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The valley is approximately 20 kilometres (12 miles) wide and it is limited by several mountain ranges to the North and South.These ranges limit the urban expansion of Skopje, which spreads along the Vardar and the Serava, a small river which comes from the North.The town stayed under Turkish control for over 500 years, serving as the capital of pashasanjak of Üsküb and later the Vilayet of Kosovo.At that time the city was famous for its oriental architecture and after the First World War the city became part of the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Kingdom of Yugoslavia).Nowadays, it flows into the Vardar near the ruins of Scupi.The city of Skopje comprises two artificial lakes, located on the Treska.It crosses the Matka Canyon before reaching the Vardar on the western extremity of the City of Skopje.The Lepenec, coming from Kosovo, flows into the Vardar on the northwestern end of the urban area.
The subsoil contains a large water table which is alimented by the Vardar river and functions as an underground river. The water table is 4 to 12 m under the ground and 4 to 144 m deep.
Skopje is located in the north of the Republic of Macedonia, in the center of the Balkan peninsula, and halfway between Belgrade and Athens.
The city is built in the Skopje valley, oriented on a west-east axis, along the course of the Vardar river, which flows into the Aegean Sea in Greece.
It was known in the Roman period under the name Scupi.
The territory of Skopje has been inhabited since at least 4000 BC; remains of Neolithic settlements have been found within the old Kale Fortress that overlooks the modern city centre.