May 7, 2009

From Skopje to Baghdad and back

The focus of the debate on the future of Macedonia Square has shifted from the planned church to the planned statue Alexander the Great, and great he/it is (22m tall; cost: 4,5m euros). Architect Miroslav Grcev, cited by BalkanInsight, has likened the project to those built in authoritarian regimes, mentioning specifically that of Saddam Hussein. The article continues:

"He and others have noted that the public does not know how this sculpture and another nine bronze statues, costing a total 10 million euro, were commissioned ... Rumours about the statues have swirled in the past few months. But details of the form, size and commissioning were only released earlier this week after the Dnevnik newspaper published documents it had received about their construction. Following the publication of the article, the mayor of Skopje's central municipality was forced to disclose details about the statues."

According to another news article from Tuesday:

"The mayor [of Centar municipality] was forced into holding the press conference after local Dnevnik newspaper on Monday said it was in possession of documents detailing plans and costs for the statues. It said that Fonderia Artistica Ferdinando Marinelli, a well known artistic foundry located in Florence, Italy, has been secretly hired to make the statues, and has been asked to keep quiet over the deals signed in 2008 with Skopje's central municipality that ordered the monuments. The papers said it is in possession of five deals that bind both sides to secrecy. [The mayor] also outlined plans for four five metre tall bronze lions that will be placed on the sides of the bridge Goce Delcev near the government building, that will cost nearly three million euros. He said that the municipality will pay 1.6 million euros for horse mounted statues of Nikola Karev, Goce Delcev and Dame Gruev, Macedonian revolutionaries from the beginning of the twentieth century. Two of these statues will be put in the main square as well, with the other will be placed in front of the parliament building. Statues of the late tenth and early eleventh century sovereign, Tzar Samoil and that of Metodija Andonov Cento, the first Macedonia president will also be erected."

A video animation of the planned outcome: here.

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