Scupi Archaeological Site

The archaeological site of the ancient Scupi – Antique Roman city of Skupi – Colonia Flavia Scupinorum is located 3 km north of Skopje, near the villages of Bardovci and Zlokukani. The beginnings of this city are linked with the incursions of the Roman legions in the late 1st century BC and the founding of the Roman province of Moesia in 15 AD. First mentioned in the year 3 BC, it quickly developed into an important regional center when the Romans made it the capital of their Province, with important administrative, economic, cultural, religious and transit facilities of the province Moesia Superior. Scupi began as a Roman legionary camp and the starting point for conquering Dardania and Moesia (possibly housing the 5th Macedonian and/or 4th Scythian legions – /Legio V Macedonica and Legio quarta Scythica/ with the soldiers building a considerable settlement for themselves on the site of an older settlement. The Romans located Scupi along important roads that connected the Aegean Sea with central Europe, Thrace with the Adriatic coast. During the Flavian dynasty in 84/5 it acquired the status of a self-governing deductive colony (Colonia Flavia Scupinorum) with the settling of veterans, mainly those from Legio VII Claudia. In the late 3rd century it became the metropolis of the newly established province of Dardania, and in the 4th century it experienced once again great economic and urban growth. Most likely Roman army veterans began to settle there, while the army was still based at Scupi, but once it left northward to take up base at the Danube, local inhabitants (possibly from the nearby ancient town of Stobi) joined them, moving into the abandoned army base. With the creation of a Christian Episcopacy a few centuries later, the economical and cultural importance of Scupi grew yet again. Although it suffered under the Gothic ravages of the 3rd and the 4th century once again the city of Scupi prospered and served briefly as the headquarters of emperor Theodosius. A disastrous earthquake in 518 AD destroyed the city of Scupi. Wonderful architectonic buildings, numerous public baths and the ancient amphitheater built in Roman style, large basilica with mosaic floors of Scupi have completely disappeared. After the division of the Roman Empire in 395 Scupi became part of the Byzantine Empire with the seat in Constantinople. There were the Byzantines and the Bulgarians competed over the rule on Scupi in the early medieval period.

Nowadays Skupi is one of the largest Roman cities in the Balkans with the status of a colony. Approximately 1,000 graves from the southeast and northwest necropolises have been explored, which date from the period between the 1st and the 4th centuries, as well as parts of the Antique bridge across the river Vardar, a private villa and a Christian basilica in the village of Bardovci.