THE STONE BRIGDE

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The Stone Bridge is rightfully considered as the most magnificent symbol of the city of Skopje.  Constructed to connect the two sides of river Vardar, the Stone Bridge has for centuries enabled the communication and exchange in the most frequented spot of Skopje.  Even today, the Stone Bridge serves pedestrians as the best link between the old and the new part of the city, particularly because vehicles are not allowed to drive through the bridge.

The Stone Bridge represents an object with an extraordinary building technique, and it is for this reason that it was preserved well.  This bridge possesses the features of an ottoman construction- it has all the elements of an ottoman-Turkish bridge.  However, even despite these features, we often come across facts according to which this bridge belongs to the Romans or other occupiers who passed through Skopje.  Yet, the vast majority of available data on the history of the bridge as well as the style of the construction prove that the Stone Bridge is actually a construction of the ottoman period.  The construction dates back at the time when Skopje was occupied by the Turks.  This is the period from 1392 to 1469, which is when for the first time the bridge is mentioned in the available documentation.  These documents show that the bridge is linked to the rule of Sultan Murat II and Mehmet II the Ruler, who ruled one after the other from 1421 to 1481.  From here one could conclude that the Stone Bridge dates back from the XV century.

The Stone Bridge was built on the location it retains today in order to connect and enable the communication between the two sides of Skopje, which have been expanding and urbanizing continuously.  Hence, from the left hand side of the bridge begins the Old bazaar and its trade and cultural objects, while on the right and side were placed Burmali mosque, a very popular mosque which no longer exists as well as a number of other oriental monuments which also seized to exist. 

The Stone Bridge today is a symbol of cultural, traditional, linguistic and religious connection and exchange, as the majority Albanian population lives in the left (old) side of Skopje, and the majority Macedonian population lives in the right (new) side of the capital.  It is not by accident that the citizens define the bridge as a linking rather than as a bridge of division of peoples who compose the multiethnic and multireligious image of Skopje.
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