Guide to SKOPJE

Was there life before tourism?


The fisherman’s past lives on…

A white house with blue window covers. Vivid colors and strong contrasts. The colors of the sky and the sea, as well as the Greek flag. A recipe for a perfect photograph, the best way to say – I was in Greece. Still, they weren’t made there to appeal tourists, following a theme-park logic. Their role was different, and reveals the pre-touristic past of many summer resorts.


The scenery is similar all over the Mediterranean. Colorful houses with strong colors. Red and yellow in many places in Italy, blue and white almost all over Greece, white in Spain… And in all those places they’re great inspiration for taking photographs. Of course, such architecture is a tradition, but there are actual practical reasons behind it. Most seaside settlements that are now summer destinations, used to be plain fishing villages in the past. Some of them were like that until a few decades ago.


The strong colors of the houses were allowing the fishermen a better orientation during stormy weather. They were making the villages easier to spot, and direct the boats towards them. Therefore, the colors were above all a matter of life and death, rather than aesthetics.


Some of these settlements remained compact, so today they serve as a remainder of the past, and are therefore great atractions for visitors. But the traces of the fishermen’s past can be found in unexpected places as well. Places that have significantly transformed after the flux of tourists. The old fishing houses in Leptokaria, on the coast under the Olympus Mountain, are hidden between the bigger new tourist villas with apartments for rent. Some are completely abandoned. Others adopted to accomodate visitors in a more rustic environment. There are also ones turned into cafes and restaurants, or small businesses or office space, drawing the attention of clients with their extraordinary appearance. But a small part are still used by the fishermen. The past lives on, allowing visitors the opportunities to make their perfect Greek photo.

Goce Trpkovski