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Скопје
Skopje
Skyline of Skopje
Skyline of Skopje
Flag of СкопјеSkopje
Flag
Official seal of СкопјеSkopje
Seal
Location of the city of Skopje (green) in Macedonia
Location of the city of Skopje (green) in Macedonia
Country Republic of Macedonia
Municipality Greater Skopje
Area
 • City 1,854 km2 (716 sq mi)
Elevation 240 m (790 ft)
Population (2007)
 • City 700,000
 • Density 273.422/km2 (105.568/sq mi)
 • Metro 850,000
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
Postal codes 1000
Area code(s) 02
Website skopje.gov.mk
Patron saint: Virgin Mary

Skopje (Macedonian: Скопје; transcribed Skopje) is the capital and the largest city in the Republic of Macedonia. The city is the administrative, cultural, economic and academic centre of the country. In the past, the city has been known by various names such as: Üsküp (Turkish) or Skoplje (Serbo-Croatian). The city has been build upon the ancient city of Scupi. In 2002, the city had population of 506,926 citizens.

Geography

Topography

Skopje is located in the north of the country, in the center of the Balkan peninsula, and halfway between Belgrade and Athens. The city was built in the Skopje valley, oriented on a west-east axis, along the course of the Vardar river, which flows into the Aegean Sea in Greece. The valley is approximately 20 kilometres (12 miles) wide and it is limited by several mountain ranges to the North and South. These ranges limit the urban expansion of Skopje, which spreads along the Vardar and the Serava, a small river which comes from the North. In its administrative boundaries, the City of Skopje stretches for more than 33 kilometres (21 miles), but it is only 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) wide.

Wildflowers of Bardovci12
Landscape of the Skopje valley, near Bardovci.

Skopje is approximately 245 m above sea level and covers 571.46 km2. The urbanised area only covers 337 km2, with a density of 65 inhabitants per hectare. Skopje, in its administrative limits, encompasses many villages and other settlements, including Dračevo, Gorno Nerezi and Bardovci. According to the 2002 census, the City of Skopje comprised 506,926 inhabitants.

The City of Skopje reaches the Kosovo border to the North-East. Clockwise, it is also bordered by the Macedonian municipalities of Čučer-Sandevo, Lipkovo, Aračinovo, Ilinden, Studeničani, Sopište, Želino and Jegunovce.

Map City of Skopje en
The City of Skopje, its administrative limits are in red.

Hydrography

Skopje X31
The Vardar and the Stone Bridge, symbol of the city.

The Vardar river, which flows through Skopje, is at approximately 60 kilometres (37 miles) from its source near Gostivar. In Skopje, its average discharge is 51 m3/s, with a wide amplitude depending on seasons, between 99.6 m3/s in May and 18.7 m3/s in July. The water temperature is comprised between 4.6 °C in January and 18.1 °C in July.

Del od Skopje, 1950ti
The main river running through the center of Skopje c. 1950

Several rivers meet the Vardar within the city boundaries. The largest is the Treska, which is 130 kilometres (81 miles) long. It crosses the Matka Canyon before reaching the Vardar on the western extremity of the City of Skopje. The Lepenec, coming from Kosovo, flows into the Vardar on the northwestern end of the urban area. The Serava, also coming from the North, had flowed through the Old Bazaar until the 1960s, when it was diverted towards the West because its waters were very polluted. Originally, it met the Vardar close to the seat of the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Nowadays, it flows into the Vardar near the ruins of Scupi. Finally, the Markova Reka, the source of which is on Mount Vodno, meets the Vardar at the eastern extremity of the city. These three rivers are less than 70 kilometres (43 miles) long.

Кањон
The Matka Canyon and the Treska, on the western edge of the City of Skopje.

The city of Skopje comprises two artificial lakes, located on the Treska. The lake Matka is the result of the construction of a dam in the Matka Canyon in the 1930s, and the Treska lake was dug for leisure purpose in 1978. Three small natural lakes can be found near Smiljkovci, on the northeastern edge of the urban area.

The river Vardar historically caused many floods, such as in 1962, when its outflow reached 1110 m3/s−1. Several works have been carried since Byzantine times to limit the risks, and since the construction of the Kozjak dam on the Treska in 1994, the flood risk is close to zero.

The subsoil contains a large water table which is alimented by the Vardar river and functions as an underground river. Under the table lies an aquifer contained in marl. The water table is 4 to 12 m under the ground and 4 to 144 m deep. Several wells collect its waters but most of the drinking water used in Skopje comes from a karstic spring in Rašče, located west of the city.

Geology

Skopje X90
Mount Vodno as seen from the Stone Bridge.

The Skopje valley is bordered on the West by the Šar Mountains, on the South by the Jakupica range, on the East by hills belonging to the Osogovo range, and on the North by the Skopska Crna Gora. Mount Vodno, the highest point inside the city limits, is 1066 m high and is part of the Jakupica range.

Although Skopje is built on the foot of Mount Vodno, the urban area is mostly flat. It comprises several minor hills, generally covered with woods and parks, such as Gazi Baba hill (325 m), Zajčev Rid (327 m), the foothills of Mount Vodno (the smallest are between 350 and 400 m high) and the promontory on which Skopje Fortress is built.

Cave lake (8172274819)
A cave at the Matka Canyon.

The Skopje valley is located near a seismic fault between the African and Eurasian tectonic plates and experiences regular seismic activity. This activity in enhanced by the porous structure of the subsoil. Large earthquakes occurred in Skopje in 518, 1505 and 1963.

The Skopje valley belongs to the Vardar geotectonic region, the subsoil of which is formed of Neogene and Quaternary deposits. The substratum is made of Pliocene deposits including sandstone, marl and various conglomerates. It is covered by a first layer of Quaternary sands and silt, which is between 70 and 90 m deep. The layer is topped by a much smaller layer of clay, sand, silt and gravel, carried by the Vardar river. It is between 1.5 and 5.2 m deep.

In some areas, the subsoil is karstic. It led to the formation of canyons, such as the Matka Canyon, which is surrounded by ten caves. They are between 20 and 176 m deep.

Climate

The climate in North Macedonia and in Skopje in general is usually classified as continental sub-Mediterranean, with a mean annual temperature of 13.5 °C (56 °F). Precipitation is relatively low due to the pronounced rain shadow of the Prokletije mountains to the northwest, being significantly less than what is received on the Adriatic Sea coast at the same latitude. The summers are long, hot and relatively dry with low humidity. Skopje's average July high is 31 °C (88 °F). On average Skopje sees 88 days above 30 °C (86 °F) each year, and 10.2 days above 35.0 °C (95 °F) every year. Winters are short, relatively cold and wet. Snowfalls are common in the winter period, but heavy snow accumulation is rare and the snowcover lasts only for a few hours or a few days if heavy. In summer, temperatures are usually above 31 °C (88 °F) and sometimes above 40 °C (104 °F). In spring and autumn, the temperatures range from 15 to 24 °C (59 to 75 °F). In winter, the day temperatures are roughly in the range from 5–10 °C (41–50 °F), but at nights they often fall below 0 °C (32 °F) and sometimes below −10 °C (14 °F).

Nature and environment

Mt. Vodno1
Skopje as seen from Mount Vodno. The cable car cables are also visible.

The city of Skopje encompasses various natural environments and its fauna and flora are rich. However, it is threatened by the intensification of agriculture and the urban extension. The largest protected area within the city limits is Mount Vodno, which is a popular leisure destination. A cable car connects its peak to the downtown, and many pedestrian paths run through its woods. Other large natural spots include the Matka Canyon.

The city itself comprises several parks and gardens amounting to 4,361 hectares. Among these are the City Park (Gradski Park), built by the Ottoman Turks at the beginning of the 20th century; Žena Borec Park, located in front of the Parliament; the University arboretum; and Gazi Baba forest. Many streets and boulevards are planted with trees.

Skopje experiences many environmental issues which are often overshadowed by the economic poverty of the country. However, alignment of Macedonian law on European law has brought progress in some fields, such as water and waste treatment, and industrial emissions. Skopje remains one of the most polluted cities in the world, topping the ranks in December 2017.

Steel processing, which a crucial activity for the local economy, is responsible for soil pollution with heavy metals such as lead, zinc and cadmium, and air pollution with nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide. Vehicle traffic and district heating plants are also responsible for air pollution. The highest pollution levels usually occur in autumn and winter.

Water treatment plants are being built, but much polluted water is still discharged untreated into the Vardar. Waste is disposed of in the open-air municipal landfill site, located 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) north of the city. Every day, it receives 1,500 m3 of domestic waste and 400 m3 of industrial waste. Health levels are better in Skopje than in the rest of North Macedonia, and no link has been found between the low environmental quality and the health of the residents.

Urban pollution ,Градско загадување
Pollution contributors in the area of Skopje

Sister and partner cities

Skopje is twinned with:

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