Today is one of the dates that will always be engraved in my country's history, the day still remembered by many who shudder at the thought of what they lived through 47 years ago. My family is also one of those people who do not dearly remember this event and who had to find ways of how to make their living in the months and years that followed until they could get back to a normal life...if anything could have been normal after that.
Today is the day when 47 years ago, at 5:17am, my hometown was struck by one of the most disastrous earthquakes, which took way too many people's lives and destroyed many homes, lives and memories. The 6,1 earthquake is said to have killed over 1,070 people, injured between 3,000 and 4,000 and left between 120,000 to 200,000 people homeless. Between 75 and 80 percent of the city was destroyed.
I happen to have a number of vintage reprints portraying my hometown before and after the earthquake and I thought it would be a great opportunity to post them now and share with you the kind of Skopje none of us will ever see again and the kind of Skopje which is being missed by many...even me, even though there was not even the slightest plan of me coming to this world, when reading about those times and seeing pictures, I can for surely tell that back then Skopje had a soul, it had its identity, it had its charm...now it is just another craving-to-be-modern-by-all-means city, cluttered with concrete wherever you turn to, a city without a concept and getting worse every day...and it is a public secret I dont actually like it.
Old Skopje, a picture dating from 1926, showing among else, the Stone Bridge and the Railway Station (that's the bottom right picture). If you take a better look on the top right picture, you will see something which reminds of a person's spirit, and that is actually the apparition of Mother Teresa.
A Panoramic view onto the centre of Skopje with the two banks of the river Vardar. If you cross the Stone Bridge, you will find yourself in the Old Bazaar.
Skopje before and after the earthquake...you can pretty much see the devastating power the earthquake had.
The Army House and the Railway Station, before and after the earthquake.
The Krango Palace, built in 1926, demolished in the 1963 earthquake.
Panoramic view of Skopje central area before the earthquake with St. Konstantin and Elena Orthodox church built in 1926.
The Clock Tower, built in the middle of the XVI century.
The National Theatre, built between 1921-1927, demolished in the 1963 Earthquake. Nowadays missed by many and incomparable to any of the existing Macedonian Theatres.
The Building of the Railway Station before the earthquake.
The preserved part of the Railway Station building, with the famous clock, which you could see it illuminated on some of the above photos. This clock stopped at exactly 5:17 am, when the earthquake struck, and has remained like that ever since, to serve as a reminiscent of this day and is considered as a symbol of the earthquake.
Today, here in this building, is the Museum of the City of Skopje.
edit: here is a video I found in the meantime, reporting about the earthquake