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Facelifts and tradition

Although Skopje’s lords and masters continue to give the city a facelift, not everyone is happy with the result. Progress takes many shapes and forms and what might seem like a huge step forward to some, is an equally huge step backward for others.

My bitch with progress is that all too often it comes at the expense of tradition. In our haste to move forward, we cast aside things that no longer fit our new world. This isn’t always a good thing. Ways of life die out. Traditions that have been in families for centuries languish without heirs. Crafts die when the last craftsman takes a final breath. That makes me sad. Our shortsighted craving for immediate gratification in terms of bigger, better, faster is delusional.

IMG_1849 (800x600) (800x600)One tiny – and for many a very inconsequential – example of this is Cičko Stoicko, a fast-food joint that has been operating in Skopje since 1953. Cičko means uncle and this particular uncle was shot dead, by mistake, about ten years ago but the family has carried on grilling for the city. Yet this business that has been going strong for more than half a century has about two months left to run. Not because business is bad, or patrons are deserting it in favour of the city’s trendier restaurants. No. It’s only fault is that it stands in front of a building that is being treated to a brand new facade. Mostly like Baroque.

IMG_1822 (800x600)The Enem building to the right  is getting a facelift, one which probably make it l0ok more like its neighb0uring arch. I don’t need much excuse to go back to Skopje – I was quite taken with the place. But if I did need one, to see the ‘after’ to this ‘before’ would be it 🙂