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).
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 lake Matka is the result of the construction of a dam in the Matka Canyon in the 1930s, and the Treska lake was dug for leisure purpose in 1978.
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.
According to the last official count from 2002, Skopje has a population of 506,926 inhabitants; according to more recent unofficial estimates, the city has a population of 502,700 inhabitants.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.Several wells collect its waters but most of the drinking water used in Skopje comes from a karstic spring in Rašče, located west of the city.The Skopje valley is bordered on the West by the Šar Mountains, on the South by the Jakupica range, on the East by hills belonging to the Osogovo range, and on the North by the Skopska Crna Gora.