The story of Kenan


    I’ve got a story for you today that’s full of charm and tradition. It’s about a big, fat man who was the master shoemaker of Skopje. Let me take you on a trip down memory lane! Do you remember Kenan, the legendary master shoemaker? I’m sure every elder in town has a story to tell about him!

    I, for one, remember Kenan’s shop like it was yesterday, right beside the vibrant flower market. It was the go-to spot for shoe repairs and even for repainting them. But unfortunately, they had to move him out of there. Do you also recall the pink pillar next to Kenan’s shop, covered with posters for the shows in the ‘Kultura’ cinema? It may not have had any architectural or historical significance, but it was an iconic landmark of the town center, just like Kenan himself.

    I strongly believe that Kenan’s shop should have stayed in the town square to preserve our traditions. Every building and landmark holds a part of our memories, and we shouldn’t take them for granted. These “urban” artifacts are what makes our city unique and special.

    My mother remembers him well; he was the only one who could repair shoes and make them look like new, with his special varnish technique. According to a middle-aged neighbor of mine, Kenan’s varnish technique consisted of a special paint that he used to coat the old shoes first, so that the scars from previous use wouldn’t show. Then he would apply paint to make them look like new.

    Kenan’s shop on Skopje square was a landmark that the older generations of our town will never forget. When people agreed to meet up without a specific location, they would say, “We’ll meet at Kenan,” because everyone knew where it was. The promenades from the former corso would even stretch from Kenan, past the old Gotse Delchev school, Hotel Macedonia, and up to where the Writers’ Club is located today. Nowadays, Maxim Gorky Street is where the only Japanese cherry trees can be found, but back then, Kenan was the image of Skopje itself!

    It’s such a shame they had to dislocate his shop. They should have recognized the value of Kenan’s craft and helped to preserve it for tourists. Kenan was more than just a shoemaker; he represented a piece of Skopje’s history and charm. Let’s not forget our roots and work together to preserve our heritage. Do you have any special memories of Kenan or other Skopje landmarks? What’s your fondest memory of Kenan and his shop? Share them with me in the comments!

    Written by
    Vasilka Dimitrovska
    Storytelling Skopje

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