Skopje is the capital of and largest city in the Republic of Macedonia, with more than a quarter of the population of the country, as well as its political, cultural, economic, and academic centre. It was known in the Roman period under the name Scupi. The city developed rapidly after World War II, but this trend was interrupted in 1963 when it was hit by a disastrous earthquake. Today Skopje is a modern city with a wide range of cultural monuments.
According to the 2002 census, it has approximately 500 000 inhabitants and is a center for metal-processing, chemical, timber, textile, leather, and printing industries. Industrial development of the city has been accompanied by development of the trade, logistics, and banking sectors, as well as an emphasis on the fields of culture and sport. Since the 1990s the city's position as a transportation hub is increasing in Southeast Europe since it stands at an intersection of two main European transport corridors - Corridor VIII (East-West) and Corridor X (North-South). This significance of the city has been enhanced by the construction of new highways on the two transversals, the new Skopje ring road, and the ongoing extension and modernization of Skopje Alexander the Great Airport.