Skopje - capital of Macedonia and the largest city in the country.
According to the 2002 census in Skopje lived 467.257 people.
Skopje city is located in the “Skopje basin” on the two sides of Vardar River, on elevation between 220 and 400 meters.
The city is situated on 7.820 ha of area and has very good traffic and strategic position.
Skopje is gravitational center of Macedonia and towards Skopje lead all major highways: Skopje-Kumanovo, Skopje –Veles and Skopje – Tetovo – Gostivar.
The Macedonia capital Skopje is also center of the train traffic in Macedonia and nearby in the Petrovec area, the modern Alexander the Great Airport is located, 23 km (14 miles) from the city center.
Skopje has moderate continental climate, with average year temperature of 12 C (53.6 F) and average rain quantity of 502 mm.
History of Skopje
Skopje is old city and the area on which it lies was inhabited as early as 4000 BC.
In the antique period Skopje, than called Skupi was capital of Dardania. Under the name of Skupi it is mentioned by Ptolemy in II century AD. In that period the city (Skupi) lied on the area “Zajcev Rid” located today between the suburbs Bardovci and Zlokukani.
In Roman time the city had important strategic position and within was stationed the Seventh Roman Legion.
In 518 AD Skupi was ruined by earthquake.
The population didn’t renew the old habitat, but on the area between today’s Skopje Kale (Skopje Fortress) and Gazi Baba, on the both sides of the river Serava, have build a new city.
The new habitat grew rapidly especially during the rule of the Byzantine Emperor - Justinian the Great, when Skupi became well arranged city in which lived several thousand people.
At the end of VII century (695) Skupi was captured by the Slavs, which named the city – Skopje.
During the time of Tzar Samoil (976 - 1018) Skopje is mentioned as episcope center.
At the end of XIII century (1282) Skopje becomes part of the medieval Serb state.
Tzar Dusan proclaims Skopje for its capital and here the famous “Dusanov Zakonik (Constitution)” was brought.
From 1392 / 1935 until 1912 Skopje was part of the Ottoman empire.
In this period the city gets many ottoman-oriental marks.
Commercially Skopje developed very fast, especially between XVI and XVII century, when it become one of the most developed cities in European Turkey (Ottoman empire).
The city become important trade and commerce center. For accommodation of the tradesman were build several caravan palaces and An’s (rest-houses), among which Kusrumli-An, Suli-An, Kapan-An…
The ottoman traveler-writer Evliya Celebi (1611 – 1682), compared the Skopje bazaar with the bazaar in Constantinople (today Istanbul, Turkey).
Skopje than had ~ 12.000 houses with population ~ 60.000. It also had 2.150 shops, one covered bazaar, 70 public baths (amam), 120 mosques and many guest hoses and palaces. The trade caravans kept constant connection with the cities Solun (Thessaloniki), Belgrade and Dubrovnik.
In 1689 during the Austrian – Turkish war, the city was burned by the Austrian General Enea Silvio Piccolomini and it was totally ruined.
The population had abandoned the city, from which one part went as far as Constantinople, establishing there the Uskub neiberhood.
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