Home Monuments and Culture Monuments and archaeological sites

Мonuments and archaeological sites - Stories

Article Index
Мonuments and archaeological sites
NEGOTINO
DEMIR KAPIJA
SOPOT
STOBI
VILLAGE KURIJA
Stories
All Pages

 

BRICKS MADE OF WINE

 

Turkish documents about the history of Macedonian people provide much useful information about the structure and number of population, but also about the size and type of agricultural products in Tikvesh “kaza” (administration unit). These documents show the importance of grape growing in this area and that it was the leading crop and there was hardly a settlement in Tikvesh region where grape growing was not present.

Among the registered exceptionally fruitful years was 1860. Only in Kavadarci that year more than 2.000.000 oka of grapes was harvested, which is a large quantity for an extensive grape growing activity. It was a fruitful year also in villages that had grape growing as a major agricultural activity: Hohovo, Sopot, Resava, Vatasha, Dabnishte etc.

Village of Resava also had a rich grape harvest. Grape growers sold part of the grape on the markets in Bitola, Prilep, Krushevo and Kichevo, a part of it was left for making wine and brandy. Resava’ villagers that year have filled all the pots they had in the houses with wine. They sold some of the wine but still had abundance. In order to prevent the wine from turning into acid, few Resava vintners started making bricks (made of mud) with wine believing that wine bricks will be stronger and will last longer. Such were houses of Ilo Bikov, Dafche Kareov, Vasil Drvarov, Trajche Klincharov and other whose houses were made with wine bricks. Today in Resava you could still see the remains of houses built with wine bricks, and their color is Bordeaux red.

 

TIKVES WINE YOU COULD CARRY IN TOWEL

 

Famous Russian traveler, lawyer, publicist and public figure Alexander Bashmakov (also known by the pseudonym Oleg Vishtij), has shown great interest about Balkan peninsula since young age, which was probably one of the reasons why he moved from Sankt Petersburg to Odessa. One of more important books he wrote was published in 1885 under the title “Bulgaria and Macedonia” in Russian language. In this book he described his stay in Kavadarci and Vatasha. He wrote that climate in Tikvesh region was much warmer than the one along river Vardar. He was admiring the green and vastness of Tikvesh vineyards, pride of the population in this region. During his conversation with locals he understood their love and knowledge for cultivating of the vineyards, but the Tikvesh wine, that he has only heard of before that and now had the chance to taste,  made the greatest impression. He came in Kavadarci mid September when harvest had already begun and the whole town smelled of fresh must and clouds of bees and wasps were collecting sugar from sweet grape berries.

Bashmakov had the fortune to be invited to attend a wedding in Kavadarci, where wine and brandy were served in abundance. He noticed that people in Kavadarci drank rakija from wine glasses and wine from karta (special wine container made of wood). Wine that he tasted at the wedding was really excellent and inspired the traveler to give a toast to the newlyweds. After blessing the bride and the groom he paid a lot of attention to the Tikvesh wine for which he said that he had traveled through the world and have never found such a good wine anywhere else. He said about the wine that it had taste he will never forget and it was so thick you could carry it in a towel.

 

 

ALEXANDER THE GREAT AND TIKVES WINE

 

By the end of July 335 B.C. Alexander the Great has moved his large army towards the Agrians and Paeans, area which was controlled by Pella. According to the historian G. Hammond, Alexander was going through Astibo towards Stobi and stopped near the inflow of Axis (today’s Crna River) into Erigon (Vardar River). He stayed for a while in the antique city of Eudarist and after several days continued along the valley of river Axis. In Tikvesh region Alexander had the opportunity to taste for the first time great wines from Tikvesh, as he had never tasted before. Antique historian Diodor Sicilian in the biography of Alexander of Macedonia has mentioned on several occasions that wine was favorite drink of Alexander of Macedonia. Alexander had special servant whose primary duty was to serve him with wine. Historian Plutarch in Alexander the Great biography writes that famous conqueror always had a cup of wine with him even when he was talking to his guests or his army leaders. Antique Macedonians have exercised their cult to wine even in burial rituals. One of the characteristics of Macedonian burial rituals is placing personal items, usually the favorite ones, mostly used during lifetime, in the grave with the deceased. It is very interesting the fact that in almost every grave of a Macedonian solder, the cup he used to drink wine from was put in the grave with him.

One tale says that when Alexander was coming back from the conquests to his native Pella, he frequently treated his solders for the success accomplished, with wine brought from behind the mountains of his seat, and behind those mountains is Tikvesh valley known for its beautiful vineyards and excellent wines.

 

 

TALE OF WINE

 

Wine in ancient times was the drink of the masses, and was used both by rich and poor. It served as currency and one could pay the tax to the state with wine. Wine as a drink is found in many Macedonian folk tales, legends and traditions, and often in Macedonian folklore. In many beautiful Macedonian folks songs wine is described as a drink for all celebrations but also a drink for consolation during sorrow and grief.

There is Macedonian folk tale which is passed on from generation to generation and which tells the history of the genesis of the wine. Its content is rich in folk wisdom, but with plenty of humor because wine consumption makes people happy, but sometimes with uncontrolled and funny behavior.

In the famous legend of Grandpa Noah, as he discovered the wine he says: Grandpa Noah found the vine, have cut a few sprouts and planted them. When he was planting the sprouts instead of water he poured blood on them and that is why wine is red. But the blood was a mix of chicken, lion and pig’s blood and when he poured it he blessed it with these words: “When you drink from the wine made by this vineyard’s grape at the beginning you will be joyful and singing like the chicken. Who drinks more will be courageous and brave as a lion and who exaggerates and drinks more then he should, will be rolling like a pig to be mocked by the whole world.

Text author

Petre Kamchevski, advisor curator-historian