Skopje is the capital of Northern Macedonia and is located on both sides of the river Vardar. The city has 474 884 residents (2019).
Business and transport
The capital is the country’s economic center with significant industry, and there are iron and steel plants, chemical combinations, petroleum refineries, food, textile, tobacco, lumber and metal industries. Fruits and vegetables are grown in the surrounding areas.
Skopje is an important communication hub. There are six rail lines from Skopje to other cities in Northern Macedonia, including Kumanovo and Veles. The train connection between Belgrade and Thessaloniki goes via Skopje. Outside the city there is an international airport. 2.2 million passengers traveled to or from this airport in 2018.
Culture and knowledge
In the old town is the castle Kale. It was first built 600 CE., But was developed during the 10th and 11th centuries. The old bazaar, one of the oldest and largest marketplaces in the Balkans, has been Skopje’s center of commerce since the 12th century. Outside the bazaar is the Mustafa Pasha Mosque, which was built in 1492. However, much of the Turkish character of the city has disappeared after the city was rebuilt after a major earthquake in 1963, when 80 percent of the city was destroyed.
The Macedonia Museum has departments for history and ethnography and an icon gallery. There is also a separate archeological museum, a city museum, a museum of modern art and a national gallery. In connection with the 20 year mark for the country’s independence, in 2011 a museum for “Macedonian Struggle” was opened. In the same year, a holocaust center was also established in the city.
Skopje University, established in 1949, has more than 50,000 students. The Skopje Police Academy is a department of St. Klement of Ohrid University in Bitola. There are several private universities in the city.
Skopje was originally an Illyrian center, and under Emperor Diocletian the city became the capital of the Roman province of Dardania. It was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 518 AD, but was rebuilt and grew rapidly. The Serbs conquered Skopje in 1189. In 1392–1912, Skopje was part of the Ottoman Empire. The city was burnt to the ground in 1689 due to a cholera epidemic.
From 1912, Skopje was Serbian and from 1945 the capital of the Yugoslav state of Macedonia.
On July 26, 1963, the city was haunted by an earthquake, in which more than 1070 people perished and more than 200,000 lost their homes. The earthquake measured 6.1 on the torque magnitude scale and could be felt along the entire Vardardalen. An international aid campaign helped to rebuild the city.
When the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia disbanded in 1991 and Macedonia declared itself independent, Skopje became the capital of the new state. In 2019, the country’s name was changed to Northern Macedonia.