Passing the Stone Bridge on the River Vardar, you will find yourself into the old part of the city of Skopje.
There are numerous preserved written documents concerning the Old Skopje Bazaar, Skopje’s history, and its monuments.
Turkish traveler writer Evliya Çelebi, stayed in Skopje 1660/1661, and communicated to us his impressions of the city and the old bazaar.
Evliya mentions that the bazaar had 2150 stores and markets built of solid material; he mentions the bazaars: beschiska, kazazite, chadordzhiite, papudzhiite etc.. and compares the Skopje Bazaar with the Baghdad Bazaar.
Travel notes from other travelers who visited Skopje, encounter similar statements about the city in which trade was developed and there were many mosques, baths, and caravan palaces.
The bazaar was located in the central part of the city to which gravitated all roads. It constituted a center of crafts, trade, and traffic. To its composition, public facilities were built for the needs of the population: bezisten, mosques, inns, caravan palaces, baths, seminaries, etc..
A dominant place occupied the Bezisten built of solid material.
With the development of handicrafts and trade, which become an important economic branch of Skopje, the scope of the bazaar expanded and gradually regulated organized organism that lives and pulses, despite all the changes that are experienced in its development almost to the end of the nineteenth century.
Old Bazaar reached its peak at the time of Turkish rule, primarily because of poorly developed industries. It strived to meet the needs of the population, people’s taste and showed expansive adoption of marketplaces in other cities in Macedonia and abroad.
At the heart of the bazaar was the Bezisten (Covered Bazaar) built from a solid material that has served the needs of the guild.
With the development of the bazaar, erected a number of shops located next to each other at the same height on both sides of the streets. For easier communication with the main busy streets, smaller crossings were made, on whose sides were shifted trade and craft shops. They were also added to the monumental buildings: inns, bezisten, hammams. In Skopje Bazaar existed covered part called Kapali Bazaar.
Shops were made with simple, bandruch structures and weak material. Facades facing the street had large openings, which were closed with lids boards.
According to the nature and development of the work, rooms were added to the rear, or floors for the accommodation of workers or storage of goods.
At the end of the nineteenth century, with the emergence of industrial goods, the stratification of the guild, the emergence of new trades, and the death of the old, the changing lifestyles and needs of the people, resulted in a constant decline of the Old Skopje Bazaar.
Changing historical and economic conditions contributed to amending of the former separately allocated bazaars, mixing and infiltrating of other crafts and commercial stores and the needs changed their appearance and size.
During the 1963 earthquake, the old Skopje Bazaar was badly damaged, but later many of the shops were restored.
Today the Old Skopje Bazaar is an interesting and attractive location, where in one place you can see the modern city of Skopje, mixed with old traditions and trades which have lasted the test of time in the Bazaar. Most certainly, the Old Skopje Bazaar is not a place to miss, if you visit the capital of Macedonia.