The unique combination of the terrible 1963 earthquake and Yugoslav social planning created an environment in Skopje for some extraordinary building projects from the mid-1960s onwards. Among the many mind-boggling examples of modern architecture in the city, arguably the most astonishing is the central post office. Built in three stages in 1974, 1982 and 1989, by far the most interesting are the first two, both the work of the Macedonian architect Janko Konstantinov. Born in Bitola in 1926, Konstantinov gained his credentials working on projects in Finland (where he worked with the legendary Finnish architect Alvar Aalto), Sweden and the USA. Immediately after the tragic events of 1963, Konstantinov returned to Skopje to help rebuild the city. In 1974 the first phase of the new post office building was complete, with the opening of the interesting but far from breathtaking block and tower, inspired by the towers of the fortress across the river and built using reinforced (or as they like to call it in Macedonia, raw) concrete. By far the most interesting of the three sections is the round, spaceship-like section dating from 1982. A purely abstract creation also made from reinforced concrete, it’s not known what inspired him to design such an inspirational piece of work, but thank God he did. This second section forms the main public part of the building, and is equally extraordinary inside. The walls have been covered in brightly coloured, typically communist and quite delightful murals designed by the Macedonian artist Borko Lazeski (1917-1993), who also painted similar murals for the central post office in Konstantinov’s hometown, Bitola. As mentioned elsewhere in this guide, taking photographs inside the building without permission is a guaranteed way of getting yourself shouted at by young and aggressive male security guards who know nothing of culture and even less about good manners. You have been warned. The final section, the bland 1989 work of Zoran Staklev, is a typically modern construction worthy of little attention.