As one of the oldest and largest marketplaces in the Balkans, Old Bazaar has been Skopje's centre for trade and commerce since at least the 12th century.
The earliest known sources that describe the existence of a merchant quarter on the bazaar's territory date back to the 12th century. During Ottoman rule of Skopje, the Old Bazaar developed rapidly to become city's main centre of commerce. The Ottoman history of the bazaar is evidenced by roughly thirty mosques, numerous caravanserais and hans, among other buildings and monuments. The bazaar was heavily damaged by the earthquake in 1555, the burning of the city in 1689, the earthquake in 1963, as well as during the First and the Second World Wars and faced various rebuildings following these events.
Beside its importance as a market place, the Old Bazaar is known for its cultural and historical values. Although Ottoman architecture is predominant, remains of Byzantine architecture are evident as well, while recent reconstructions have led to the application of elements specific to modern architecture. The Old Bazaar is still home to several active mosques, türbes, two churches and a clocktower, that, together with the buildings of the Museum of the Republic of North Macedonia and the Museum of Modern Art, form the core of the modern bazaar.
In recent years there have been a raising interest to make the Bazaar a touristic attraction. On 13 October 2008, the Macedonian Parliament adopted a law recognising the Old Bazaar as cultural heritage of particular importance for the country to be permanently protected. In early 2010, the Macedonian Government began a project for the revitalisation of the Old Bazaar, which includes the restoration of several objects and aiming a further economic and cultural development of the site.References:
The Church of St Donatus name refers to Donatus of Zadar, who began construction on this church in the 9th century and ended it on the northeastern part of the Roman forum. It is the largest Pre-Romanesque building in Croatia.
The beginning of the building of the church was placed to the second half of the 8th century, and it is supposed to have been completed in the 9th century. The Zadar bishop and diplomat Donat (8th and 9th centuries) is credited with the building of the church. He led the representations of the Dalmatian cities to Constantinople and Charles the Great, which is why this church bears slight resemblance to Charlemagne"s court chapels, especially the one in Aachen, and also to the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. It belongs to the Pre-Romanesque architectural period.
The circular church, formerly domed, is 27 m high and is characterised by simplicity and technical primitivism.