Monday, May 14, 2012

Travelogue Starata Čaršila: May 14, 2012


Yesterday we had a lunch date with  friends, Dean and Kristina, who currently live in Kosovo. Dan and Dean worked together in Tbilisi for the ABA.  It was nice to catch up and hear about their adventures in Pristina, Kosovo.

Today, Sunday, Dan and I had no dates so we explored a little farther into the Old Turkish Bazaar (starata čaršila) part of town.  In this part of town the architecture is a mishmash of pre-Columbian Islamic structures and post-1963 earthquake modern. The above photo is of the rooftops of the bazaar (Bit Pazar).   Because it was Sunday "no-work day", there weren't many people out and most of the shops were closed.

Minaret of Murat Pasha Mosque
 Murat Pasha Mosque in its modern form (hidden behind the shops) was built in 1802.

Dome of Čifte Amam National Art Gallery
Čifte Amam is a former Turkish bathhouse built in the first part of the 16th century.  It was badly damaged in the 1963 earthquake. Now restored, it is part of the National Gallery of Macedonia. The next photo is of Daud Pasha Amam Gallery located near the Stone Bridge. It was built by the Turks in the 15th century as a bathhouse. Then, there was a side for women and a side for men; now it houses changing exhibits of modern art.

Daud Pasha Amam Gallery


Pela Antique Shop
Obsolete? Not yet!


Arasta Mosque



Farther still, we found a wonderful market of flowers, trees, and vegetable seedlings.  Despite the changing weather, this is where the shoppers were.

Nearby, we visited several old mosques.

ISHAK BEY MOSQUE (Aladja Mosque)
The Ishak Bey Mosque was originally built in 1438-39.  Restored in 1519 and again after the damage it suffered in the 1963 earthquake.  Alajia means decorated, and it must have been stunning in the 15th century.  Next to the mosque is the beautiful, original tomb (Turbe) that retains it original shape and blue-colored ceramic tile decoration.



This tombstone is decorated with the ancient symbol for the sun.  We've seen this same decoration in Georgia and Iran.










Saat Kula
The Saat Kula is the last remnants of the old city wall built in the mid-16th century.  The top half of the clock tower was originally wood and it held a clock procured from Hungary.  In the early 20th century, the wood portion was changed to stone/brick and the clock was also changed.  Its style of architecture looks so clunky and strange next to the graceful, pencil-shaped Turkish minarets.  The minaret behind is part of the Hjunkar Mosque (Sultan Murat Mosque) built in 1442.  It is on a hill and the gates were locked so we were not able to get closer to the mosque.

Gazi Issa Bey Mosque

Gazi Issa Bey Mosque built in 1475/6 by Issa Bey (who else), and it was restored after the 1963 earthquake.  The grounds of the mosque have beautifully manicured rose gardens.  The lovely plane tree was planted when the mosque was built--536 years ago.  When built, this mosque housed the first library in Skopje.



The above photo is a view of the bazaar with the Mustafa Pasha Mosque in the distance.  The Mustafa Pasha Mosque was built in 1492--the year Columbus was credited with discovering the New World.

It began to rain just as we reached our apartment, and the shorts we were wearing didn't seem as weather appropriate.

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