This cross is known as the Skopje Cross, the Vodno Cross, the Millennium Cross, and the Macedonian Cross.
The photo below shows it is an impressive structure; not the world's grandest, but we feel it should be classified as one of the Wonders of the World. Here's why.
This 66-metre high cross was built in 2002 on the summit of Mt. Vodno, just outside Skopje. It's not gorgeous, but it's big and has become a popular tourist attraction. Some brochures claim this is the biggest cross in the world, which we know is not the case. (See the Biggest Cross.)
Skopje is currently the capital the Republic of Macedonia. We say 'currently', not because there's any risk of it losing its municipal status as Macedonia's political, economic and academic centre, but because of its historical instability.
This ancient settlement was, by 3rd century BC, Dardanian and remained so until the Romans captured it to use as a military camp in the 1st century. In the late 4th century it became part of Constantinople's Byzantine Empire and subsequently the Bulgarian Empire. In the late 13th century it was part of the Serbian Empire, and about 100 years later conquered by the Ottoman Turks.
Although Christians could continue to worship, Islam was the state religion until the Balkan Wars when, in 1912, it was annexed once more by Serbia and soon after became part of Yugoslavia. Near the end of World War II Germany and the Bulgarian Army took control and in 1944 Skopje became the capital city of Democratic Macedonia, still part of Yugoslavia until 1991 when Macedonia became an independent republic.
Those two brief paragraphs cannot even scratch the surface of the history of Skopje, but are mentioned to add a little weight to the importance of the huge Skopje Cross overlooking the city.
This cross oozes with the message that whatever the nationality or ethnicity of the people, whether they are Orthodox Christians, Muslims (about 1/3 of the population), or others, Jesus Christ is looking over the city's inhabitants.
This cross is known by other names, including Vodno Cross and Macedonian Cross (see the other Macedonian Cross). The official name is Милениумски крст, English: Millennium Cross. This is not a typo; Macedonians are fully aware that the period since Jesus' birth is a bi-millenary (or thereabouts). So why choose the name Millennium?
Was it because the Archbishopric of Ohrid was established about one thousand years ago (1019)? Or was it because 'Millennium' was a trendy word when the cross was erected?
Perhaps it was simply to have us all ponder, to consider just how long one thousand years is.
Although the Biblical Millennium (Revelation 20:1-6) refers to John's vision of the 1,000-year reign of Christ, it is worth noting this was written long before we started using terms such as billion, kilo and mega.
In Biblical times counting up to the low tens was sufficient. A man might have had three sons, twelve goats, and lived three-score years and ten (he didn't even need a word for "70"). Sure, there were academic words for thousand and even million, but not words that were needed by everyday folk. A fisherman hoped for a 'boat-load' of fish and a shepherd hoped his flock would be 'big enough' to cover the mountain.
Given that our understanding of 'time' only exists in the world that we know, one thousand years of death might as well be referred to as infinity. And if we are not in Christ's favour before we die, as John Lennon said (or was it Albert Einstein?): "Infinity is a hell of a long time."
Yes, the cross makes us ponder.