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European Journal

Macedonia: Monumental Battle

"Skopje 2014" is the name of an expensive government project that is increasingly dividing the country. From Alexander the Great to Mother Teresa, the city is covering itself with more and more statues.

When building began two years ago, "Skopje 2014" was meant to beautify the old town center. But it is now clear to everyone involved that it has much more to do with the issue of whose history is being immortalized in bronze and whose isn't. In a small country in which Macedonians, Turks, Albanians, Serbs and Roma live more alongside than with each other, each new statue leads to a heated dispute. The Albanians in partricular feel they're inadequately represented in the sea of monuments, and a statue of Stefan Dušan, the self-proclaimed medieval Emperor of the Serbs, has infuriated the mainly Muslim Albanian minority.