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13 Oct 2010 / 13:47

Philip of Macedon Statute ‘Planned’ for Skopje Downtown

The latest addition to the ongoing “Skopje 2014” revamp of the Macedonian capital will be a giant EUR 5 million bronze statue of the ancient warrior king Phillip of Macedon, local media say.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic

The tall statue of the father of Alexander the Great is to be erected opposite Skopje’s central Macedonia Square, an unnamed source from Skopje’s central municipality told Tuesday’s edition of Vreme daily.

The municipality refused to publicly confirm the reports, however. Municipality spokesman Jovica Ackovski told Balkan Insight: "In that location the urban plan envisages a sculpture of a warrior that should represent the centuries-old struggle of the people to survive and prosper."

Macedonian opposition parties have criticised the government for its decision to build the new statue, and for its failure to publicly disclose the figure who will be depicted in the new monument.

The country's Bureau for Public Procurements recently published a EUR 5 million contract with an Italian company for the casting of “a statue of a warrior” which the city plants to erect at that location.

Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, whose government is financing the Skopje 2014 project, has not commented on the new statue.

Meanwhile construction works for the foundation of the statue of Alexander the Great are underway at the Macedonia Square, while the monument itself is to be erected next year. It will cost EUR 4,5 million, the municipality said.

This planned installation of this very large statue has raised eyebrows in neighbouring Greece, where Alexander the Great is considered to be a great Greek hero. The countries have a number of ongoing disputes over historical figures, and their current disagreement over the use of the name Macedonia has blocked Skopje's bids to join the EU and NATO.

The "Skopje 2014" project, which envisages the construction of numerous buildings and large monuments to historical figures, has also been slammed by various local NGOs and by the political opposition as being expensive and tasteless.

Some estimates say the project will cost the small country more than EUR 200 million.

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