Skopje (Greek Skopia) is a town in Macedonia, on the river Vardar, not far from ancient Scupi, which in the 4th century was the capital of Dardania and a bishopric; the first known bishop of Scupi, Paregorios, participated in the Council of Serdica in 342/3. The ancient theater stopped functioning in the 4th century and its site was occupied by small dwellings. Two basilicas of the late 4th C. have been discovered. In the 5th century Scupi fell into decline; it was destroyed by the earthquake of 518, although some habitation continued there until the early 7th century. Probably in the 6th century several fortresses were constructed in the area, for example, that of Markovi kuli.
Medieval Skopje appears in written sources from the beginning of the 11th century, when the town was conquered by Basil II. Excavations have revealed the existence of a 10th-century fortress and probably of a lower township of the 11th century. The walls of the fortress were built of small stones held together with mortar, and had round, square, and triangular towers. The walls were reconstructed under the Komnenoi. In the 11th century, Skopje emerged as the capital of the doukaton of Bulgaria and was frequently a center of anti-Byzantine revolts. In the 13th century it was a bone of contention between Bulgaria, Serbia, Epiros, and Nicaea. From 1282 onward Skopje was in Serbian hands. In the second half of 1298 or in the winter of 1299, the Byzantine mission headed by Theodore Metochites arrived at Skopje to negotiate the marriage of Simonis with Stefan Urog II Milutin. Stefan Uroš IV Dušan was crowned at Skopje in 1346. The Turks occupied the city in 1391.
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Church of St. Panteleimon in Gorno Nerezi
Photo by Dominik Tefert
Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium edited by Alexander Kazhdan