Stobi (Стоби, Στο’βοι,) is an urban settlement from ancient times located on the place where Black River (Црна Река, Erigon) enters into the Vardar River (Вардар, Axios).
The site was crossed by important routes in the Balkans (Thessalonica, Sirmium, Heraclea Linkestis, Stobi, Pautalija, Serdica).
National Institution for Management of the Archaeological Site of Stobi – NI Stobi
Address: Archaeological site Stobi, 1420 Gradsko, Macedonia
Tel: +389 43 251 026
Fax: +389 43 251 050
Stoby was mapped to the famous Tabula Peutingeriana so that European explorers in the mid XIX century easily found its position. Archaeological excavations have been launched since the First World War and with occasional interruptions they are carried until today.
Although Stobi in the science is primarily known as antique and early Byzantine city, the archaeological findings provide evidence of continued life in that place since prehistoric eras.
From the deepest layers derived fragments of pottery with typological and stylistic features of the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age (XIII – IX century BC).
On many places are found samples of pottery and bronze jewelry developed in Iron Age (VIII – VI century BC), and certain graves dating from Classical Antiquity, and the centuries that immediately followed.
The oldest literary data for Stobi gave the Roman historian Titus Livius, noting the military victory of the Macedonian king Philip V over the Dardanian conquerors “near Stobi” in 197 BC. According to Livius, Stobi was “old city” and todays archeology confirms it.
Immediately after the occupation of Macedonia by the Romans in 168 BC, Stobi became the center for salt farmers from north regions. Then, the city has been extended only to the highest part of the site, a small area of 3.5 to 4 acres.
Statue of Emperor Hadrian, marble, early II century
Statue of Herkulanka, marble, beginning of II century
During the August Octavian Stobi suddenly expanded to 20 acres, received new fortification framework and status of Oppidum civium Romanorum, and the 69th year already had a municipal administrative rank, which is marked by the copper money – Stobi Mint, which worked until early III century.
During the early and middle Roman Empire, Stobi experienced high economic growth. Then occurred the most representative buildings: the City Gate, the house called “Casa Romana” monumental theater, forum and more.
The community of Jews which were settled in Stobi have built a synagogue. General prosperity and well-being were violently suppressed by the military conquest and devastation of Heruls and Goths in 267/269 year. Then the city is slowly restored, winning the Late Antique period varied pattern of urban East – Mediterranean-type, with irregular neighborhoods and big houses with indoor Peristile courtyard, decorated with lavish fountains and mosaic floors. Houses Collector Partenij, the Jewish rabbi and Poliharm Peristeria objects called “crates”, “Episcopal residence” and “Northern Palace” along with public bathroom in the city center, with street “Via Sacra” and renewed fortification are representative of the time.
Stobi city became influential in the early Christian period as the Episcopal Church Center which had an important role in establishing the new state religion. For the first church council in Nicaea in 325 attended the Stobi bishop Budios (Будиос) and other church and lists of articles found in the city, famous names of six Stobi bishops.
Until now are discovered four early Christian churches in the city and three outside its walls. Most have a baptistery. Among them is the biggest and most luxurious Basilica of Bishop Philip of the first half of the V century, built on an older church with two chronological phases.
It is known that the Emperor Theodosius I, stayed in 388 in Stobi and had issued two edicts for strict regulation of religious matters, but saw a learned philosopher and citizen of Stobi – John, who in the early V century still adhered to the old spiritual tradition.
During the V and VI century Stobi was repeatedly subjected to destruction.
In the year 447 Stobi was captured and consumed by the Huns and in 479 AD was robbed by the military east Goth King Theodoric the Great.
In early VI century, Stobi was destroyed by an earthquake and since then continued to exist without the former city landmarks.
On the site are found many depots with hidden money from the eighth and ninth decade of the last century VI, with tangible traces of life in Stobi, which definitely diminished coincides with the entrance of the Avars and Slavs in the Balkans.