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Stobi (Municipium Stobensium)

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Main commercial and cultural centre in the region during the Roman Empire 

At the outfall of the river Vardar with Crna Reka spread on three terraces is  located the ancient city of Stobi. Through the valleys of the rivers Vardar  and Morava were passing the main roads of the Balkan Peninsula, that were  connecting the areas of the north Balkan with the Mediterranean countries  since prehistoric time. Through this roads were passing the culture  influences from south to north and vice versa, so this area was inhabited  since the Neolithic period and a proof for that are the ceramic archeological  findings from this time.

The city was founded in 359 BC and was living and developing till 6th century  AD. With the arrival of the Romans and the victory of the Macedonian king  Persej, Macedonia is divided in four areas, and Stobi become commercial and  culture centre in the third area. When Macedonia became a Roman province,  Stobi gets rang of a municipium (main administration centre).

The biggest progress of the city of Stobi was in the early and middle Roman  period when it was an important and influential city, and later became an  Episcopal seat. It began to decay with the pillage of the troops of  Theodoric, and after that followed the suffering from the powerful earthquake  in 518 (in witch also suffers Scupi) and at the end finishes its history with  the Avaro – Slavic invasions in the 6th century.

This is one of the richest archeological localities in Macedonia – beside the  great number of findings of ceramics, metal tools and jewelry, also are well  known many representative objects of profane and sacral character: a theatre,  baths, forum, private mansions, basilicas and so on.

The north basilica is an early Christian basilica with developed surface that  contains in its structure a baptiserium where were baptized the new followers  of the Christian religion. The church is raised on the place of an older  object that probably had a sacral function. Besides this one, there is also a  civil basilica and a basilica synagogue that shows that in Stobi exited a  Jewish community. South of the synagogue is the House of the Psalms, famous  for the luxurious mosaic floor in the central room in witch as early  Christian motives are met deer, puddle birds and geometric ornaments. All  this indicates that this mansion belonged to the church or to some of the  church man.

One of the most luxurious mansions discovered so far in Stobi is the Palace  of Theodosius where it is supposed that was staying the Roman emperor  Theodosius first during his visit of the city. It is wealthy decorated palace  with marble and mosaic floors, a pool around witch are standing eight marble  pedestals with statues, and gorgeous flower terraces. With similar form, next  to this palace is the House of Partenius, who was built and decorated  modestly. The House of Peristerius was a living complex for several families  with big opened yard decorated with fountains. Also in this house are present  the rich mosaic floors and the marble decorations.
In the city also exited thermae (baths) built in the style of the late  antique baths, with rooms for cold, warm and hot water. The heat was  transferred with the ancient system of central heating called hypocaust.
The Ancient Theatre of Stobi had a capacity of 7638 viewers, and in it,  besides the theatre performances also there were fights with wild animals and  gladiators. With the recognition of the Christianity as state religion, the  Roman emperor Constantine the Great prohibits this kind of performances.
Beside the luxurious mosaic floors from the early Christian period, Stobi  also leaves to us other artistic remains, like the statue of the emperor  Hadrian, a marble head of a girl, the statue of Axlepius and others.

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