Today, Skopje marks 56 years since the disastrous earthquake which leveled much of the city on this day in 1963, killing over 1.000 people and leaving 3.000 injured.
Delegations and individuals will lay flowers at the monument of the earthquake victims at Butel cemetery, while a traditional blood drive takes place in House of humanitarian activities “Dare Dzambaz.”
A musical event to commemorate the earthquake including City Mixed Choir ‘Vardar,’ the Big Band, pop star Kanita Summa, the famous Greek accordionist Thanos Stavridis, the Serbian singer Biljana Krstic and guitarist Vlatko Stefanovski will be held Friday evening in the Skopje City Park.
An exhibition of fresco copies from Skopje region is open in Museum of the City of Skopje.
More than 15.000 homes and apartments were destroyed in the quake, and 28.000 were damaged. The disaster left 200.000 people homeless, many of them forced to seek shelter across Macedonia and then Yugoslavia, the others waiting in improvised tent cities until prefab housing was made available.
Countries from around the world helped rebuild the devastated city, in a completely new architectural style and layout, with several large new urban zones added to the east, west and north. The United Nations coordinated the support effort and despite the Cold War, both Eastern and Western bloc countries helped with resources and personnel.
It is believed that the 1963 earthquake was at least the third time Skopje was destroyed in this fashion, with records of catastrophic quakes in 518 and 1555.