Sites & cities that bear the name of Skopje


Today in : North Macedonia
First trace of activity : 518 C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Scupi, Skopie, Скопие, Üsküb, اسكوب‎, Uskub, Uskup, Скопјe, Shkup, Scopia, Skopia, Skoplje

Description : Skopje is the capital and largest city of North Macedonia. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic centre. 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. 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 Kingdom of Bulgaria, and, after the war, it became part of the newly formed Kingdom of Yugoslavia as the capital of Vardarska Banovina. In the Second World War the city was again captured by Bulgaria and in 1944 became the capital of SR Macedonia, a federated state within the Yugoslavia. The city developed rapidly, but this trend was interrupted in 1963 when it was hit by a disastrous earthquake. In 518, Scupi was destroyed by a violent earthquake, possibly the most devastating the town 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. The city was eventually rebuilt by Justinian I. During his reign, many Byzantine towns were relocated on hills and other easily defendable places to face invasions. It 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 595. The Slavic tribe which sacked Scupi were probably the Berziti, who had invaded the entire Vardar valley. However the Slavs did not settle permanently in the region that had been already plundered and depopulated, but continued south to the Mediterranean coast. After the Slavic invasion it was deserted for some time and is not mentioned during the following centuries. Perhaps in the late 7th or the early 8th century the Byzantines have again settled at this strategic location. Along with the rest of Upper Vardar valley 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. It became a centre of a new Byzantine province called Bulgaria. Later Skopje was briefly seized twice by Slavic insurgents who wanted to restore the 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. 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. 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. 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.

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