a dreadful destruction.

The history of the Bridge is closely related to many incidents during the life of the Macedonian people under Turkish rule. In most cases, capital punishment was executed on the Bridge, which was then "decorated" with the heads of those who were executed. The body of a Macedonian revolutionary, Hristijan Todorovski – Karpos, after having been displayed on the Bridge for a while, was cut into pieces and thrown into the Vardar. In 1944, a large group of innocent Macedonian citizens were murdered on the Bridge by the German fascists before their withdrawal from Skopje.

For the citizens of Skopje, the old Stone Bridge on river Vardar is not only a means of connecting the two parts of the city (Old and New), but a part of the history of the city and its inhabitants.

SOURCE: Stara Skopska Carsija (The Old Skopje Bazaar) by Kosta Balabanov

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