Skopje is located in the north of the Republic of Macedonia, in the center of the Balkan peninsula, and halfway between Belgrade and Athens.The city is 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.It was known in the Roman period under the name Scupi.
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 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.
The subsoil contains a large water table which is alimented by the Vardar river and functions as an underground river. The water table is 4 to 12 m under the ground and 4 to 144 m deep.
In the Second World War the city was conquered by the Bulgarian Army, which was part of the Axis powers.
In 1944, it became the capital city of Democratic Macedonia (later Socialist Republic of Macedonia), which was a federal state, part of Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (later Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia).Nowadays, it flows into the Vardar near the ruins of Scupi.The city of Skopje comprises two artificial lakes, located on the Treska.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.The city developed rapidly after World War II, but this trend was interrupted in 1963 when it was hit by a disastrous earthquake.