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Old Bazaar – watch, listen, smell, taste Mystery Cache

Hidden : 10/23/2012
4 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

Old Bazaar – watch, listen, smell, taste

Would you like to experience the spirit, sounds and smells of the Orient in Skopje? Would you like to taste unusual sweets? Then you must visit the Old Bazaar!

The pursuit after this cache will fulfill your eyes, ears, mind and your stomach as well.

The Old Bazaar (Macedonian: Stara Charshiya from the Turkish: Charshi, meaning marketplace) in Skopje is the largest bazaar in the Balkans outside Istanbul. Situated on the eastern bank of the Vardar River, the bazaar had been the city's centre for trade and commerce since at least the 12th century. It rapidly grew and reached its peak during Ottoman rule, evidenced by over 30 mosques, several caravanserais, and other Turkish buildings and monuments. Although Islamic architecture is predominant in the bazaar, there are several Christian orthodox churches as well.

An Old bazaar street

Archaeological evidence found at Kale Fortress suggests that Skopje Old Bazaar could have been inhabited as early as 4000 BC, while the earliest historical records suggest that it was first inhabited in the 6th century BC, perhaps by Paeonians. Byzantine Emperor Justinian I constructed Kale Fortress in the 6th century, on a hill located in what would eventually become the Old Bazaar. The area became a major trading centre in the 12th century.

In 1392, Macedonia was conquered by Ottoman Turks and Skopje named Uskup. It was under the Ottoman Empire that the Old Bazaar reached its peak of significance and became an important economic centre. The city soon became predominantly Muslim and the cityscape changed accordingly; countless mosques, caravanserais, hamams, and other Islamic buildings sprang up in the city. Many pre-existing churches were seized and converted to mosques. An earthquake in 1555 caused much destruction. The city, however, continued to grow.

United colors of Macedonia

If you want to find the cache, you have to visit few nice places in Old Bazaar and answer 10 questions to get the right numbers instead letters, of the cache coordinates. Follow the instructions bellow, ASK a lot, find the answers, and enjoy your walk thru Old Bazaar. The places are not far from each other, so you can finish your hunt in about two hours, or much longer, if you eat, drink, rest, smoke nargile, watch around - enjoy in Macedonian manner ?. Ask local people as much as possible, so you will execute the tasks faster (and make new friends, maybe? The local people are very friendly, do not worry.) For those shy geocachers (do exist such creatures?) there are posted several maps of the Old Bazaar on different places. If possible, be hungry! And good luck!

The mystery cache coordinates



Your hunt will start at "Macedonian National Theater”.

The "Macedonian National Theater” is located near the Stone Bridge, the most famous tourist and historical spot in Skopje, which connects the Macedonia square with the left side of the Vardar river. The best way to reach the start point for your hunt, the "Macedonian National Theater”, is by walk from the center of the city, crossing the bridge.

Did you find the theater? Yes? Then we can start!

A. Find the church “St. Dimitriya” (Macedonian: Sveti Dimitriya).

This church lies across the Old Stone Bridge and underneath the Kale fortress. It is a 18th century Orthodox church and its elegant white tower makes it one of the most distinctive and beautiful buildings in the city. It is certain that this church had existed on the present grounds from the 13th century. According to an old legend, some Ottoman pasha disrupted the church and converted it into his harem. This was Macedonian orthodox cathedral church before the construction of the present-day cathedral church of St. Kliment Ohridski.

Two days before this year Easter (April 2012) thousands of Orthodox Christian worshippers from across Macedonia were lining up to visit this church where a cleric, father Zoran, said that the murals, long obscured by the residue of candle smoke, began to appear clearer over the weekend, with red and gold colors becoming more noticeable, without any obvious explanation. Different authorities have still examine this “miracle” ever since … (One of the causes for such miracle, however, could be: the cleaning lady put a mop on a stick and wiped the frescos).

St. Dimitriya church

Question (for A): whether Galejnik (the owner of this cache) was baptized in this church at the age of four?


a. yes in this church (0)

b. no in this church (2)

c. Galejnik is not baptized in any church (3)

The correct answer will give you the first number (A) of the cache coordinates.

Help: As a gift from me, and to encourage the cachers at the start, I will reveal the correct answer: the answer a.

Note: in the time, when Galejnik (me) was a small innocent child, in this church a new “fashion” way of baptizing was performed. The water for baptizing was warmed by plugging a big caldron into electric. When I saw this, I thought that I would be cooked as a soup, therefore my baptizing was performed in an atmosphere of constant screaming…

B. Let’s go on. To find out what is the number “B”, you have to discover:

Question (for B): what is the shape of oriental sweets called Padobranets?


a. square (3)

b. triangle (7)

c. round (0)

Note: the easiest (and tastiest) way to find out, is to buy one in some of the oriental cake shops; but, establish its shape BEFORE you eat it!!

Now, it’s time to find out what caravanserais are.

C. Kapan Han (Macedonian: Kapan An)
Kapan Han

A caravanserai, or khan, or fondouk, also Han (in Turkish), also known as caravansary, caravansera, or caravansara (in English) or Sarai in Indian subcontinent, was a roadside inn where travelers could rest and recover from the day's journey. Caravanserais supported the flow of commerce, information, and people across the network of trade routes covering Asia, North Africa, and southeastern Europe, especially along the Silk Road.

Kapan Han, one of the three remaining caravanserais in the Old Bazaar, was built in the 15th century. The name of the han is derived from the Arabic word kabban which was a device used for measuring the weight of sold goods at the entrance of the han. The Kapan Han has a surface area of 1,086 m?. The building has two entrances, a ground level and second level. There were 44 rooms for guests and traders with their caravans. There was space for horses on the east side of the han.

Part of Kapan An is now restored in restaurants. Here you can refresh with coffee or tea, aia even smoke a nargile. Nargile (a hookah, also known as a waterpipe) is a single or multi-stemmed instrument for smoking flavored tobacco called Mu‘assel in which the smoke is passed through a water basin (often glass based) before inhalation.

Question (for C): within Kapan Han grow few trees and bushes. Only one tree is big, two-stemmed, broadleaved. This tree is:


a. oak (6)

b. lime (linden) (0)

c. birch (2)

D. Murat Pasha Mosque (Macedonian: Murat pashina dzhamiya)

Murat pasha mosque is situated at the very heart of the Old Bazaar and stands opposite the overwhelming Chifte hamam and a number of new shops surrounding it. Inside the courtyard of the Murat pasha mosque is a well preserved hexagonal water fountain (used by believers for washing). However, it is the remains of the old mosque cemetery that attract the greatest curiosity among visitors. In fact, these are three graveyard inscriptions that date back from 1741 and 1790, while it is not clear what the date of the third one is. The Murat pasha mosque has a fairly simple architectural style and elements typical for a Baroque style.

Murat Pasha Mosque

Question (for D): Inside the courtyard of the Murat pasha mosque is a well preserved hexagonal water fountain, where believers wash before praying. This fountain was donated by Besim Redzhep, a clockmaker from the city of Tetovo. The note about his donation is above one of the arcs, in Cyrillic and Arabic letters. However, the year of the donation is clearly seen, it is:


a. 1927 (8)

b. 1937 (0)

c. 1947 (2)

E. In the vicinity of Murat pasha mosque lies an astonishing Chifte Hamam (Macedonian: Chifte Amam)

The Chifte Hamam (Turkish for 'double bath'), located in the centre of the old bazaar, was built in the 15th century under Isa Bey. It was constructed in 1531 by Isa-Bey. The building is divided into two wings (hence the name 'double'; the word - Chifte in Turkish means separate, double), one for men and one for women. The layout of both sections are nearly identical. The Hamam was designed in the same style as all the other Islamic buildings of that time, made of bricks, stone and mortar. The inner architectural design is breathtaking, you must see it! Two domes set on the opposite sides of the object dominate the outline of the building, while the smaller domes top the numerous rooms.

After the renewal this building was used as a bath untill 1917. In the 1963 it was ruined by the earthquake. The Chifte Hamam was used as a bathhouse until 1915.

Chifte Hamam

Question (for E): After suffering damages during the 1963 earthquake, the Chifte Hamam was repaired and now it is:


a. Police station (0)

b. Veterinary ambulance (5)

c. Contemporary Art Gallery (1)

Wow! Half of the task is completed, let’s get the other five numbers!

F. Suli Han (Macedonian: Suli An)

Suli Han is on other caravanserai in Old bazaar. The Suli Han was built under Ishak Bey in the 15th century. It has two floors with the upper having 54 rooms for the guests and the lower for the guests' cattle. It was fully repaired after sustaining heavy damaged during the 1963 earthquake. The han today houses the Skopje Academy of Art and the Old Bazaar Museum.

Question (for F): The entrance to Suli Han is closed with ornamental metal gate. The gate is made from even (same, identical) elements which have:


a. O-shape (9)

b. S-shape (2)

c. A-shape (7)

You continue along the Bitpazarska street (the Suli Han, Chifte Hamam stay behind you, on your left). After some 50 meters you turn left, on Evliya Chelebiya street. Near the end of this street, on you left, there is a workshop Hemboj, where textile is dyed on a very old fashion way in big built-in cauldrons. If you ask, the owner will show you the room where the dyeing process is taking place.

At the end of Evija Chelebija street turn left, on Beogradska street, so called Golden street (macedonian: Zlatna ulichka). Continue along this street, to the gold shop Jonuz and boutique Gili, on your right. Between these two object lies the shortest and narrowest (and nameless) street in Old bazaar…

Evliya Chelebiya street

G. Bezisten (Macedonian: Bezisten)

Bezisten, a covered closed market place, was built in the 15th century by Gazi Ishak Bey, the Sultan's Skopje regent. It was destroyed by a fire in 1689 and was later rebuilt. The Bezisten has looked the same since its renovation in 1899.

The word “bezisten” is a composition of the Persian word “bezz” that means textile and the Arab word “stan” that means “selling point”. The name itself is the best explanation of the purpose of Skopje’s bezisten, which was dedicated exclusively to the selling of textiles. This massive and overwhelming object of oriental type is surrounded by shops on all sides. As time went by, its original function was extended to other businesses and crafts that could be found inside this object today.

Question (a difficult one! for G): The streets inside Bezisten area (within the walls and 4 gates that fence it) have symetrical pattern (ground plan). Look at the schemes and choose the correct one (the streets are grey, the buildings are white):


a. scheme (1)

b. scheme (5)

c. scheme (4)

H. Since you are trying to absorb as much of the ancient oriental Skopje as possible, let’s learn few words with Turkish origin, but widely use in Macedonian language.

Question (for H): Find out, what is the turkish-macedonian word for “jeweler, gold-craftman”:


a. kuyundzhiya (9)

b. jorgandzhiya (4)

c. sarach (2)

I. Church of the Holy Salvation (macedonian: crkva Sveti Spas)

Constructed in the 16th century on the foundations of an older church, half of the church was built underground as it was illegal under Ottoman rule for Christian buildings to be taller than Islamic buildings so mosques could dominate the city skyline. The church got its present appearance in the 19th century.

Today’s church, built in the beginning of the 19th century, was based on old foundations dating from the 14th century. You will be amazed by the beauty of the 10m-long iconostases, made by master carver Peter Filipovski-Garka, his brother Marko Filipovski, and Makarie Frchkovski, who worked on the iconostasis from 1817 to 1824.

The grave of the greatest revolutionary Goce Delchev is located in the churchyard and is placed on three small stone pillars symbolizing the three parts of divided Macedonia.

Question (for I): The iconostasis in this church is carved in:


a. marble (1)

b. wood (6)

c. stone (3)

And, finally: J. Mustafa Pasha Mosque (macedonian: Mustafa Pashina Dzhamiya)

The Mustafa Pasa Mosque, built in 1492 by Mustafa Pasa on an older Christian site,[17] stands above the Old Bazaar, near Kale Fortress. Considered one of the most elegant Islamic buildings in Macedonia, the complex includes the mosque, the tomb of Mustapha Pasa, the sarcophagus of one of his daughters, a fountain, and remnants of other buildings.

The mosque is square in shape and its largest dome is 16 metres (52.5 feet) in diameter. The porch is positioned on four marble pillars, decorated with stalactite, and covered by three small domes. The interior is decorated and includes calligraphic inscriptions. The minaret of Mustafa Pasa Mosque, rising 42 metres (137.8 feet) is made of limestone.

Mustafa Pasa is buried in the hexagonal marble turbe covered by a dome above a short eight-sided tambour. Umi, one of his four daughters, is buried in the decorated sarcophagus which includes Persian inscriptions on two of the four walls. The mosque courtyard is filled with roses and, due to its elevated location, offers a distinct view of the Old Bazaar.

Mustafa Pasha Mosque

Question (for J): There is a beautiful marble fountain for washing the believers in the front of the mosque, containing certain number of water taps. How many:


a. 8 (8)

b. 10 (3)

c. 12 (0)

Now, you are ready to complete the cache coordinates, find it and log! Congratulations!

After finishing your hunt you might be very hungry. It’s the right time to go back to Bazaar and eat kebab,, oriental meat speciality (at “Destan”, for example), or gravche tavche,, typical Macedonian meal from backed beans (in “Snoshti minav”, or at “Serdarot”), or Turkish speciality lahmajun, (at “Gallery 7” at the 191 street, near Chifte Hamam and Suli Han, right). If you prefer sweets – have tulumba, baklava, or not so common but absolutely delicious yummy oriental sweets kazan dibe, trileche, ashure, (sweet shop “Ohrid”, near Kapan Han). Drink? Try boza, a popular fermented oriental beverage. It is a malt drink, made from fermented maize (corn), wheat, millet etc. It has a thick consistency and a low alcohol content (usually around 1%), and has a slightly acidic sweet flavor.

Sounds? Mix of modern, ethno, Turkish, folk, turbo folk, you just choose (or run fast away!) Every day, at 1 p.m. you’ll hear muezzin calling the Muslim believers for a pray.

If you want to see more and more and more, visit Sultan Murad Mosque, Clock tower, Yahya Pasha Mosque, Isa Bey Mosque, Kurshumli Han, Ishak Bey Mosque, Kale Fortress, ... and become a tourist guide through Old Skopje Bazaar!

Sources: Wikipedia, other internet sources. Photos: Internet and original (by Galejnik)

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Cynfgvp pbagnvare, haqre n fznyy gerr bs Nvynaguhf nygvffvzn.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)