Stobi - History and Facts | History Hit


Gradsko, Vardar Region, Macedonia

Stobi in Macedonia was an ancient settlement of Paeonia before becoming a Roman city.

Peta Stamper

24 Jun 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Stobi

Once the capital of the kingdom of Paeonia, Stobi was located along a busy trade route and thrived as a commercial hub specialising in the trade of salt. Stobi reached its peak in the 3rd or 4th century AD and today is one of Macedonia’s most famous archaeological sites.

The city sits on 3 terraces circled by walls and tells the colourful story of Roman, Byzantine and Slavic settlers each who have left their mark on Stobi.

Stobi history

Whilst the first mention of Stobi dates back to the 2nd century BC, it is thought to have been founded several centuries – perhaps three or four – prior to this. The settlement was an ancient town of Paeonia and was annexed by Philip V of Macedon in 200 BC, as mentioned by the historian Livy. Stobi was at the time a significant economic, strategic trading centre largely because it was positioned along the Danube and Aegean Sea.

In the later 2nd century BC, Stobi came under Roman rule and in 69 AD, under the Emperor Vespasian, it was expanded to become a municipium. The Romans bestowed upon Stobi the rights of Lus Italicum, which without giving the inhabitants citizenship meant they were not just an occupied territory.

The ancient city continued to flourish up to the 6th century AD, when it was an important Christian site that left behind a wealth of preserved mosaics.

Stobi today

Nowadays, the archaeological site of Stobi houses a wealth of ancient ruins, including the remains of palaces, baths, streets, temples and a 2nd century AD theatre – undoubtedly the focal point of your visit to Stobi. Most of the ruins date back to the 3rd century AD, although some, like the theatre, were built earlier. There are also several well-preserved vivid mosaics throughout the site as well as remnants of early Christianity such as numerous basilicas and even an ancient synagogue.

Getting to Stobi

Positioned in central Macedonia, Stobi is close to the town of Kavadarci, Negotino, and Veles. You can get here by taxi  from Kavadarci (around 20 kilometres). Driving from the capital Skopje is also easy which takes exactly an hour. Veles is even closer, and the E75 corridor makes Stobi easily approachable with signs everywhere.

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Macedonian Historic Sites

Known as the Republic of Macedonia until 2019, North Macedonia's ancient history and multifaceted culture is home to a number of interesting historic sites.