If you are in Skopje, the Fortress (Kale) is a very good place to go and kill an hour or so. The fortress offers excellent views of the city and surrounding mountains and, best of all, it won’t cost you a cent to get in.
As for the location, it stands above the East bank of the River Vardar and the walk from Macedonia Square should only take 15-20 minutes.
History of Skopje Fortress
Skopje Fortress was built sometime during the 6th century AD. The history is a little hazy, but its believed to have been constructed during the rule of Justian the Great, who was emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 1 August 527 to 14 November 565.
The original fortress may have been destroyed and then rebuilt during the 10th and 11th centuries. It’s more recent history is more clear. The fortress was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1963 and had to be reconstructed yet again.
Views from the Fortress
The views from Skopje Fortress are very impressive, but don’t take my word for it. Here’s some photographic evidence.
My Opinion of the Fortress
I can’t remember the last time I visited a castle and didn’t have to pay to get in. In fact, I don’t think it’s ever happened before.
There are no facilities within the grounds of the fortress, but I never went there with the intention of visiting a cafeteria so I wasn’t bothered about that and I hadn’t had a lot to drink so the lack of a toilet was no big deal either.
The lack of information is surprising though. There is nowhere to buy a pamphlet or get any information about the fortress at all. Nor did I see any information boards anywhere on the site.
For me, the lack of information is not important. I only visited Skopje Fortress because I wanted to see if the views are good, and they are.
It was a warm day when I went to the Fortress, but I could still see snow-capped mountains in the distance. In the UK you only see snow when the weather is cold. It always amazes me when I’m in a country that allows me to see evidence of snow when the sun feels so warm on my skin.
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