ISSN 2330-717X

Carriage Rides To Lend Romantic Note To Skopje

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By Sinisa Jakov Marusic

Who needs to go to Vienna? Soon you will be able to trot through the Macedonian capital in your very own horse-drawn carriage.

It’s been quite some time since the people of Skopje got around in horse and cart.

But now city hall plans to buy an old-fashioned carriage of a more up-market variety, plus two Lipizzaner horses, to trot through the streets as a tourist attraction.

“It will be used for romantic rides through the down-town area,” an official from the city administration said.

The commission of the first carriage and horses costing some 35,000 euros should be formally approved this week by the city authorities.

At the turn of the 20th century some 150 horse-drawn carriages traversed the city daily, mostly imported from Vienna, but also made in Skopje and in the town of Bitola.

In an attempt to enliven the shabby-looking city centre the authorities have launched a massive bid to beautify the city, called Skopje 2014.

Meanwhile Skopje’s bus fleet was last year re-equipped with retro-style double-decker buses made to resemble those used in Skopje in the 1950s.

Critics became worried that the authorities were going over the top last year when they said they were also mulling construction of a big panorama wheel.

Another attention-grabber was Mayor Koce Trajanovski’s announcement last month that riverside replica galleons would be stationed in the Vardar River to serve as restaurants and cafes.

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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.

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