Wedged between Skopje’s old Bazaar and a busy boulevard is the city’s colorful and chaotic Bit Pazar. Once confined to a single building, over the years the market’s tentacles have spread into the surrounding streets and alleyways.
On a steep hill overlooking the Old Bazaar stands the beautifully restored Mustafa Pasha Mosque. In 1492, while Christopher Columbus was searching for India and stumbling into the Americas, the Ottomans were building this mosque for local Vizier Mustafa Pasha.
“Skopje’s Old Bazaar and caravanserais” – that’s what got my attention. Just reading these words made me think of adventure. I’ve always loved travel tales about long, arduous journeys to foreign lands, whether truth or fiction.
It’s out of my sight, but the distant and serene call to prayers from the Sultan Murat Mosque lets me know the sun is rising in the east. Not long after, rhythmic bells from St. Mary’s Orthodox Church next door also remind the Christian faithful of their religious duties.
One of my great joys of travel is discovering the souvenirs different countries and cultures promote for tourists. I love walking through souks and bazaars, poking around in the merchandise, and listening to the shopkeepers push their wares.