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Skopje's Neoclassical Makeover

The Macedonian capital is in the midst of an urban renewal project: Skopje 2014, which is designed to give the city a face-lift and help promote a distinctive national brand. The project involves the construction of new government buildings, museums, and monuments depicting historical figures, including Alexander the Great. Slated for completion next year, Skopje 2014 has drawn criticism at home, both for a soaring budget and for designs that some call historical kitsch.

A new concert hall is under construction (right) next to the newly completed offices of the public prosecutor and financial police (center).
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A new concert hall is under construction (right) next to the newly completed offices of the public prosecutor and financial police (center).

A bronze fountain on a central square honors Olympia, the mother of Alexander the Great. Behind the fountain, a new building facade is under construction.
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A bronze fountain on a central square honors Olympia, the mother of Alexander the Great. Behind the fountain, a new building facade is under construction.

One of two structures in the shape of a galley ship on the banks of the Vardar River. Macedonia's government has said that the cost of the Skopje 2014 project is 208 million euros, but the political opposition claims that the real cost could be close to twice the official figure.
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One of two structures in the shape of a galley ship on the banks of the Vardar River. Macedonia's government has said that the cost of the Skopje 2014 project is 208 million euros, but the political opposition claims that the real cost could be close to twice the official figure.

A new bridge across the Vardar River is decorated with statues of influential figures in Macedonian culture, from artists to pop singers.
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A new bridge across the Vardar River is decorated with statues of influential figures in Macedonian culture, from artists to pop singers.

Another new structure in the form of a ship
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Another new structure in the form of a ship

A statue stands by the entrance to a newly built theater, which is a replica of a building demolished in a 1963 earthquake.
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A statue stands by the entrance to a newly built theater, which is a replica of a building demolished in a 1963 earthquake.

The newly constructed replica of the old theater
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The newly constructed replica of the old theater

An unfinished facade of a cultural center on Skopje's central square is due to be reconstructed in a neoclassical style. The sculpture in the foreground is one of many surrounding a large statue of Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great.
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An unfinished facade of a cultural center on Skopje's central square is due to be reconstructed in a neoclassical style. The sculpture in the foreground is one of many surrounding a large statue of Philip of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great.

A monument to Alexander the Great in the center of Skopje
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A monument to Alexander the Great in the center of Skopje

Statues next to the new theater
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Statues next to the new theater

A statue of Hristo Uzunov, a fighter with Macedonia's National Liberation movement in the late 19th and early 20th century
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A statue of Hristo Uzunov, a fighter with Macedonia's National Liberation movement in the late 19th and early 20th century

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