Friday, January 13, 2012

Apartment Hunting in Skopje, Macedonia: January 13, 2012

Yesterday after several hours sleep, we began apartment hunting with Alex and Viki (a realtor).  We saw apartments with their own swimming pools.  There was an apartment with a clothes dryer--I wanted the dryer not the apartment.  We looked at apartments on the 4th or 5th floor with no elevators.  We looked at a charming apartment that was part of a house.  It had a beautiful yard, but was a 20-minute walk to the center of Skopje.  We looked at a lair-like apartment with state-of-the-art sound equipment, a TV in every room (even the bathroom), and black walls in the living room.

Just as everything was becoming a blur, the last apartment we saw seemed to fit our needs.  It is centrally located with a 10-minute walk to Dan’s new office.  It has 2 bedrooms and 1-1/2 baths.  The kitchen is adequate and it has a corner terrace for lovely summer meals outdoors.   It is on the 7th floor and the elevator works very well.  There are no stairs--not even to enter the building.  

The apartment is the second building shown above.  The apartment building has a ground floor plus 12 floors above.  These towers were built after the earthquake that devastated Skopje on July 26 1963.  In the descriptions I’ve read, Skopje, the epicenter of the quake, was described as demolished, “leveled, paralyzed, almost wiped from the face of the earth.”

Only a few seconds were enough to turn 85% of Skopje into ruins. But the greatest damage was the irreparable loss of 1,066 human lives. More than 3,300 inhabitants of Skopje were lightly or badly wounded. Only 3 minutes after the first came another earthquake of the same intensity (8.5 degrees of the Mercali scale), followed by hundreds of tremors of smaller intensity. It was that dark Friday, of July 26th, 1963. Clocks stopped with their mechanisms pointing to the fatal 5 o'clock and 17 minutes AM, marking the longest day in the history of Skopje.

Post earthquake many countries sent teams to Skopje to assist in rebuilding the city.  These buildings and several others were built by a team from Japan in the 1970s.

Today we agreed to take it.

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