In Roman times Stobi was the largest city in the northern part of the province of Macedonia. The city was probably built in the Hellenistic period, during the 3rd-2nd century B.B. at the earliest.
After the discovery of several inscriptions, at the beginning of the 20th century, it was suggested that here were the remains of the ancient city of Stobi. But until WWI there were no indications of the existence of monumental buildings. The military trenches prompted the first excavations on the site by the German and Bulgarian armies, but systematic archaeological began only in 1924.
Today it is possible to se the remains of many buildings, such as the theatre, the casino, the prison and more. There is also a museum on the site. Here you can see a collection of finds from several phases of the life of the city, from the Hellenistic through the Early Roman period to the Late Antique.
You can easily spend several hours at the site if you want to study the entire site. On the site there is also a shop where you can buy a guidebook or souvenirs and a café if you need something to drink.
It is possible to get a guided tour by one of the staff members, who will tell you a lot about the place. In our case way too much. After half an hour we had only seen one building so we decided to walk around by ourselves. Otherwise it would literally have taken all day.
As I had a person by my side to interpret I actually don't know whether they could make the tour around the site in English or other languages.
Both Heraclea and Stobi are known for their mosaics. And now you need to add the ones recently uncovered at Plaoshnik near Ohrid. There are more recent attempts to record and protect the mosaics, which will help preserve the legacy for future generations.
In Stobi you will find the archeological remains of an ancient civilization (3rd century BC). There is an amphitheater, and the remains of many buildings, several of which have lovely tile mosaics. The inspiration for the picure on the 10 denar note comes from one of the mosaics here. Can you find it ?
(note: for freeze protection purposes the mosaics are covered with pebbles in winter - starting in October and ending in ??)
This picture shows the entrance you use to get to the seats.
Roman Stobi dates from 197 BC, but the site dates even before the Roman rule. Artifacts ranging from the Neolithic to Iron Age, have also been found at or near Stobi.
The baptistry was the highlight for me at Stobi -- not only were the mosaics wonderful, but it was under cover on a very hot day!!
The sign in the picture gives some basic information. For my pictures of the baptistry please visit the travelougue.
When we visited Stobi in May 2008, there was a recent excavation.
The new excavation is east of the Civil Basilica.
If you know what they're digging up here, please let me know!
Close to the Northern entrance and the museum, is a small Lapidarium, where several (tomb)stones and other pieces of stone are on display.
This structure dates from the 4th to 6th century.
It is named Casino after the gambling equipment and dice that were found on a mosaic floor in the guest room.
This wall was built in the 4th century AD on the remains of some older objects because of the reduction of the city area.
Its function ended in the 6th century.
The Prison Area can be found between the Theodosian Palace and the Episcopal Residence.
It is a vaulted basement area from the 6th century, where a number of chained skeletons have been found.
The City Fountain is located on a small square created by the streets Via Axia and Via Principalis Inferior.
This should be plural as they have discovered the foundations of TWO basilicae here. Unfortunately there is not currently enough money to finish the excavation.
The seats are not numbered, BUT many of the better seats have names carved in them -- talk about a season ticket!!!!
This seems to be the bottom of a column. Inside the circle you see a snake emerging from a cross. This was the insignia for the "asclepion" -- or healing center.
You will find plenty of columns and archeological bits and pieces at Stobi. This column has an Ionic capital. You will also see Doric and Corinthian. The Romans liked them all!!