On the 60th anniversary of the devastating earthquake that shook Skopje the capital of North Macedonia on 26 July 1963, the EIB Institute and Europa Nostra published their technical report on the Central Post Office in Skopje, one of the 7 Most Endangered for 2021.
The iconic Skopje Central Post Office, designed by Macedonian architect Janko Konstantinov, is one of the finest buildings to have emerged from the rubble of the devastating earthquake in 1963.
Considered a master piece of modernism, its Lotus flower form symbolises hope and rebirth in the aftermath of an earthquake that left more than 200.000 people homeless.
In 2021, the building was listed among the #7MostEndangered heritage sites in Europe, highlighting the urgent need for its preservation after it suffered severe damages from a fire in 2013. The Board of Europa Nostra, on the basis of the opinion expressed by the advisory panel of the 7 Most Endangered Programme, stated: “The Central Post Office represents everything the 7 Most Endangered Programme is about: a heritage site of extraordinary significance that is a bold symbol of the rebirth of a city post-earthquake. This site needs to be reborn a second time.”
The EIBI/EN expert report provides a brief history of the site and summarises the overall condition of the building. More importantly, it offers specific recommendations and an action plan for its rehabilitation and conservation suggesting that “its restoration would not only enhance the key location within the city but also provide a venue for cultural and social events, benefiting the local community”.
Once local stakeholders and authorities agree the entity responsible for such rehabilitation process, they can access a catalytic EIB Heritage Grant. This grant is meant to serve as initial seed funding that sets in motion a local coordination process and helps recruit other partners (such as donors, private sector investors, etc..) to the process.
The tools are now in place for local actors to start pursuing the rehabilitation of the Skopje Central Post Office.
The Institute supports the EIB Group’s activities in the field of cultural heritage, facilitates the transfer of know-how and experience between different partners and countries to safeguard European cultural heritage and serves as a gateway between the world of cultural heritage and the EIB Group. Since 2013 we have partnered with Europa Nostra, the largest and most representative heritage network in Europe, collaborating closely with the EU, the Council of Europe, UNESCO and other international bodies, notably under the 7 Most Endangered Programme (7ME), an innovative cooperation mixing the cultural expertise and lobbying work of Europa Nostra with the technical appraisal and rescue planning skills of the EIB.