Kale Fortress in Skopje's old town, Macedonia

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The Skopje Fortress, commonly referred to as Kale Fortress, or simply Kale (from kale, the Turkish word for 'fortress'), is a historic fortress located in the old town of Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia. It 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 had been inhabited during the Neolithic and Bronze ages or roughly 4000 BC It was constructed with yellow limestone and travertine and along with fragments of Latin inscriptions, assert the idea that the 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, such as that 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 late 2006 and early 2007, research and excavation of the Skopje Fortress funded by the Macedonian government had finally commenced. Researchers discovered woodwind instruments and clay ornaments dating as far back as 3000 B.O.T. Excavation of the main fortress also revealed houses below the fortress' visible level. The discoveries are believed to have belonged to inhabitants of Scupi on which the fortress was built. Archaeological excavations continued in 2009.
In May 2010, archeologists unearthed the largest stash of Byzantine coins ever found in Macedonia at the fortress.
After the foundations of a 13th century church (in fact, one of three) were found within the complex, the Cultural Heritage Protection Office actioned a project to restore it in the form of a church museum. Ethnic Albanian groups, with DUI at the forefront, claimed the site contained an older Illyrian structure, and that by virtue of their claimed Illyrian ancestry, that the site should be theirs.
On February 10, 2011, late at night, a crowd of about 100 ethnic Albanians converged on the site, some of which then proceeded to destroy and vandalized parts of the scaffolding, the same day restoration was resumed. According to media footage, high-ranking ethnic Albanian ministers and members of DUI leadership were among the crowd. Two weeks prior to the event, DUI spokespeople had demanded the termination of the project. During the next two days, Macedonians on Facebook called on each other to converge on the site and protect the site and its workers. Members of both groups arrived almost simultaneously on February 13 and a violent clash erupted, leaving around 10 injured, including 2 policemen.
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