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Kale Fortress or Skopje Fortress (Скопско Кале)

Kale Fortress or Skopje Fortress




Location: Skopje  Map

Constructed: 6th century AD










Kale Fortress or Skopje Fortress is a medieval citadel situated in Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia. The first human settlement dates back to the Neolithic times 6000 years ago. Roman Empire conquered these lands and established their town of Skupi. However it was destroyed in the earthquake in 518. Emperor Justinian did not wait too long and ordered construction of another military fortifications. Most of the castle that you see today was constructed in the 10th and 11th centuries. Skopje Fortress fell to the invading armies of the Ottoman Turks in the 15th century. They constructed a mosque on the citadel hill as an imposing reminder of their power. Today Kale Fortress underwent a massive reconstruction as well as archeological digs that reveals earlier layers of the castle.




As the highest point in the city, the fortress has always been appreciated by the locals. Neighborhoods existed there before the walls were built. The earliest known inhabitants of the site lived in the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, 4,000 BC. The fortress we see today was first built in Byzantine times (6th century), with 121-meter-long stone walls. According to archaeologists, the stone blocks from which the fortress was built were taken from the destroyed town of Skupi below.

Protection and recovery
Due to the strategic location of the site, the fortress was built, demolished and partitioned many times by various invaders. After the Skopje earthquake in 1963, the circular and square towers of the fortress were protected and restored.

The fortress today
Kale is one of the most popular places to visit in Skopje. The fortress offers a fantastic view of the city as well as the opportunity to reach the Old Skopje Bazaar within minutes. Concerts and theater performances are held here in summer.

Archaeological excavations
Archaeological excavations at Skopje Fortress began on 14 May 2007. The sheer volume of research (around 300 people engaged) and the heavily exposed location of the center of Skopje itself are of great interest to the public, tourists and the media.





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