Skopje plans for Alexander statue "laughable"

ATHENS -- Greece has derided the plans of the Skopje local authorities to erect a monument to Alexander the Great in the Macedonian capital’s central square.

“According to our information, both the size and value of that statue are inversely proportionate to the project's seriousness and historical truth,” said a spokesman for the Greek Foreign Ministry.

The project is expected to cost the Skopje local authorities EUR 4.5mn. The 22-meter high statue would feature Alexander sitting astride his horse Bucephalus.

The monument would be almost four times the size of a similar statue in the center of Thessaloniki, the capital of Greece’s northern region of Macedonia, erected in 1974.

Athens announced at the end of January that it had reached an agreement with Iraq to erect a statue to Alexander near the city of Mosul, on the site of his decisive victory over the Persian Empire in 331 B.C.

Greece and Macedonia have been tussling over Alexander the Great’s heritage for years.

Athens believes that his name and that of Macedonia belong exclusively to Greek cultural heritage, and have blocked recognition of the former Yugoslav republic since 1991.

Macedonia became a UN member in 1993, under the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.