The archaeological site of the Antique Roman city of Skupi is located 3 km (1.8 m) north of Skopje, near the villages of Bardovci and Zlokukani. First mentioned in the year 3 B.C.E. and founded by the Dardanians, it quickly developed into an important regional center when the Romans made it the capital of their Dardanian Province.

With the creation of a Christian episcopacy a few centuries later, the city's economical and cultural importance grew yet again. A disastrous earthquake in 518 C.E. destroyed the city, but later a new town was built on top of the rubble, named Justiniana Prima after its founder, the famous Byzantine emperor Justinian.

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