Skopje Fortress

Skopje, North Macedonia

The Skopje Fortress, commonly referred to as Kale, is situated on the highest point in the city overlooking the Vardar River. The fortress is depicted on the coat of arms of Skopje, which in turn is incorporated in the city's flag.

The first fortress was built in 6th century AD on a land that was inhabited during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages (roughly 4000 BC onwards). It was constructed with yellow limestone and travertine, along with fragments of Latin inscriptions. Material for the fortress originated from the Roman city of Skupi, which was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 518.

The fortress is thought to have been built during the rule of emperor Justinian I and constructed further during the 10th and 11th centuries over the remains of emperor Justinian's Byzantine fortress which may have been destroyed due to a number of wars and battles in the region. The city was capital of the First Bulgarian Empire between 992 and 1015, and was center of the uprising of the Bulgarian Empire against the Byzantine Empire under the rule of Peter Delyan. Not much is known about the Medieval fortress apart from a few documents which outline minor characteristics in the fortress' appearance.

In 1346 at the Skopje Fortress, Stefan Dušan adopted the title of Emperor at his coronation and he had transferred the capital of Serbian Empire to Skopje.

The fortress was partially destroyed yet again by an earthquake in 1963 but was not reconstructed until recently.



Your name


Founded: 10th century AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in North Macedonia

More Information


4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

TheMirsinho (2 years ago)
The ammount of potential this place has is just insane. Such an intact fortress of great age, but not enough care nor attention from the local or state authorities. There is trash all over it, some objects are closed off, some aren't even accessible, and what's worst, there isn't a single info tab / sign about the fortress. The view is also amazing.
SIAAGSG A (2 years ago)
I am afraid it's not well maintained. And you have to exit where you entered. All the other gates are blocked for some reason. We were expecting like kalemegdan in Belgrade Serbia. It would have been alot more exciting to discover If it had well looked after.
Andrea Penso (3 years ago)
From the outside the fortress appears in all its majesty and it brings in you the desire to visit it. Quite complicated to reach the entrance from the city, maybe because was getting the dark and the lights are not enough. When inside the lights were even less and the fortress itself had nothing particular apart from wild nature growing everywhere. Disappointing.
Michael Andryuk (3 years ago)
A beautiful but ill-kept fortress. There are a lot of nooks and crenulations to explore and neat towers that you can investigate. The park is open until 2000 (8pm) so you can check it out at sunset for some great shots of Skopje! The fortress also hosts live events, like music. However, the grounds are very ill kept in many areas, overgrow with weeds and the steps are poor and dangerous for people with acess needs. Still a cool spot, just be aware!
Bojan Jovanoski (3 years ago)
Very good place to go there. Many beautiful things to see. I recommend for parents and little children to go and visit. It is very clean place to make a picnic
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of St Donatus

The Church of St Donatus name refers to Donatus of Zadar, who began construction on this church in the 9th century and ended it on the northeastern part of the Roman forum. It is the largest Pre-Romanesque building in Croatia.

The beginning of the building of the church was placed to the second half of the 8th century, and it is supposed to have been completed in the 9th century. The Zadar bishop and diplomat Donat (8th and 9th centuries) is credited with the building of the church. He led the representations of the Dalmatian cities to Constantinople and Charles the Great, which is why this church bears slight resemblance to Charlemagne"s court chapels, especially the one in Aachen, and also to the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna. It belongs to the Pre-Romanesque architectural period.

The circular church, formerly domed, is 27 m high and is characterised by simplicity and technical primitivism.