Guide to SKOPJE

Aki from Kamenjane, Opera Stars’ Favourite Host

MK GR

“On November 3rd Aki from Kamenjane will be sitting in the central lodge of Vienna States Opera, an honourable place reserved for Royalty, he will be in the spotlight with a number of opera stars singing specially for him.” This is what Wien Live magazine writes about the most famous Macedonian in Austria with the cover of the magazine featuring opera diva Anna Netrebko and “Anna loves Aki” headline.

Aki and Placido Domingo

The article focuses on the success story of Aki Nuredini, a hospitable owner of Sole restaurant. Aki was born 56 years ago in Kamenjane, a village near Tetovo, Macedonia as the seventh child in the family. This month he marked the 30th anniversary of his restaurant by organizing a gala concert “30 Years O Sole Nostro” featuring a number of world opera stars including Inva Mula, Carlos Alvarez, Roxana Constantinescu, Erwin Schrott, Stephen Costello, Ramon Vargas and Linda Watson.

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There was also a promotion of “do re mi fa SOLE” book about the history of the restaurant which is a favourite meeting place for opera singers performing at the Vienna States Opera. They have fallen in love with the restaurant’s food and have become Aki’s dear friends. Wien Live magazine features many photographs of Aki in the company of world renowned opera singers and his regular visitor Placido Domingo quoting his statement “The stomach goes where it likes to go.”

Aki Nuredini, from Tetovo to the heart of Vienna

When I visited Sole in 2012 it immediately became clear to me why everyone comes back to it. Nobody can remain indifferent to the cordiality and kindness that Aki emanates. Therefore, the Wien Live article is completely justified and far from exaggerating when they write that “Sole” restaurant is not only physically but also spiritually in the heart of Vienna, a city with centuries-old tradition in culture, art, science and diplomacy. Aki really deserves Vienna, as the city deserves to have Aki, a hardworking, generous man who has supported many cultural events.

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Sole restaurant is only a few steps from the famous Vienna State Opera, which connects Stephensplatz with Karntner Strase. Annagasse Strase, which has over four hundred years of history, was enriched with this restaurant 30 years ago. Sole is a place that interweaves politics, art and culture. Aki’s dedication and love managed to turn his restaurant into a meeting point for artists from around the world. The pleasant atmosphere, excellent food and friendly staff all make Sole a frequent destination for a number of world politicians including former US President Bill Clinton.

Aki and Bill Clinton

It is clear that nobody can resist the warm hospitality and delicious specialties they find here.

“It is an interesting phenomenon that my restaurant attracts people from different fields of art, culture, business and politics. Nearly all Austrian politicians have been our guests. Everybody coming from Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania have been my guests and my friends. Many people, especially artists, say that my restaurant is like their second home, or at least a second kitchen.” – says Nuredini. When asked about the secret of his success, how he managed to interweave politics, culture and art, Aki very calmly responds with “Work and only work.”

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“Work only. I love this job very much. I love people regardless of their nationality. Each visitor is treated as a special person. I have a friend who is an author and he once said: At Aki’s place the stars do not feel like stars, whereas those who are not very famous feel as if they were. Of course, there is the delicious food as well as the team that has brought us this far together.” – says Nuredini.

Aki’s longstanding commitment was honoured by the Austrian state with the Gold Medal of the City of Vienna which is considered the most prestigious award. He is an honorary citizen of Austria and winner of many awards, medals and decorations.

Others about Aki…

The guestbook in Sole restaurant is a collection of autographs from regular guests who do not hide their satisfaction and have but kind words about the restaurant and its owner. Here is what Heribert Kasper, the founder of Ferrari Austria and regular visitor says about Sole: “Ferrari is art on wheels and Sole is art on a plate.” The great Italian singer Renato Bruson wrote about Aki Nuredini: “I have never met a man like you anywhere in the world.” The great Albanian writer Ismail Kadare visits Sole whenever he goes to Vienna. He wrote: “I feel at home here.”

During my visit to Sole Aki confided in me: “Today I received two messages from two other friends, Dr. Claudia Schmidt, Austrian Minister for Education and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. He kindly offered me to read their words of appreciation and respect for our fellow citizen. I discovered later that Aki initiated a meeting between former US President Bill Clinton and influential figures in European politics in Vienna in April last year.

I left the Sole with sincere hope that I will come back again. Until then, Aki remains our true ambassador in this famous multicultural city. We are there. Our Aki is there.

Hazir Mehmeti, publicist from Vienna

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