Skopje observes 58 years since disastrous earthquake


Skopje marks Monday 58 years since the disastrous earthquake, which leveled much of the city on this day in 1963, killing over 1.000 people and leaving 3.000 injured.

The earthquake, which measured 6.1 on the moment magnitude scale, equivalent to 6.9 on the Richter scale, occurred on 26 July 1963 at 5:17 am local time. The tremor lasted for 20 seconds and was felt mostly along the Vardar River Valley. Smaller aftershocks were felt until 5:43 am.

More than 15.000 homes and apartments were destroyed in the quake, and 28.000 were damaged. The disaster left 200.000 people homeless, many of them forced to seek shelter across Macedonia and then Yugoslavia, the others waiting in improvised tent cities until prefab housing was made available.

Countries from around the world helped rebuild the devastated city, in a completely new architectural style and layout, with several large new urban zones added to the east, west and north. The United Nations coordinated the support effort and despite the Cold War, both Eastern and Western bloc countries helped with resources and personnel.

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