ISSN 2330-717X

Macedonia’s Iconic Mall Awaits Classic Touches

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By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

After transforming much of the capital in styles inspired by Classical Antiquity, Skopje’s best known shopping mall, GTC, appears next in line for a facelift.

Skopje’s best known shopping centre appears in line for a dramatic facelift after managers of the GTC mall in central Skopje this week issued a call for architectural proposals to give a new look to the 1970s building.

Alarm bells started ringing in some quarters after it was also suggested that “Classicism, Baroque and Futurism” would be the preferred styles.

In January, the government chose a new Baroque-style facade for its modern-looking HQ, ignoring the opposing views of the Association of Architects and the building’s designer.

The call for a facelift for the mall has raised fears that the landmark mall, dating from the 1970s and 1980s, may soon lose its familiar appearance.

“It is not acceptable to impose new facades of any type, and let alone impose Baroque, and I will never agree to such a thing,” Georgi Konstantinov, a well known architect, said.

“GTC has a modern expression that needs to be preserved as historic heritage. It would be pure nonsense to change its style,” he added.

Despite the recent boom in shopping mall construction in Skopje, GTC, located metres from the central Macedonia square, is still the biggest and most visited mall in the city.

Unlike the others, this state-owned mall has open entrances from all sides making it an essential transit route for thousands of people traversing the central area each day.

The government-appointed manager of GTC, Ago Abazovski, says the plan is to enclose the open-air GTC entrances, “at the request of the shop owners”, and build one more storey onto the existing construction.

The authorities plan to choose a new facade by the end of the summer. If all goes smoothly, the GTC may get its new look by 2015.

Meanwhile, the government continues transforming much of the rest of the city centre as part of the ambitious “Skopje 2014” project.

More than 20 buildings, mostly inspired by the style of Classical Antiquity, are already in place or are nearly finished. The construction of a new national theatre, a history museum, a foreign ministry and a concert hall are at an advanced stage.

As part of the grand revamp, dozens of statues and fountains are being erected to adorn the surroundings. Giant, almost 30 metre-high statues of Alexander the Great and his father, Philip, are already in place.

Critics of the project object to its artistic style as well as to the project’s high estimated cost, unofficially standing at €500 million.

Balkan Insight

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (fornerkt the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

6 thoughts on “Macedonia’s Iconic Mall Awaits Classic Touches

  • Avatar
    June 21, 2012 at 5:33 am
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    All part of ultra nationality fanatic Greuvskis politcal propaganda campaign to usurp the identity of Macedonians and threaten Greek territorial integrity.

    Meanwhile apologists for FYROM now dishonestly pretend not to notice.

    Racism is alive and well including a few amongst those that self-proclaim themselves supporters of human rights… yet are more concerned with hiding in shame than protecting the human rights of Greeks.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    June 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm
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    To Anon, the “guardian” of Hellenism,
    Stop diluting yourself; there was nothing Hellenic with the Ancient Macedonians. Today’s Greeks need to realize that they have no legal rights to claim anything Macedonian except perhaps in the following areas: discrimination, forceful assimilation, brutal extermination, hate, ethnic cleansing, murders, bigotry and racism. Instead of focusing on your own failed policies and corrupt government practices, you engage yourselves with stupid, petty little nuances like covering Macedonian citizens’ licence plates with tape. How infantile is that? To me that equates with closing your eyes with the intent to make things disappear. Next, when you claim something to be the truth, then, you must furnish evidence for it to support your claim: Where is the proof that Gruevski threatens Greek integrity? Where is the proof that what he does in Skopje is somehow connected with Greece?
    What gives you the diluted idea that he “usurps” his own Macedonian identity? Aside from reading Greek mythology and Greek version of history, have you ever ventured outside that jingoistic, comfortable enclave? Your comments have become excessively nauseating. You regurgitate the same baseless, warn-out old propaganda nonsense. Greeks have nothing to do with the Ancient Macedonians or with Macedonia, period. If you need evidence for the above statement, read “Ancient Macedonians” by professor JSG Gandeto.

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  • Avatar
    June 21, 2012 at 2:33 pm
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    Anon is a prime example of the diluted view of Greeks. Maybe the world would take you more seriously Greeks but your own Greek historians stated Macedonians have nothing to do with Greece in the 19th century before Megali Idea was coined (by a non Greek) and most “Greek Macedonians” are either Hellenized Macedonians/Vlachs or Hellenized Christians from Asia Minor. It would be fine to claim Turkey violated your human rights but it is idiotic to assume you can state the same thing to Macedonia when it was YOUR nation Greece that violated our rights, which is well documented by several human rights organizations like Human Rights Watch and continues to be documented in Aegean Macedonia

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  • Avatar
    June 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm
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    JSG Gandeto? Are you for real? You reference a FYROM ultra natioanlist crackpot as a history expert. Why not try instead reference what accredited third party historians say about your fabricated “ethnic Macedonian” identity?

    Take for example Loring Danforth. He’s been a long time apologist for you right? (back when lying fanatics like you used to assure everyone you weren’t related to ancient Macedonians to gain recognition) Danforth is even listed on FYROM nationalist “human rights” website MHRMI (hardly a pro-Greece source to accuse it of “Greek propaganda”)

    So why is it fanatics like you never mention facts about FYROM’s (mostly) ethnic Bulgarian past if you claim you are concerned about truth and justice? Why hide it and instead build giant statues to ancient self-identifying Greek historical figures like Alexander?

    “The political and military leaders of the Slavs of Macedonia at the turn of the century seem not to have heard Misirkov’s call for a separate Macedonian national identity; they continued to identify themselves in a national sense as Bulgarians rather than Macedonians.” -“The Macedonian Conflict: Ethnic Nationalism in a Transnational World”, Princeton Univ Press, December 1995

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  • Avatar
    June 21, 2012 at 10:59 pm
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    “What gives you the diluted idea that he usurps” his own Macedonian identity?”

    http://www.macedonia-evidence.org gives the Greeks the right.

    JSG Gandeto = Fake name = Josif Grizlovski = Propaganidst

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  • Avatar
    June 23, 2012 at 8:31 am
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    The Yugislavs of FYROM need a baroque culture because unlike our indigenous Illyrian-Albanian 3500 year history here around skopjia Gruevski need to invent something even if it is Greek.

    The Slavs of FYROM still haven’t developed into their new Titoistic fabrication as their Bulgarian roots cause them to build statues to many Bulgarian heroes and attack the Greeks by erecting ancient Greek statues, like Alex and Phil.

    Not one indigenous Albanian statue stands anywhere FYROM and yet we are over 30% of the FYROM pop. In ten years we will be 50% and as the Yugislavs did not use Gruevski’s childbirth revolution policy handouts (2009) in making babies but rather leaving their women unsatisfied it will be the rapidly mulitplying indigenous Albanians who will soon be in the majority of FYROM.

    Ten years is not long away. We will then tear down these ugly structures and statues the skopjia government have built and turn skopjia into a real cosmopolitan city instead of a texas style amusement park.

    Reply

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