Place:Skopje, Skopje, Macedonia


Alt namesJustiniana Primasource: Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites (1979) p 815
Scupisource: GRI Photo Archive, Authority File (1998) p 14799; Times Atlas of World History (1989) p 354
Shkupsource: Canby, Historic Places (1984) II, 869
Skopljesource: Encyclopædia Britannica (1988) X, 867
Üskübsource: Times Atlas of World History (1989) p 357
Üsküpsource: Webster's Geographical Dictionary (1988) p 1123
Coordinates42.0°N 21.433°E
Located inSkopje, Macedonia
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Skopje is the capital and largest city of North Macedonia. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic center.

The territory of Skopje has been inhabited since at least 4000 BC; remains of Neolithic settlements have been found within the old Kale Fortress that overlooks the modern city centre. Originally a Paeonian city, Scupi became the capital of Dardania in the second century BC. On the eve of the 1st century AD, the settlement was seized by the Romans and became a military camp. When the Roman Empire was divided into eastern and western halves in 395 AD, Scupi came under Byzantine rule from Constantinople. During much of the early medieval period, the town was contested between the Byzantines and the Bulgarian Empire, whose capital it was between 972 and 992.

From 1282, the town was part of the Serbian Empire and acted as its capital city from 1346 to 1371. In 1392, Skopje was conquered by the Ottoman Turks who called it Üsküb, with this name also being in use in English for a time. The town stayed under Ottoman control for over 500 years, serving as the capital of pashasanjak of Üsküp and later the Vilayet of Kosovo. At that time the city was famous for its oriental architecture. In 1912, it was annexed by the Kingdom of Serbia during the Balkan Wars. During the First World War the city was seized by the Bulgarian Kingdom, and after this war, it became part of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Kingdom of Yugoslavia) becoming the capital of the Vardarska banovina. In the Second World War the city was conquered by the Bulgarian Army, which was part of the Axis powers. In 1944, it became the capital city of Democratic Macedonia (later Socialist Republic of Macedonia), which was a federal state, part of Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (later Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). The city developed rapidly after World War II, but this trend was interrupted in 1963 when it was hit by a disastrous earthquake. In 1991, it became the capital city of an independent Macedonia.

Skopje is located on the upper course of the Vardar River, and is located on a major north-south Balkan route between Belgrade and Athens. It is a center for metal-processing, chemical, timber, textile, leather, and printing industries. Industrial development of the city has been accompanied by development of the trade, logistics, and banking sectors, as well as an emphasis on the fields of transportation, culture and sport. According to the last official count from 2002, Skopje had a population of 506,926 inhabitants; according to official estimates, the city had a population of 544,086 inhabitants, as of June 30, 2015, meaning slightly more than a quarter of all North Macedonia's population lives in the city and its immediate surrounding area.



the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia


The rocky promontory on which stands the Fortress was the first site settled by man in Skopje. The earliest vestiges of human occupation found on this site date from the Chalcolithic (4th millennium BC).

Although the Chalcolithic settlement must have been of some significance, it declined during the Bronze Age. Archeological research suggest that the settlement always belonged to a same culture, which progressively evolved thanks to contacts with Balkan and Danube cultures, and later with the Aegean. The locality eventually disappeared during the Iron Age when Scupi emerged. It was located on Zajčev Rid hill, some west of the fortress promontory. Located at the centre of the Balkan peninsula and on the road between Danube and Aegean Sea, it was a prosperous locality, although its history is not well known.[1]

The earliest people in Skopje Valley were probably the Triballi. Later the area was populated by the Paionians. Scupi was originally a Paionian settlement, but it became afterwards Dardanian town.[2] Dardanians, who lived in present-day Kosovo, invaded the region around Skopje during the 3rd century BC. Scupi, the ancient name for Skopje, became the capital of Dardania, which extended from Naissus to Bylazora in the second century BC. The Dardanians had remained independent after the Roman conquest of Macedon, and it seems most likely that Dardania lost independence in 28 BC.

Roman Scupi

Roman expansion east brought Scupi under Roman rule as a colony of legionnaires, mainly veterans of the Legio VII Claudia in the time of Domitian (81–96 AD). However, several legions from the Roman province of Macedonia of Crassus' army may already have been stationed in there around 29–28 BC, before the official imperial command was instituted. The first mention of the city was made at that period by Livy, who died in 17 AD.[2] Scupi first served as a military base to maintain peace in the region[1] and was officially named "Colonia Flavia Scupinorum", Flavia being the name of the emperor's dynasty. Shortly afterwards it became part of the province of Moesia during Augustus's rule. After the division of the province by Domitian in 86 AD, Scupi was elevated to colonial status, and became a seat of government within the new province of Moesia Superior. The district called Dardania (within Moesia Superior) was formed into a special province by Diocletian, with the capital at Naissus. In Roman times the eastern part of Dardania, from Scupi to Naissus, remained inhabited mostly by a local population, mainly from Thracian origin.

The city population was very diverse. Engravings on tombstones suggest that only a minority of the population came from Italy, while many veterans were from Dalmatia, South Gaul and Syria. Because of the ethnic diversity of the population, Latin maintained itself as the main language in the city at the expense of Greek, which was spoken in most of the Moesian and Macedonian cities. During the following centuries, Scupi experienced prosperity. The period from the end of the 3rd century to the end of the 4th century was particularly flourishing.[3] A first church was founded under the reign of Constantine the Great and Scupi became the seat of a diocese. In 395, following the division of the Roman Empire in two, Scupi became part of the Eastern Roman Empire.[2]

In its heyday, Scupi covered 40 hectares and was closed by a wide wall. It had many monuments, including four necropoles, a theatre, thermae,[3] and a large Christian basilica.

Middle Ages

In 518, Scupi was destroyed by a violent earthquake,[4] possibly the most devastating one Macedonia has ever experienced. At that time, the region was threatened by the Barbarian invasions, and the city inhabitants had already fled in forests and mountains before the disaster occurred. Scupi was eventually rebuilt by Justinian I. During his reign, many Byzantine towns were relocated on hills and other easily defendable places to face invasions. Scupi was thus transferred on another site: the promontory on which stands the fortress. However, Scupi was sacked by Slavs at the end of the 6th century and the city seems to have fallen under Slavic rule in 695. The Slavic tribe which settled in Scupi were probably the Berziti[2] who had invaded the entire Vardar valley. The city is not mentioned during the three following centuries[2] but along with the rest of Upper Vardar it became part of the expanding First Bulgarian Empire in the 830s.

Starting from the end of the 10th century Skopje experienced a period of wars and political troubles. It served as Bulgarian capital from 972 to 992, and Samuil ruled it from 976 until 1004 when its governor Roman surrendered it to Byzantine Emperor Basil the Bulgar Slayer in 1004 in exchange for the titles of patrician and strategos. Later, Skopje was briefly seized twice by Slavic insurgents who wanted to restore a Bulgarian state. At first in 1040 under Peter Delyan's command, and in 1072 under the orders of Georgi Voyteh. In 1081, Skopje was captured by Norman troops led by Robert Guiscard and the city remained in their hands until 1088. Skopje was subsequently conquered by the Serbian Grand Prince Vukan in 1093, and again by the Normans four years later. However, because of epidemics and food shortage, Normans quickly surrendered to the Byzantines.

During the 12th and 13th centuries, Bulgarians and Serbs took advantage of Byzantine decline to create large kingdoms stretching from Danube to the Aegean Sea. Kaloyan brought Skopje back into reestablished Bulgaria in 1203 until his nephew Strez declared autonomy along the Upper Vardar with Serbian help only five years later. In 1209 Strez switched allegiances and recognized Boril of Bulgaria with whom he led a successful joint campaign against Serbia's first internationally recognized king Stefan Nemanjić.[5] From 1214 to 1230 Skopje was a part of Byzantine successor state Epirus before recaptured by Ivan Asen II and held by Bulgaria until 1246 when the Upper Vardar valley was incorporated once more into a Byzantine state – the Empire of Nicaea. Byzantine conquest was briefly reversed in 1255 by the regents of the young Michael Asen I of Bulgaria. Meanwhile, in the parallel civil war for the Crown in Tarnovo Skopje bolyar and grandson to Stefan Nemanja Constantine Tikh gained the upper hand and ruled until Europe's only successful peasant revolt the Uprising of Ivaylo deposed him.

In 1282 Skopje was captured by Serbian king Stefan Milutin. Under the political stability of the Nemanjić rule, settlement has spread outside the walls of the fortress, towards Gazi Baba hill.[6] Churches, monasteries and markets were built and tradesmen from Venice and Dubrovnik opened shops. The town greatly benefited from its location near European, Middle Eastern, and African market. In the 14th century, Skopje became such an important city that king Stefan Dušan made it the capital of the Serbian Empire. In 1346, he was crowned "Emperor of the Serbs and Greeks" in Skopje.[2] After his death the Serbian Empire collapsed into several principalities which were unable to defend themselves against the Turks. Skopje was first inherited by the Lordship of Prilep and finally taken by Vuk Branković in the wake of the Battle of Maritsa (1371) before becoming part of the Ottoman Empire in 1392.[2]

Ottoman period

Skopje economic life greatly benefited from its position in the middle of Turkish Europe. Until the 17th century, Skopje experienced a long golden age. Around 1650, the number of inhabitants in Skopje was between 30,000 and 60,000 and the city contained more than 10,000 houses. It was then one of the only big cities on the territory of future Yugoslavia, together with Belgrade and Sarajevo. At that time, Dubrovnik, which was a busy harbour, had not even 7,000 inhabitants. Following the Ottoman conquest, the city population changed. Christians were forcibly converted to Islam or were replaced by Turks and Jews. At that time, Christians of Skopje were mostly non converted Slavs and Albanians, but also Ragusan and Armenian tradesmen. Ottoman Turks drastically changed the appearance of the city. They organised the Bazaar with its caravanserais, mosques and baths.

The city severely suffered from the Great Turkish War at the end of the 17th century and consequently experienced recession until the 19th century. In 1689, Austrians seized Skopje which was already weakened by a cholera epidemic. The same day, general Silvio Piccolomini set fire to the city to end the epidemic.[2] It is however possible that he wanted to avenge damages that Turks caused in Vienna in 1683. Skopje burned during two days. The Austrian presence in Macedonia motivated Slav uprisings. Nevertheless, Austrians left the country within the year and Hajduks, leaders of the uprisings, had to follow them in their retreat north of the Balkans.[2] Some were arrested by the Turks, such as Petar Karposh, who was impaled on Skopje Stone Bridge.

After the war, Skopje was in ruins. Most of the official buildings were restored or rebuilt, but the city experienced new plague and cholera epidemics and many inhabitants emigrated.[7] The Ottoman Turkish Empire as a whole entered in recession and political decline. Many rebellions and pillages occurred in Macedonia during the 18th century, either led by Turkish outlaws, Janissaries or Hajduks. An estimation conducted by French officers around 1836 revealed that at that time Skopje only had around 10,000 inhabitants. It was surpassed by two other towns of present-day North Macedonia: Bitola (40,000) and Štip (15–20,000).

Skopje began to recover from decades of decline after 1850. At that time, the city experienced a slow but steady demographic growth, mainly due to the rural exodus of Slav Macedonians. It was also fuelled by the exodus of Muslims from Serbia and Bulgaria, which were gaining autonomy and independence from the Empire at that time.[2][7] During the Tanzimat reforms, nationalism arose in the Empire and in 1870 a new Bulgarian Church was established and its separate diocese was created, based on ethnic identity, rather than religious principles. The Slavic population of the bishopric of Skopje voted in 1874 overwhelmingly, by 91% in favour of joining the Exarchate and became part of the Bulgarian Millet. Economic growth was permitted by the construction of the Skopje-Salonica railway in 1873.[2] The train station was built south of the Vardar and this contributed to the relocation of economic activities on this side of the river, which had never been urbanised before.[8] Because of the rural exodus, the share of Christians in the city population arose. Some of the newcomers became part of the local elite and helped to spread nationalist ideas[7] Skopje was one of the five main centres of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization when it organised the 1903 Ilinden uprising. Its revolutionary network in Skopje region was not well-developed and the lack of weapons was a serious problem. At the outbreak of the uprising the rebel forces derailed a military train. On 3 and 5 August respectively, they attacked a Turkish unit guarding the bridge on the Vardar river and gave a battle in the "St. Jovan" monastery. In the next few days the band was pursued by numerous Bashibozuks and moved to Bulgaria.

In 1877, Skopje was chosen as the capital city of the new Kosovo Vilayet, which encompassed present-day Kosovo, northwestern Macedonia and the Sanjak of Novi Pazar. In 1905, the city had 32,000 inhabitants, making it the largest of the vilayet, although closely followed by Prizren with its 30,000 inhabitants.[9] Of the Skopje Muslim population of the late Ottoman period German linguist Gustav Weigand noted that though most were Albanians regarded as Turks or Ottomans (Osmanli), they spoke Turkish in public and Albanian at home. At the beginning of the 20th century, local economy was focused on dyeing, weaving, tanning, ironworks and wine and flour processing.[9]

Following the Young Turk Revolution in 1908, the Ottoman Turkish Empire experienced democracy and several political parties were created.[2] However, some of the policies implemented by the Young Turks, such as a tax rise and the interdiction of ethnic-based political parties, discontented minorities. Albanians opposed the nationalist character of the movement and led local uprisings in 1910 and 1912. During the latter they managed to seize most of Kosovo and took Skopje on 11 August. On 18 August, the insurgents signed the Üsküb agreement which provided for the creation of an autonomous Albanian province[10] and they were amnestied the day later.

From the Balkan Wars to present day

Following an alliance contracted in 1912, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia declared war on the Ottoman Empire. Their goal was to definitely expel Turks from Europe. The First Balkan War started on 8 October 1912 and lasted six weeks. Serbians reached Skopje on 26 October. The Turkish forces had left the city the day before.[2] The Serbian annexation led to the exodus of many Turks: 725 Turkish families left the city on 27 January 1913. The same year, the city population was evaluated at 37,000 by the Serbian authorities.[7]

In 1915, during the First World War, Serbian Macedonia was invaded by Bulgaria, which captured Skopje on 22 October 1915. Serbia, allied to the Triple Entente, was helped by France, Britain, Greece, and Italy, which formed the Macedonian Front. Following a great Allied offensive in 1918, the Armée française d'Orient reached Skopje 29 September and took the city by surprise. After the end of the World War, Macedonia became part of the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which became "Kingdom of Yugoslavia" in 1929.[2] A mostly foreign ethnic Serb ruling class gained control, imposing a repression unknown under the previous Turkish rulers. The policies of de-Bulgarisation and assimilation were pursued. At that time part of the young locals, repressed by the Serbs, tried to find a separate way of ethnic Macedonian development. In 1931, in a move to formally decentralize the country, Skopje was named the capital of the Vardar Banovina of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Until the Second World War, Skopje experienced strong economic growth, and its population increased. The city had 41,066 inhabitants in 1921, 64,807 in 1931, and 80,000 in 1941.[7] Although located in an underdeveloped region, it attracted wealthy Serbs who opened businesses and contributed to the modernisation of the city. In 1941, Skopje had 45 factories, half of the industry in the whole of Macedonia.

In 1941, during the Second World War, Yugoslavia was invaded by Nazi Germany. Germans seized Skopje 8 April[2] and left it to their Bulgarian allies on 22 April 1941. To ensure bulgarisation of the society, authorities closed Serbian schools and churches and opened new schools and a higher education institute, the King Boris University. The 4,000 Jews of Skopje were all deported in 1943 to Treblinka where almost all of them died. Local Partisan detachments started a widespread guerrilla after the proclamation of the "Popular Republic of Macedonia" by the ASNOM on 2 August 1944.

Skopje was liberated on 13 November 1944 by Yugoslav Partisan units of the Macedonian National Liberation Army, together with units of the newly allied Bulgarian People's Army (Bulgaria having switched sides in the war in September).

After World War II, Skopje greatly benefited from Socialist Yugoslav policies which encouraged industry and the development of Macedonian cultural institutions. Consequently, Skopje became home to a national library, a national philharmonic orchestra, a university and the Macedonian Academy. However, its post-war development was altered by the 1963 earthquake which occurred 26 July. Although relatively weak in magnitude, it caused enormous damage in the city and can be compared to the 1960 Agadir earthquake. The disaster killed 1,070 people, injuring 3,300 others. 16,000 people were buried alive in ruins and 70% of the population lost their home. Many educational facilities, factories and historical buildings were destroyed.[8]

After the earthquake, reconstruction was quick. It had a deep psychological impact on the population because neighbourhoods were split and people were relocated to new houses and buildings they were not familiar with.[11] Reconstruction was finished by 1980, even if many elements were never built because funds were exhausted.[8] Skopje cityscape was drastically changed and the city became a true example of modernist architecture. Demographic growth was very important after 1963, and Skopje had 408,100 inhabitants in 1981. However, during the 1980s and the 1990s, the country experienced inflation and recession and the local economy heavily suffered. The situation became better during the 2000s thanks to new investments. Many landmarks were restored and the "Skopje 2014" project renewed the appearance of the city centre.

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