From February 2010 until the VMRO-DPMNE’s loss of power in 2016, the project ‘Skopje 2014’ was a central point of debate and contestation inside North Macedonia but also in its relations with neighboring countries (especially Greece and Bulgaria). The project attempted to embellish the city through four processes: (a) by 'reconstructing' historical buildings that had been destroyed by the 1963 earthquake (such as the National Theatre and the Officers Club), (b) by dressing up socialist architecture of the 1960s and 1970s with classical facades (like the government building and the City Mall), (c) by adding completely new constructions in revivalist styles (such as the Archaeological Museum) and (d) by installing dozens of sculptures all over the city. In so doing, ‘Skopje 2014’ attempted the restoration of a European identity, which the government at the time argued that the city used to have in the pre-communist era. At the same time, by positioning Alexander the Great (and the ancient Macedonian world) in the center of this narrative, it implied that this European identity was not imported; it was already integral to the nation's history. This presentation explores the spatial and architectural transformation of the city, the intersections of architecture with national narratives, and practices of reproduction and reconstruction of heritage.
Kalliopi Amygdalou is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, working on copies, reconstructions and politics of identity in southeastern Europe. Between 2015-2017 Kalliopi worked as Lecturer at the School of Architecture of Izmir Institute of Technology in Turkey. She completed her doctoral studies at the Bartlett School of Architecture (University College London) in 2014 with a thesis on early-20th century Izmir and Thessaloniki. She also holds a M.Sc. in Culture and Society from London School of Economics (2010) and a Diploma in Architecture from the National Technical University of Athens (2009).