The story behind: Colonia Flavia Scupinorum – Scupi

The area of the city Skupi has continuity of life from the Bronze Age (XII century BC) to the VI century AD. In the period from I to VI century developed the ancient city Skupi, and from VII to X century on that space exists a smaller settlement. The foundation of the ancient settlement Skupi is associated with the penetration of the Roman legions in the area of Dardania at the end of I century BC and I century AD, when probably evolved from legion camp (castrum) judging by the position, size, quadrate basis and the remarkable fortification elements. It becames a real Roman city by receiving the status of colony (colonia Flavia Scupi), the highest rank that a Roman city could get it. Then there were conditions for transformation of the original settlement in a complex urban Roman city with all administrative and other civilian and religious buildings.
In 518 Skupi suffered a catastrophic earthquake after what it lost the characteristics of city and continued to exist as a rural settlement. At a distance of 5 km northwest of Skopje, near the village Zlokukani, left of the estuary of the River Lepenec at the river Vardar, in the foothills of “Zajcev hill” on whose plateau there was an older acropolis. The accurate identification and location of Skupi was made by Arthur Evans in 1884, although the approximate geographical position was made by Ptolemy in the II century AD. Romans located the city near the important roads that connected the Aegean Sea with Central Europe and Thrace with the Adriatic Sea Because of the congruation of the ground, the city territory of Skupi an area of about 44ha has an irregular quadrangular base, surrounded by defensive walls. In previous research was identified the direction of the walls, some parts, but not the horizontal and vertical stratigraphy, chronology and construction phases. The time of the construction of the first stone fortification of Skupi is not confirmed, nor the possibility that the same position of the walls remained during the long existence of six centuries. The inner space of the city was divided into districts, with orthogonal street grid, placed parallel to the walls, the streets Kardon and Dekumanus intersect at a right angle. Until now, with the systematic archaeological research in the urban area were revealed three separate complexes with architectural structures and large part of a street that runs from northeast to southwest (Kardo Maximus). By location and mutual placement, complexes are grouped into two divisions: Division I in the downtown area (west of the street) and Division II in the northern part of town (east of the street). In Division I there are two complexes, a complex located south of the Forum (facilities, Civil Basilica, part of the street Kardo and other buildings) and Complex 2 located north of the Forum (buildings, street Kardon, Horeum, thermal, micro housing complex of late-antique period, other buildings). The Civil Basilica in complex 1 is a three-nave building, with double apse on the west side, with mosaic floor with geometric ornaments dating from the early IV century. Street Kardo is one of the main streets, with wide road paved with large stone slabs and wide sidewalks. Dates back from 286, after the breakthrough of the Goths.

The Therms of complex 2 have a simple plan with defined functional elements dating from the IV century. In Division II there is complex 3 with the following facilities: Theatre, City villa, Christian basilica, buildings at the plateau Zajcev Rid, other buildings. None of the excavated objects is fully explored. Theatre lies on the southwestern slope of Zajcev Rid. The main contours of the object are revealed, which belongs to the Roman type of theaters, dating from II century during the reign of Hadrian. City villa lies deep under the Christian basilica. Several rooms with walls decorated with frescoes were discovered and a small thermal part. Dates from IV century. Christian basilica is a three-nave with an apse on the east side, dating from the end of V and early VI century. Outside the city walls on all four sides there are necropolises, grouped around four main roads going out of town. They are partly covered with buildings or located an area that has yet to be built or is not fully explored.