Monday, March 16, 2009

Kale Fortress

The entrance to the fortress.

A view of a nearby Mosque through a "keyhole" in the stone wall.

Well, after nearly a year of living in Skopje, I finally paid a visit to one of the most "touristy" sites in town...Kale Fortress, known to locals as simply Kale (pronounced Kah-lay). I can't believe it took us so long to go there, and I am glad we finally did. It offers fantastic views of Skopje as well as some insight into the historical aspects of the structure. You can learn more about the history of the "castle" by searching wikipedia or your favorite search engine.

Kale seems to be very popular with not only tourists, but also with the many local families who were picnicking in the grassy areas surrounding the castle remains. Hani told me today she actually celebrated her wedding there many years ago. Inside the walls, there was a dog show going on and we were pleased to see so many adorable dogs happily enjoying the sunshine. The dogs were Sharplanina(Sharplaninec) breed and they were so sweet. Sharplaninas are indigenous to the Balkans, specifically the Macedonian mountain ranges, though it is thought they may have originally hailed from Asia. They are a hardy breed, very large and very loyal to their owners, and rumored to be fantastic with children. It was the first time I actually saw one, and now I want one! Owners proudly escorted their dogs around the Kale grounds, carrying the trophies they've earned. They were everywhere and surprisingly they all got along fabulously!

We wandered around the grounds for a while admiring the exquisite stone work and the amazing condition of the ancient structures. It was a lovely sunny afternoon, so the view was clear and gorgeous. We took lots of photos and I hope you enjoy them! I wish I had taken some photos of the dogs, but alas I didn't so here is a link to a site featuring Sharplaninas... or google sharplaninec for tons of great images.

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