37 monuments in 30 days, and what I learned along the way.
Wednesday 3 February 2016
The Millennium Cross is a monument in Macedonia. It rises from the peak of Vodno Mountain – overlooking Skopje, the nation’s capital.
Funded largely by the Macedonian Orthodox Church, construction of the monument began in 2002. The idea was that it would celebrate 2,000 years of Christianity, and at 66 metres in height I had locals telling me it was the largest cross anywhere in Europe. Maybe it is, I don’t know… but I couldn’t help but smile every time I heard that. Each of the Balkan countries claims to have the largest, tallest, or highest of something; it’s an accolade you tend to hear quite often in this part of the world.
There are buses and ski lifts going up to the top of the mountain, but I decided to walk instead. It was a pleasant day, and the views over Skopje made the three-hour walk entirely worthwhile. Three hours, that is, when allowing time to explore various abandoned buildings on the way up.
The cross itself was fitted with a lift in 2008, on Macedonia’s Independence Day. I didn’t go up to the top though, I was happy to wander about the base of the cross and take in the views: the city on one side, and rolling green valleys to the other.
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