Skopje, the capital and largest city in the Republic of Macedonia, was known as Skupi in the Roman era. The city recovered and developed rapidly after World War II, but was hit by a disastrous earthquake in 1963 which brought the city down to its knees. However, it survived that too, and now it is a modern city located on the upper course of the Vardar River. It is situated on a major north-south Balkan route between Central Europe and Athens.