Skopje is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Macedonia. It is the country's political, cultural, economic, and academic center. Skopje is located on the upper course of the Vardar River. It is a center for metal-processing, chemical, timber, textile, leather, and printing industries. Industrial development of the city has been accompanied by development of the trade, logistics, and banking sectors, as well as an emphasis on the fields of culture and sport. According to the last official count from 2002, Skopje has a population of 506,926 inhabitants.
The territory of Skopje has been inhabited since at least 4000 BC; remains of Neolithic settlements have been found within the old Kale Fortress that overlooks the modern city centre. It was known in the Roman period under the name Scupi and became later under Byzantine rule from Constantinople. From 1282, the town was part of the Serbian Empire and acted as its capital city from 1346. In 1392, the city was conquered by the Ottoman Turks who renamed the town Üsküp. The town stayed under Ottoman control over 500 years, serving as the capital of pashasanjak of Üsküb. At that time the city was famous for its oriental architecture. In 1912, it was annexed by the Kingdom of Serbia during the Balkan Wars. In the Second World War the city was conquered by the Bulgarian Army. In 1944, it became the capital city of Democratic Macedonia, which was a federal state, part of Democratic Federal Yugoslavia. The city developed rapidly after World War II, but this trend was interrupted in 1963 when it was hit by a disastrous earthquake. In 1991, it became the capital city of an independent Macedonia.