Stobi Archaeological Site
The ancient city of Stobi lies in a fertile valley of central Macedonia, 15 km away from town of Kavadarci, about 80 km south of Skopje and about 85 km from the Macedonian-Greek border, and just a few minutes off the central north-south highway that connects Macedonia with Greece, on the place where the Crna Reka River (Erigon) joins the Vardar River (Axious). Stobi was established on the crossing point of the major vital trade routes that led from the Danube to the Aegean Sea – the road that connected Via Egnatia and Via Militaris /Via Axis/ and Via Diagonalis, that traversed Macedonia in its days, making it important strategically as a center for both trade and warfare.
This crossroad of ancient civilizations has left a rich historical and cultural legacy of the Stobi antique theaters, palace ruins, basilicas, brightly-colored mosaics, famous tetra-conchal baptistery and religious relics for visitors to enjoy today. Archaeological explorations in Stobi began in World War I. As a city, Stobi is first mentioned in documents from the 2nd century BC by Titus Livius, the Roman historian, who records the military victory of the Macedonian king Philip V over the Dardanian invaders “near Stobi” in 197 BC. However, archaeologists believe that the town of Stobi had been inhabited from at least 400 years earlier, as archaeological finds testify to the fact that the site was settled continually since prehistoric times. From the 3rd-4th century AD Stobi became a rich and prosperous city, but also an important Christian center due to its location on the crossroads of important trade routes, when the city had experienced its biggest period of growth. Stobi was the biggest Roman city in Macedonia and later became the capital of the province of Macedonia Secunda, the urban, military, administrative, trading, and religious center of that region for the Roman and the early Byzantine empires. The episcopal basilica of the bishop Philip, from the 5th century, shows just how influential this city was as a religious center. The most important Christian building in Stobi was constructed, its interior was majestic, with white marble and mosaic floors. South of the basilica is a baptistery, with an inscribed quadrennial at its center, which was covered by a dome for a time. The floor is decorated with mosaics of peacocks and deer. In 447 AD Stobi was destroyed by the Huns as many other towns on the Balkans. On their way to Dyrrachium, Theodoric and the Ostrogoths robbed Stobi but this was not as disastrous as the attack of the Huns. The beginning of the 6th century is marked by the huge earthquake in 518 AD which ruined many towns in Dardania and Macedonia Secunda.
The Stobi archaeological site /located just 3 km from the Gradsko exit on Highway E-75/ is must see as it offers spectacular insight into the antiquity and sweeping views of the central Macedonian plain, and makes very popular tourist destination in Macedonia. Ancient Site of Stobi contains numerous structures and buildings such as the 2nd century impressive amphitheater, Episcopal Basilica and Residence, the Theodosian Palace, streets, baths, textile workshop, large houses with interior peristyle courts decorated with resplendent fountains and mosaic floors, villas and early Christian ruins with extensive and ornate mosaic floors. Excavations and conservation works of the Stobi site are constantly carried out.