Skopje is the capital and largest city in the Republic of Macedonia, with more than a quarter of the population of the country, as well as the political, cultural, economical and academic centre of the country.It was known from the Roman period under the name Scupi. The city developed rapidly after World War II, but this trend was interrupted in 1963 when it was hit by a disastrous earthquake. Today Skopje is a modern city with a range of cultural monuments.
Skopje is located on the upper course of the Vardar River and is located on a major north-south Balkan route between Central Europe and Athens. It has 506,926 inhabitants (2002 census). It is a major centre for the metal-processing, chemical, timber, textile, leather, and printing industries but has suffered many closures since 1991. Industrial development of the city has been accompanied by developments of the trade and banking sectors, as well as an emphasis on the fields of culture and sport.
Skopje is located in the north of the Republic of Macedonia. The city is approximately 245m above sea level and covers 571.46 km2. The urbanised area only covers 337 km2, with a density of 65 inhabitants per hectare. The Vardar river, which flows through Skopje, is at approximately 60 km from its source near Gostivar. In Skopje, its average discharge is at 51 m3/s−1, with a wide amplitude depending on seasons, between 99.6 m3/s−1 in May and 18.7 m3/s−1 in July. The water temperature is comprised between 4.6 °C in January and 18.1 °C in July. 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 the 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 Ottomans at the beginning of the 20th century, Žena Borec Park, located in front the Parliament, the University arbortum and Gazi Baba forest.
The urban morphology of Skopje was deeply impacted by the 1963 earthquake which destroyed 80% of the city and by the reconstruction that followed. For instance, neighbourhoods were rebuilt in such a way that the demographic density remains low to limit the impact of potential future earthquakes. Reconstruction following the 1963 earthaquake was mainly conducted by the Polish architect Adolf Ciborowski, who had already planned the reconstruction of Warsaw after World War II. Ciborowski divided the city in blocks dedicated to specific activities. The banks of the Vardar river became natural areas and parks, areas located between the main boulevards were built wis highrise housing buildings and shopping malls, and the suburbs were left to individual housing and industry. Reconstruction had to be quick in order to relocate families and to relaunch the local economy. To stimulate economic development, the number of thoroughfares was increased and future urban extension was anticipated.
As the capital and largest city of Macedonia, Skopje has many major sporting facilities. The city has three large swimming pools, two of which feature Olympic pools. These pools are particularly relevant to coaching water polo teams. Skopje also boasts many football stadiums, like Ilinden in Čair and Železarnica, which can accommodate between 4,000 and 4,500 spectators. The basketball court Kale can accommodate 5 000 people and the court of Jane Sandanski, 4000 people. Тhe largest stadium remains the Philip II Arena. The stadium, built in 1947 and named until 2008, City Stadium Skopje experienced a total renovation, begun in 2009 to meet the standards of FIFA. Fully renovated the stadium contains 32,580 seats, and a health spa and fitness. The Boris Trajkovski Sports Center it's the largest sports complex in the country. It was opened in 2008 and named after president Boris Trajkovski, who died in 2004. It includes room dedicated to handball, basketball and volleyball, a bowling alley, a fitness area and an ice hockey court. Its main hall, which regularly hosts concerts, holds around 10,000 people.

Thursday the 22nd