History and development
The City Park was built in the distant 1905, at the order of the Skopje wali Hafiz Mehmed Pasha, during the Ottoman rule of Macedonia. The park extended on the area of 16.000 m2 and was arranged with strict geometric shapes with paths and floral surfaces. It was called ISLAANE after the Handicrafts school around which the park was built. It was the basis for the forming of today’s City Park.
The biggest change in the size and structure of the park was made in the 70’s of the 20th century, when a basic project for the City Park was made. The park’s first significant reconstruction was made in 2009.
Area and location
The City Park is located in the center of Skopje. According to the cadastral data of the PE Parks and Greenery which is in charge for the maintenance of the City Park, the Vardar bank with an area of 65.117 m2 and the park of the Francophonie with an area of 19.028 m2 also belong to the City Park. The total area of the entire City Park is 454.413 m2. According to the cadastral review of 2019, there are 6.012 deciduous trees, 1.800 evergreen trees, 6.050 deciduous shrubs and 2.630 evergreen shrubs in the park.
Building of the park
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Sanjak of Skopje belonged to the Vilayet of Kosovo. At that time, Hafiz Mehmed Pasha was the pasha of the vilayet. He was born in Baghdad and came to Skopje in 1820 when he was appointed the wali of Skopje. He has built the Idadia High school close to the today’s City Park as well as the Idadia-Mecktebi High school and has regulated the riverbeds of Vardar and Serava.
The City Park was built immediately after the construction of the Handicrafts school ISLAANE, close to its location. The park was designed by Hafiz Mehmed Pasha’s architects and was known under the name of Islahan Park. The terrain on which the park was built was flat and it was a flood area of the nearby river of Vardar.
The first planted material in the park consisted of aspen, plane tree, acacia, linden, sourwood, catalpa and ash tree. At the corners of the park saplings of pyramidal poplar were planted. Willows, small shrubs, grass, perennials, and flowers in pots could be found as well. The garden beds were planted with grass. The park that was created then is the oldest part of the today’s City Park. The planted pyramidal poplar drew the boundaries of the park around the Kermes restaurant. The park was a basis for its further expansion and arrangement. Besides the tall tree alleys there were roses whose presence has been noted later. The tree species that were planted in the beginning such as the poplars, ash trees, catalpas and acacia are present in the park today. The plane tree is the biggest among them.
Several saplings of black pine were planted after the construction of the Islaane School in 1903, which gave the park its special characteristics. A modern pool with water pump was constructed in order to water the park with water from the nearby Vardar River. The house of the park manager added additional beauty to the park. The house was designed in Swiss style and there was a greenhouse next to it. The greenhouse was 200 m2 large and served for production of flower seedlings for the park. There was a warehouse and a carpentry workshop in the manager’s house too. 2.500 samples of various plants in pots, decorative trees, tree of heaven, ash tree, catalpa, acacia, mulberry American maple, small shrubs and coniferous species were produced in the greenhouse. There were 14.000 seedlings in the nursery of the Idadia Park. 750 trees were planted in this park, on a total area of 2.200 m2. A hedge gave the park a specific look. The park was designed as a multi- level elevated green space.
A total of 25.707 plants were planted in the park between 1918 -1928. A guardhouse and 30 benches were installed in the park too. The park remained in its initial borders till 1923 when its reconstruction and expansion began. An Austrian park gardener was in charge for the reconstruction of the park. He designed it in strict geometrical style with a central fountain.
Thus, for a period of 10 years the Idadia Park that originated from the Turkish period expanded to the north and east and it was named the City Park. That new, extended park is actually the part of the today’s City Park named as the first part of the City Park. After his three-year’s stay in Skopje, the Austrian gardener left the city and was replaced by the engineer Protik, who established a city greenery administration whose head was himself till 1941. He was very active and performed a landscaping of both the first and the second part of the park. The construction of the second part of the park lasted till 1941. When it was finished, the second part of the park had a total area of 85 ha, while the entire park (first and second part) stretched to 93 ha.
After 1945, many activities were undertaken for communal landscaping of the city. That period is important because the park’s size increased to 114 ha. Most of the old park was reconstructed and restored, new plant species were introduced and perennial garden beds were made. Parts of the paths were paved, and several rest and recreation facilities were constructed. It is characteristic for the post war period that the entire park was under a single administration, as well as the entire urban and suburban greenery.
The basic main project for the City Park according to which the entire infrastructure, paths and lakes were built, is located in the premises of the PE Parks and Greenery. The baroque style fountain behind Kermes was also built in accordance with the project.
At the beginning of 2008, a competition for parterre and horticultural arrangement for a part of the City Park was announced. After the competition, the entire area around the Goce Delcev monument and the Lotus flower fountain was re-arranged and the pavement was reconstructed. The City Park began to get its new look on 29th April 2008, at the birthday of the Dutch queen, when a new children’s labyrinth which was a gift from the Embassy of the Netherlands, was opened in the park. There is also a children’s playground made of wooden and plastic elements close to the labyrinth. The existing water taps have been restored and new ones with pet water fountains have been added to the park.
In March 2012, a first pet park was opened in the second part of the City Park. It covers an area of 1.200 m2 and is equipped with fun equipment. The pet park was built in order to protect the rest of the park’s green area.
There are many rare and quality plantations in the City Park. The vegetation consists mainly of the species that belong to the region of Southern Europe and the Mediterranean. But there are also species from all over the world.
The ginkgo and the giant sequoia have existed in the park for decades. In the second part of the park there are Japanese citrus trees, Japanese maple and tulip trees.
The City Park covers a great area in the center of Skopje and has enormous significance for the city and its surroundings, as a recreational and rest place for the citizens.
According to its conception, the park is arranged in a free landscape style to meet the needs and requests of the modern style living. The water surfaces, canals, ponds, tree alleys and paths provide recreational, entertaining and cultural activity.
Извор: Магистерски труд – „Градскиот парк во Скопје од создавањето до денес и перспектива за неговото понатамошно пејзажно обликување“ – Дипл.шум.инг. Искра Апостоловска