Skopje

The 1963 earthquake

12 Jul 2017

In its long history, Skopje has been struck several times by devastating earthquakes, most recently at 05:17 on July 26, 1963 when a 6.1 moment magnitude event lasting about 20 seconds killed approximately 1,070 people, made a further 200,000 homeless and destroyed about 80 percent of the city’s buildings including large parts of its once grand train station which now serves as both the City Museum and a permanent memorial to the tragedy. In the immediate aftermath, a massive international relief effort was launched, and a UN competition for rebuilding Skopje was won by the Japanese architect Kenzō Tange (1913-2005), whose Utopian vision was never fully realised and that somewhat predictably left the city looking rather grey and unfinished and that deprived it of the cool mountain winds that once kept the city bearable during the summer and that now turns it into a raging furnace every July and August.

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