Ancient Cities in Macedonia
The geographical area known as Macedonia, literally at the heart of the crossroads between the west and the east, had thriving civilizations and has been a hub for economic activity as early as the 7th Millennium BC. There are many ancient cities, towns and settlements that existed, and much of our knowledge of these ancient civilizations results from archaeological digs.
Circa 5th Century B.C. the Paeonians settled into parts of Macedonia and it is believed that the center of their kingdom Astibus now lies under the modern city of Štip. Near Sveti Nikola is the Paeonian city of Bylazora and near Valandovo is the ancient Paeonian town Idomenae. Stobi, maybe the most prominent ancient town of Paeonia, is strategically located and thrived until the 6th Century A.D. when an earthquake and subsequent invasions left it in ruins. Visiting Stobi you can see that it was not a far walk between the casino or the amphitheater and the jail.
In the 4th century B.C., Phillip II of Macedon extended his kingdom to include the Lynkestis (Lynchestia) kingdom and here he built the city Heraklea Lynkestis in honor of the Greek hero Hercules. Heraklea is located just a few kilometers from the modern town of Bitola and is open to the public.
The ancient city of Lychnidos, though currently very much under the present city of Ohrid, has parts that are still visible such as the Amphitheater, a Christian Basilica and a Baptistery.
In the 2nd Century B.C. the Romans added the Macedonian Province, and the with the construction of highway Via Egnatia the cities of Lynchidos (Ohrid) and Heraklea Lynkestis (Bitola) were connected with the rest of the Roman Empire’s eastern provinces. Today ‘s capital of Macedonia, Skopje, began as a military camp at this time and later in 1st Century A.D. the town of Scupi was created.
During the Byzantine Empire, the town of Bargala near modern day Štip was created between 4th & 6th Century A.D.