The soul of the young Macedonian nation

The soul of the young Macedonian nation
By Euronews

<p>The soul of any country is its culture and heritage, and for Macedonians they are of vital importance. </p> <p>In the last of our special three-part series we discover how this nation’s cultural life is very much alive and well since gaining independence in 1991.</p> <p>Macedonian opera singer Boris Trajanov has performed in the world’s top music venues. He is one of the big names in the country’s cultural landscape. </p> <p>His interpretation of Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca is praised by some critics as one of the best of modern times. </p> <p>Boris Trajanov said: “Macedonia is, nowadays, a very young country but with a great past, because Macedonia has existed for more than 2,500 years.</p> <p>“We feel there’s only one honourable obligation, with our culture, with our music, with our performing: to be an ambassador of our country.”</p> <p>The Macedonian Opera and Ballet’s new centre has become one of the top venues in Skopje, with a wide range of performances attracting big crowds. </p> <p>The country’s rich tradition of music and song remains popular among the new and older generations. </p> <p>Popular actor Dejan Lilic showed us back stage ahead of the opening night of a new play at the theatre he manages. </p> <p>Dejan Lilic, who is well-known for playing Hamlet, said: “I’m happy that the culture is coming back. </p> <p>“Maybe we forget the culture and how to live with it during these 20 or 30 years, because we have a lot of problems and issues. But now when we stop and take a breath the culture is coming back, in the theatre, in the concerts, in the literature.”</p> <p>There is no surprise that we found a full house on the opening night of Demons by Dostoevsky. </p> <p>Macedonians are hoping that their culture and heritage, old and new, will help make the nation more visible on the world stage. </p> <p>Other cultural projects are aimed at young people. </p> <p>One man is attempting to boost the reading and appreciation of poems in schools. </p> <p>The reading of love poems by renowned Macedonian poet Blaze Koneski captivates the audience in an inner-city literary café.</p> <p>Poetry performer Ljupcho Todorovski-Upa said: “There are a lot of people who like poetry but, you know, the poetry and the reading is individual and it is not [something collective]. They [poetry readers] are afraid they are alone. </p> <p>“I want to [make them feel] brave, that they are not alone. They belong to one big family.”</p> <p>Other outstanding examples of Macedonian culture and heritage can be found in the <span class="caps">UNESCO</span> world heritage site of Ohrid. </p> <p>Among its claims to fame, some scholars say the southern town was one of the places where the Cyrillic alphabet was created.</p> <p>When it comes to feeding the soul of a young nation undergoing major change, it is clear that Ohrid and its lake provide ample inspiration. </p> <p>There is no doubt there are big challenges ahead for Macedonians and getting the right balance in all aspects of their lives is going to be crucial.</p>