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Skopje ( ) is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedoniamarker, with more than a quarter of the population of the country, as well as its political, cultural, economic, and academic centre. It was known in the Roman period under the name Scupi. The city developed rapidly after World War II, but this trend was interrupted in 1963 when it was hit by a disastrous earthquakemarker. Today Skopje is a modern city with a wide range of cultural monuments.

Skopje is located at , on the upper course of the Vardar Rivermarker and is located on a major north-south Balkan route between Belgrademarker and Athensmarker. According to the 2002 census, it has approximately 500,000 inhabitants and 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 culture and sport.

Name

See also: other names of Skopje


The city of Skopia (Greek: Σκόπια) was located at the far north reaches of the Byzantine empire. The name of the city itself reflects its geographic location and role within the empire, as the word Skopia translates to watch-tower/lookout/obervation point. In 1912, the name of the city was officially changed from the Turkish Üsküp ( ) to Serbian Skoplje (Скопље). Since the 1950s, the name of the city in Macedonian has been Skopje (Скопје), reflecting the Macedonian Cyrillic orthography for the local pronunciation. It originates from Latin Scupi. During the Middle Ages, Skopje was often under the rule of the Bulgarian Empire; the Bulgarian rendition is Skopie (Скопие). The city was known as Uskub or Uskup in most Western European languages during the period of Ottoman rule. In Albanian it is called Shkup or Shkupi, in Aromanian, Scopia, and in Romani, Skopiye.

History

Early phase

The site of modern 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. The settlement appears to have been founded around then by the Paionians, a people that inhabited the region. In the 3rd century BC, Skopje and the surrounding area was invaded by the Dardani. Scupi, the ancient Skopje, came under Roman rule after the general Quintus Caecilius Metellus Macedonicus defeated Andriscus of Macedon in 148 BC, being at first part of the Roman province of Macedonia, established in 146 BC. The northward expansion of the empire in the course of the 1st century BC lead to the creation of the province of Moesia in Augustus's times, into which Scupi was incorporated. After the division of the province by Domitian in 86 AD, Scupi was elevated to colonia status, and became a seat of government within the new province of Moesia superior. The district called Dardania (in Moesia Superior), was formed into a special province by Diocletian, with the capital at Naissusmarker. From 395 AD, it passed into the hands of the Eastern Roman (or Byzantine) Empire.

The first known bishop of the city is Perigorius, present at the Council of Sardica (343). Scupi was probably a metropolitan see about the middle of the 5th century ( ).

Medieval era



When the Roman Empire was divided into eastern and western halves in 395AD, Skupi came under Byzantine rule from Constantinoplemarker (today's Istanbulmarker) and became an important trading and garrison town for the region. The Byzantine Emperor Justinian (527-65AD) was born in Tauresium (about 20 km southeast of present-day Skopje) in 483AD, and after Skupi was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 518AD. Justinian built a new town at the fertile entry point of the River Lepenec into the Vardar. Some historians believe this might be the city of Justiniana Prima.During much of the early medieval period, the town was contested between the Byzantines and the Bulgarian Empire. From 972 to 992 it was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire. After that, it was a capital of Byzantine administrative region (katepanat) Bulgaria after the fall the First Bulgarian Empire in 1018. Skopje was a thriving trading settlement but fell into decline after being hit by another devastating earthquake at the end of the 11th century. It was a capital of the estate of the Bulgarian feudal lord, later Emperor Konstantin Asen in the middle of 13th century.The Byzantine Empire took advantage of the decline in Skopje to regain influence in the area, but lost control of it once again in 1282 to King Stefan Uroš II Milutin of Serbia. Milutin's grandson, Stefan Dusan, made Skopje his capital, from which he proclaimed himself Tsar in 1346.

Ottoman era

Ishak Bey Mosque


Rolling back Byzantine rule across much of the Balkans, the Ottoman Turks finally conquered Skopje in 1392 beginning 520 years of Ottoman rule. The Turks named the town Uskub. At first the Ottomans divided the greater Macedonian region into four vilayets, or districts — Uskub (Kossovo), Manastir and Selanik - and as the northernmost of these, Uskub was strategically important for further forays into northern Europe.

Under Ottoman rule the town moved further towards the entry point of the River Serava into the Vardar. It also became predominantly Muslim and the architecture of the town changed accordingly. During the 15th century, many travelers' inns were established in the town, such as Kapan An and Suli An, which still exist today. The city's famous Stone Bridge (Kameni Most) - was also reconstructed during this period and the famous Daud Pasha baths (now a modern art gallery) was built at the end of the 15th century. At this time numerous Jews driven out of Spainmarker settled in Uskub, adding to the cultural mix of the town and enhancing the town's trading reputation.

Old Bazaar


At the beginning of Ottoman rule, several mosques quickly sprang up in the city, and church lands were often seized and given to ex-soldiers, while many churches themselves were converted over time into mosques. The most impressive mosques erected during this early period include the Sultan Murat or Hjunkar Mosque, Aladza Mosque and the Mustafa Pasha Mosque. In 1555, another earthquake hit the town, destroying much of the centre. The outskirts survived and the town continued, nonetheless, to prosper with traders and travelers. Travel reports from the era number Uskub's population anywhere between 30,000 and 60,000 inhabitants.For a very short period in 1689, Uskub was occupied by the Austrian General Piccolomini. He and his troops did not stay for long, however, as the town was quickly engulfed by the plague. On retreating from the town Piceolomini's troops set fire to Uskub, perhaps in order to stamp out the plague, although some would say this was done in order to avenge the 1683 Ottoman invasion of Viennamarker.

For the next two centuries Uskub's prestige waned and by the 19th century its population had dwindled to a mere 10,000. In 1873, however, the completion of the Uskub—Selanik (now Skopje—Thessalonikimarker) railway brought many more travelers and traders to the town, so that by the turn of the century Uskub had regained its former numbers of around 30,000.Towards the end of the Ottoman Empire, Uskub, along with other towns in Macedonia - Krusevomarker and Manastir (now Bitolamarker) - became main hubs of rebellious movements against Ottoman rule. Uskub was a key player in the Ilinden Uprising of August 1903 when the native population of the region declared the emergence of the Krusevo Republic. While the Krusevo Republic lasted only ten days before being quelled by the Ottomans, it was a sign of the beginning of the end for Ottoman rule. After 500 years of rule in the area the Ottomans were finally ousted in 1912 during the first Balkan War.

Balkan and World Wars

As the administrative centre of the region, Uskub also administered the vilayet of Kossovo under Ottoman rule. This did not go down well with the increasingly Albanian population of Kosovo, who preferred to be ruled by Albanians rather than the Turks. The Ottomans were shortly expelled from the city in August 12, 1912 by the local Albanian population when 15,000 Albanians marched on Uskub. The Turks, already weak from other battles against the united front of Greecemarker, Serbiamarker and Bulgariamarker during the First Balkan War, started to flee.

Vardar River in 1913


When Serb reinforcements arrived some weeks later, the 23 October Battle of Kumanovomarker (50 km northeast of Skopje) proved decisive in firmly driving out the Ottomans from all of Macedonia. Skopje remained under Serbian rule during the Second Balkan War of 1913 when the formerly united front started to fight amongst themselves, until in 1914 the town was finally taken over by the Bulgarians. By 1918 it belonged to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenesmarker, and remained so until 1939, apart from a brief period of six months in 1920 when Skopje was controlled by the Yugoslav Communist Party.

The inter-war period of Royalist Yugoslavia saw significant immigration of ethnic Serbs into the region. An ethnic Serb ruling elite dominated over the rest, continuing the repression wrought by previous Turkish rulers.

In March 1941 when Yugoslavia entered the war, there were huge anti-war demonstrations in the streets of the town. Skopje came under German occupation on 7 April 1941 and was later taken over by Bulgarianmarker forces. During the occupation, Bulgaria endowed Skopje with a national theatre, a library, a museum and for higher education the King Boris University. However, on 11 March 1943, Skopje's entire Jewish population of 3,286 was deported to the gas chambers of Treblinkamarker concentration camp in Polandmarker. One month after the communists took power in Sofia and the Bulgarian army was sent to the west front to fight the Germans, Skopje was seized by the People's Liberation Army of Macedonia, and then joined Yugoslavia in 1944, when it became the capital of the newly established People's Republic of Macedonia.

Socialist Republic of Macedonia

From 1944 until 1991 Skopje was the capital of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia. The city expanded and the population grew during this period from just over 150,000 in 1945 to almost 600,000 in the early 1990s. Continuing to be prone to natural disasters the city was flooded by the Vardar River in 1962 and then suffered considerable damage from a major earthquakemarker, measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale, which killed over 1,000 people and made another 120,000 homeless. Eighty percent of the city was destroyed by the earthquake, and numerous cultural monuments were seriously damaged. The losses from the quake amounted to a massive 150% of Macedonia's GNP at the time and 15% of Yugoslavia's GNP. A major international relief effort saw the city rebuilt quickly, though much of its old neo-classical charm was lost in the process. The new master plan of the city was created by the then leading Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. The ruins of the old Skopje train station which was destroyed in the earthquake remain today as a memorial to the victims along with an adjacent museum.

Nearly all of the city's beautiful neo-classical 18th and 19th century buildings were destroyed in the earthquake, including the National Theater and many government buildings, as well as most of the Kale Fortressmarker. International financial aid poured into Skopje in order to help rebuild the city. Sadly, the result was the many "modern" concrete monstrosities of 1960s communism that can still be seen today as well as hundreds of now abandoned caravans and prefabricated mobile homes. Fortunately, though, as with previous earthquakes, much of the old Turkish side of town survived.

Independence

Skopje made the transition easily from the capital of the Socialist Federal Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to the capital of today's Republic of Macedonia. The city livened up considerably when Skopje housed the headquarters of the NATOmarker intervention into Kosovomarker in 1998 and 1999. The city saw some rioting during 2001 when internal conflict between the Albanianmarker community and the Macedonian majority erupted over lack of Albanian representation in government and other social institutions.Today, Skopje is seeing a makeover in buildings, streets and shops. The new VMRO-DPMNE government elected in July 2006 has pledged to restore the Kale fortressmarker and to rebuild the beautiful 19th century Army House, the Old National Theatre, and the Old National Bank of Macedonia - all destroyed in the 1963 earthquake. Other projects under construction are the "Macedonian Struggle" Museum, the Archeological Museum of Macedonia, National Archive of Macedonia, Constitutional Court, and a new Philharmonic Theater. The city's national stadium Philip II Arenamarker and the city's Alexander the Great Airport are also being reconstructed and expanded.

Geography

Skopje from plane
Skopje from sky
Skopje is located in the northern part of Macedonia, in the Skopje statistical region. The Vardar Rivermarker flows through the city and the rest of the country, passing the border into Greece and flowing into the Aegean Seamarker. Skopje is located at an elevation of
 above sea level. The city's land area is


Climate

The city experiences an altered Mediterranean climate, which is in the transposition to the continental climate. The summers are hot and dry, and the winters are cool. In summer the temperatures are usually above 30°C, and sometimes, above 40°C. In spring and autumn, the temperatures range from 15-25°C. In the winter, the day temperatures are about 7°C, but in the nights they often fall below 0°C, even below -10°C in some cold nights. The precipitations are typically in two periods, from October to November and from March to April. Snow is rare, and often happens for just a few days in the winter. Big snowfalls, with over 10 cm of snow are rare.

Surrounding municipalities

Administrative divisions

Skopje is an administrative division within the Republic of Macedoniamarker constituted of 10 municipalities. As a such administrative unit Skopje is the capital of the Republic of Macedoniamarker. It is part of Skopje statistical region (Скопски регион).

The organisation of Skopje, like a distinct unit of the local-selfgovernment is defined by the Law of Skopje.



Nr. Municipality

(Општина)
Area

(km²)
Population

(2002)
3 Aerodrom 21.85 72,009
6 Butel marker 54.79 36,154
4 Čair 3.52 64,773
1 Centar 7.52 45,412
2 Gazi Baba 110.86 72,617
9 Gjorče Petrov marker 66.93 41,634
8 Karpoš marker 35.21 59,666
5 Kisela Voda 34.24 57,236
10 Saraj marker 229.06 35,408
7 Šuto Orizari marker 7.48 22,017
Total Skopje 571.46 506,926


History of administration



Government

The mayor of Skopje is elected directly. The current mayor is Koce Trajanovski. He was elected in April 2009.

Transport

Since the 1990s the city's position as a transportation hub is increasing in Southeast Europe since it stands at an intersection of two main European transport corridors - Corridor VIII (East-West) and Corridor X (North-South). This significance of the city has been enhanced by the construction of new highways on the two transversals, the new Skopje ring road, and the ongoing extension and modernization of Skopje Alexander the Great Airportmarker.

Airports:
Skopje has one international airport: Skopje Alexander the Great Airportmarker located in the Petrovec Municipalitymarker, about 22 kilometers east from the city center. MAT Macedonian Airlines flies to many international destinations across Europe as well as Ohridmarker. A variety of other airlines serve the airport.The airport has been given under concession to the Turkish company TAV, which should start works on a new 3 million passengers terminal in late August 2009 and finish it within 20 months.

Highways:

The E75 highway connecting Vardømarker in Norwaymarker and Cretemarker in Greece runs just east of Skopje, thus linking most of Europe with the Macedonian capital. The E75 highway in Macedonia connects Kumanovomarker, Velesmarker, Negotinomarker, and Gevgelijamarker.
A bus in Skopje
The E65 highway runs through the northern and western edges of the city and is part of the 26.5 km long Skopje Northern Bypass. The E65 in Macedonia also connects Tetovomarker, Gostivarmarker, Kičevomarker, Ohridmarker and Bitolamarker

Railways:

The Skopje Central Railway Station is approximately 2 kilometers east of the city center. It's part of the "Transportation Center" Complex built in the 1970s. It has 10 platforms and is suspended on a massive concrete bridge about 2 km long.

Taxis and Buses:

The Skopje main bus station is 2 kilometers east of the city center located in the Transportation Center housing also the central railway station. Buses run through the whole city connecting different areas; the average price for a ticket is 30 denars or about 0.5 euro. Taxis are all over the city, they go between the city center and the airport frequently. The price for a drive to or from the airport is about 17 euros or 900 Macedonian denars. The average price going through the city is 3 euros or 160 denars. Taxis can also drive to other Macedonian cities but it is usually costly for an average Macedonian.

Demographics

According to the 2002 census, the population of Skopje was 506,926 people. The main ethnic groups are Macedonians - 338,358, who make 66.75% of the population, followed by Albanians - 103,891 (20.49%), Roma - 23,475 (4.63%), Serbs - 14,298 (2.82%), Turks - 8,595 (1.70%), Bosniaks - 7,585 (1.50%) and Aromanians (Vlachs) - 2,557 (0.50%) and others - 8,167 (1.61%)

97.5% of the population over the age of 10 is literate.

Landmarks

Churches

Church Description Picture
Church of St. Spas This church, one of the most famous landmarks in Skopje, was built in the 16th century and is located between the Old Bazaar and the Kale Fortress. The interior of this attraction is significant in art, as it features a giant iconostasis (altar) carved out of wood. Blending biblical figures and local scenery, the depictions themselves are of topical interest. Goce Delčev, a national hero in two countries for his involvement in the late 19th century struggle for Macedonian liberation, is buried in the church backyard.
Church of St. Panteleimonmarker The church of Saint Panteleimon in Gorno Nerezi near Skopje is a superb example of the Comnenian art on the all-Byzantine level. Commissioned by several members of the royal Comnenus family, the church was not finished until 1164. Nerezi is famous for its frescoes, representing a pinnacle of the 12th-century trend of intimacy and spirituality. They are often compared with similarly delicate works by Giotto, who worked 140 years later. These murals underwent serious 19th-century overpainting but were restored lately.
Church of St. Demetrius The church was built in the 18th century on the place of an old church from the 13th century. This church was an orthodox cathedral church before the construction of the present-day cathedral church of St. Clement of Ohrid.
Church of the Holy Mother of God Church This cathedral church, dedicated to the Holy Mother of God, was built on the place of an old church also dedicated to the Holy Mother, built in 1204 and later completely destroyed in a fire. The old church was previously rebuilt and consecrated in 1935, but during World War II the Bulgarian army destroyed it on 7 April 1944. The church was set on fire, the iconostasis has been destroyed and many valuable church items have been stolen and taken to Bulgaria. The present-day church's reconstruction began on 2 October 2002.
Church of St. Clement Built in 1972, the Orthodox church in one of few in the world to be designed in modern contemporary architecture. The main Macedonian orthodox cathedral church was consecrated in 1990, on the 1150th anniversary of the birth of the church patron, St. Clement of Ohrid. The iconostasis icons were painted by Gjorgi Danevski and Spase Spirovski and the frescoes were painted by the academic painter Jovan Petrov and his collaborators.


Stone bridge at night


Stone Bridge

The Stone Bridge in the city square is built under the patronage of Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror between 1451 and 1469. This bridge represents the connection between Skopje’s past and present and today is featured as the emblem of the city of Skopje. The bridge was partially renovated in the 1990s.

Old Town

The Old Town is situated in an area between the Stone Bridge and the Bit Bazaar, and between the Kale fortress and the Vardar Rivermarker. In the past all economic activities in the city were taking place in this part of it. In the period between the 16th and 17th centuries, the Old Town reached its urban and economic zenith, developing into one of the largest and most significant oriental old bazaars in the Balkans. It is full of bustling shops that beckon visitors. This bazaar is an interesting mixture of Eastern and Western culture.

Macedonia square

This square is the largest and most important of Skopje’s squares. It is dramatically widened by the destruction of the massive neoclassical National Bank and Army House during the 1963 earthquake. The most remarkable building is the Risticheva Palata. However, the focus of the square is still the Stone Bridge, and it’s a pleasant place to spend time in good weather. During the warmer months concerts are performed in the square.

Kale Fortress

This fortress is situated in a hill above the city and there were settlements that existed before the Turks created the extensive castle walls that survived until today. The present fortress was originally built by the Byzantines in the 6th century. It is supposed that the stone blocks used in this construction were taken from the destroyed city of Skupi nearby. After the 1963 earthquake, Kale’s circular, rectangular and square towers were conserved and restored. Today this fortress is the one of the best sightseeing spots in Skopje.

Old railway station in Skopje


Old Railway Station

The clock on this old train station stopped at 5:17 am since the morning of 26 July 1963, when this piece of the grand modernist station of Skopje was one of the few parts of the city that remained standing after a massive earthquake crushed the city. It measured 6.1 on the Richter scale, killed nearly two thousand people, and left over a hundred thousand homeless after destroying about 80% of the city. It's a reminder of a tragic moment in Skopje's history.



Millennium Cross

The Millennium Crossmarker, situated on the peak of the mountain Vodno, is a tourist attraction. At high, it is the biggest cross in the world and can be seen from away. It was built to celebrate 2000 years of the existence of Christianity and of Macedonia as a biblical land.

Kuršumli An


Kuršumli An

This former Turkish inn features architecturally interesting arches and domes. Because lead was used to top the structure, it became known as the Lead Inn (Kursumli An, in Turkish "Kurşunlu Han"). Now it is sharing its location with a national museum for Macedonia. This type of structure, once common in Islamic cities, is known as a "caravanserai". Its appearance is identical to those of the caravanserais that were built in the Islamic urban centers of these times. It is an impressive building with decorated walls and numerous small domes of a pyramidal shape. Its roof was covered by lead, and this is how its name originated (kurşum is a changed form of kurşun which means lead in Turkish language).

Mustafa Pasha Mosque

Of the old mosques in the city, Mustapha Pasha Mosquemarker is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful buildings of Ottoman architecture in Skopje. Located on a hill facing Fort Kale, this mosque dominates the whole surroundings and was built in the last decade of the 15th century when the military spahi system of Osmanli Turkish feudalism had reached the peak of its development. It is an endowment of Mustapha Pasha, an eminent figure in the Turkish state during the rule of Sultan Bayezid II and Sultan Selim I. The year of Mustapha Pasha's death is engraved on the entrance of his mausoluem, which is located by the mosque. It shows him to have died in 1519. The mausoleum and the mosque were both badly damaged in Skopje's 1963 earthquake, and restoration and conservation work was started in 1968. The interior of the mosque, like that of the porch, is mostly decorated with stylized plants. On the walls of the praying space are calligraphic inscriptions (lehve) with the names of Allah, Mohammed and his followers (Ebubekira, Ali, Osman and Omer) and quotations from the Qu'ran. The painted decorations are more recent, mainly from 1933 when the mosque was renovated. This can be seen from the intense blue and black color of the ornaments, which are often a confusing mass of color. Most of the city's 1930s 'Balkan Art Nouveau' buildings were also destroyed in 1963 but some characteristic examples remain. Non-worshippers are not always granted access, but the building is at least lovely on the outside, with well-maintained gardens.

Mother Teresa sites



There are several landmarks of Mother Teresa in Skopje, the city where she was born, including a marker of her birthplace, a statue, and a memorial house. The Memorial House of Mother Teresa in Skopje was opened in early 2009.

Skopje Aqueduct



An ancient Roman aqueduct survives to the north of the city, near the village of Vizbegovo. One of stone bridges connecting both side of Vardar River dates back to the reign of Stefan Dušan.

Culture

The Museum of Contemporary Arts Skopje, is one of the most important institution of Macedonia in discovering, treasuring and preserving the Contemporary Arts.Тhe international community manifested an exceptionally wide solidarity in assisting the reconstruction of Skopje. An important part of that solidarity was also the action initiated by the International Association of the Plastic arts which on its convention held in October 1963 in New Yorkmarker, called upon the artists of the world to assist in creating a collection of works of art by which they would support the vision of the city reconstruction.The building project was donated by the Polish Government which made a national competition to this and where the joint work of the Polish architects: J. Mokrzynski, E. Wierzbicki and W. Klyzewski was accepted. Having a total area of 5000 sq. m., the Museum building is made up of three connected wings which include the halls for temporary exhibitions, the premises for the permanent exhibition, the hall for lecturers, film and video presentation, the library and the archives, the administration, the conservation workshop, the depots and other departments. The great park areas, that enable the installation of various sculptural projects, as well as the spacious parking further relate to the immediate environment of the Skopje Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Skopje Jazz Festival is one of the most important jazz events in Southeast Europe held annually ever since 1981. The artists` profiles include fusion, acid jazz, Latin Jazz, smooth jazz, and avant-garde jazz, which brings a great variety and richness to this festival. Ray Charles, Tito Puente, Gotan Project, Al Di Meola, Youssou N'Dour, just to name few, have taken part at this festival. The Skopje Jazz Festival is part of the European Jazz Network and The European Forum of World Wide Festivals. It is held in October.

The Skopje Cultural Summer Festival is renowned cultural event that takes place in Skopje each year during the summer. The festival is a member of the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) and it comprises musical concerts, operas, ballets and plays, art and photo-exhibitions, movies, performances and multimedia projects, that gather each year about 2 000 participants from around the world (United Kingdom, Germany, France, USA, Russia, Canada, Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Austria, the Scandinavian countries, Iran etc), including St Petersburgmarker Theatre, the Chamber Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatremarker, Irina Arkhipova, Aleksandar Shilo, Viktor Tretiakov (Russia), The Theatre of Shadows from Tehran (Iran), Sophie Boulin, Michel Dalberto (France), David Burgess, Nan Hughes, William Feasley (United States), Vassilis Rakopoulos (Greece), Roger Woodford, the Sirinu Ensemble (United Kingdom) and Izumi Tateno (Finland).

Blues and Soul Festival is a relatively new event in the Macedonian cultural scene that occurs every summer between July 1 and 4, as a part of the Skopje Cultural Summer Festival. Many important blues and soul figures have been guests, including Larry Coryell, Mick Taylor & All Stars Blues Band, Candy Dulfer & Funky Stuff, João Bosco, The Temptations, Tolo Marton Trio, Blues Wire, Phil Guy, Nick & The Backbone, Blues Company, Vasil Hadzimanov Band, Mama’s Pit, Nico Wayne Toussaint, Kimbiza, Rod Barthet Band, Mr. Lucky and Sen-Sa-Shun Band, Juke Joint Express, Muscle Theory, and David ‘’Honeyboy’’ Edwards.

May Opera Evenings is a festival that occurs in Skopje since 1972 and it is dedicated to opera and making opera more popular among the public. It has evolved into a stage on which artists from some 50 countries across the globe have performed with distinction to high international standards.

The Open Youth Theatre Festival is established In May 1976 by a group of young enthusiasts. More than 250 theatrical performances have been presented at this festival so far, most of them by alternative, experimental theatre groups engaging young writers and actors. Recently, the festival became a member of the Brussels Informal European Theatre Meeting (IETM). Within the framework of the Open Youth Theatre, a Macedonian National Centre of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) was established, and at the 25th ITI World Congress in Munich in 1993, it was received as a regular member of this theatre association. Now, the Open Youth Theatre festival is an international festival representing groups from the successor state of the former Yugoslavia, the United States, France, the Soviet Unionmarker, Russia, Spain, Japan, Poland, Italy, the United Kingdom, India and other countries.


Sports

As the capital and most important city in Macedonia, Skopje is home to several sports teams and venues. FK Vardar and FK Rabotnički are the two strongest and most popular football teams, whilst RK Kometal Gjorče Petrov is the most popular handball team. Skopje has four major sports indoor halls, of which the Boris Trajkovski Sports Arenamarker is the biggest. The main stadium is the Philip II Arenamarker and it hosts the Macedonia national football team.

Famous people from Skopje

Notable people from Skopje include:

Musicians: Politicians and businessmen:

Writers: Others:

Some notable people born in Skopje or its surroundings also are:

File:Meister von San Vitale in Ravenna 004.jpg|Justinian I, Byzantine EmperorFile:MotherTeresa 090.jpg|Mother Teresa, Roman Catholic and humanitarianFile:Milco Mancevski at the University of Chicago.jpg|Milčo Mančevski, film directorFile:Pancevgoldenkopacka retouched.jpg|Darko Pančev, football legend and Europe's top Goalscorer in 1991File:Katarina Ivanovska crop.jpg|Katarina Ivanovska, internationally famous model


International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Skopje is twinned with:

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Country City Date
Belgiummarker Waremmemarker 1974
Bosnia and Herzegovinamarker Sarajevomarker 2007
Bulgariamarker Pernikmarker /
Bulgariamarker Sofiamarker /
Chinamarker Nanchangmarker /
Egyptmarker Suezmarker 1985
Francemarker Dijonmarker 1961
Francemarker Roubaixmarker 1973
Germanymarker Dresdenmarker 1967
Germanymarker Nurembergmarker 1982
Italymarker Leccemarker /
Montenegromarker Podgoricamarker 2008
Polandmarker Wrocławmarker /


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Country City Date
Romaniamarker Craiovamarker 2007
Serbiamarker Belgrademarker June, 2006
Serbiamarker Nišmarker /
Spainmarker Zaragozamarker 2008
Sloveniamarker Ljubljanamarker 2007
Turkeymarker Ankaramarker /
Francemarker Roubaixmarker 1973
Turkeymarker Manisa 1985
Turkeymarker Istanbulmarker 2003
UKmarker Bradfordmarker 1961
USAmarker Tempemarker 1971
USAmarker Pittsburghmarker 2002


Gallery

File:Soravia, City Gallery and EVN buildings in Skopje.JPG|Soravia, City Gallery and EVN buildings in Skopje.File:Skopje river bank.JPG|The bank of the river Vardar near the national stadium.File:Buildings in Skopje.jpg|Buildings in the center of Skopje.File:Saraj swimming pool.jpg|Lake Treska in the municipality of Sarajmarker, Skopje.File:MRT building Skopje.jpg|The Macedonian Radio Television buildingFile:Sedishte na EU vo Skopje.JPG|Seat of the European Union in Macedonia

File:Skopje square Macedonia panorama.JPG|Panorama of Skopje's central square "Macedonia".File:Skopje Vardar panorama.JPG|Panorama of the river Vardar and the stone bridge.File:Skopje Macedonia Square panorama.JPG|Panorama of Skopje's central square "Macedonia".

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