Unexplored North Macedonia: Skopje’s Abandoned Train Station

At 05:17 on the morning of 26th July 1963, a disastrous earthquake struck Skopje. The clock on the facade of the city’s train station has stood still ever since. The 6.1 magnitude quake killed over a thousand people, injured 4000, and left 200,000 homeless.

Prior to the earthquake the Yugoslav government had invested significantly in Skopje, with new factories and infrastructure. Tito, the communist dictator of Yugoslavia had used the city as a model to exhibit the prosperity that his regime could provide.

Much of this was no longer standing, with 80% of the city destroyed- however in the high tensions of the time, both capitalism and communism united in relief efforts.

This natural disaster occured at the height of the cold war, and modern-day North Macedonia was still part of Yugoslavia. Humanitarian efforts brought about the cooperation of east and west. Soviet and US, British and European soldiers worked alongside eachother in the rescue and rebuilding of the city.

The train station itself was one of the most modern in the Balkans at the time, but two thirds of it collapsed in the tremors. Over 60 people died in the waiting room. Today what remains of the station is left in ruin, as a reminder of the tragedy and a memorial to those who lost their lives.

Last Updated on 29 October 2022 by Michael

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