Stobi was the capital of the Macedonia Secunda province during the Roman times. It was one of the most important ancient capitals in the region, lying on the route that connected the Danube River with the Aegean Sea. In just one hour driving away from Skopje and 120 denars (2 EUR), you can get an ultimate glimpse of history.
Historical sites in Stobi
The Northern Basilica has three main parts: a narthex, an exonarthex separated by colonnades and an atrium constructed mostly of marble. In the northern part there is a baptistry and in the southern part are Slavic graves. The church, which was built at the beginning of the 5th century, can be entered from the street Via Principalis Inferior. The Civil Basilica is south of the north basilica and was discovered in 1937. In 1956 archaeologists found that there were seven building phases. Between the North and Civil Basilicas are the ancient Thermae Minores, or “Little Baths” made of stone blocks.
The Central Basilica and synagogue can be entered from the Via Principalis street. The Central Basilica was built on a synagogue at the beginning of the 5th century and had two building phases. The floor of the synagogue was discovered 1.5 m (4.9 ft) under the level of the Central Basilica. Dating from the 4th century, it was built on an older synagogue from the 3rd century, created by the father of the Synagogue of Stobi, Tiberius Claudius Polycharmos. Inside were two vases dating from 121 to 125.
The House of the Psalms, in front of the Central Basilica, has a central room with a mosaic floor, a room with colonnades, a big pool and columns in the western part of the yard.
Via Axia is one of the main streets in Stobi, oriented east-west. Only a small part of the street has been discovered.
The Main Town Public Fountain is located on a small square created by the streets Via Axia and Via Principalis Inferior.
The Magnae Thermae, or Big Bath, discovered in 1931, consisted of two rooms: one large room with a statue and a pool made of stone blocks. The reconstructed bath was in use until the late 6th century.
Via Principalis Inferior was a major street of the city running from the central basilica to the main town fountain, then to house of Partenius, the ‘Palace of Theodosius’ and the house of Psalms.
The House of Peristerius was a large living complex for several families and also had rooms for shops. The Peristerius family owned the rooms in the southern part of the complex. The central part of this complex is a yard under open sky, with fountains on the western side. In the eastern part is an excellent example of floor mosaics and in the middle there is a fountain made of marble. The complex and the mosaics date from the late 4th or the early 5th century. The Via Theodosia street is parallel to Via Axia and it is located between the house of Peristerius and the ‘palace of Theodosius’.
The Palace of Theodosius was where the emperor Theodosius first stayed while in Stobi. The floor is covered with marble blocks and the peristyle with mosaics in the technique opus sectile. The other rooms are also decorated, dating from the 4th to the 5th century.
The House of Partenius is located near the southern part of the Palace of Theodosius, and is connected to it by a wall making it into an L-shaped building.
Valavica (Domus Fullonica) is a complex of connected shops and residences, built on older objects. The name describes only an earlier phase of the complex, as later in the 5th century there was also a workshop for painting and making carpets. The complex was in use from the 1st century to the 6th century.
The Episcopal Basilica, dating from the 5th and 6th centuries, with a baptistery to the south. A peacock from the baptistery’s mosaic floor is depicted on the reverse of the Macedonian 10 denars banknote, issued in 1996, and of the 10 denars coin, issued in 2008.