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KAVADARCI 


Important archaeological sites in Kavadarci

 

E u d a r i s t. Is archeological site located on the left side of Kavadarci-Prilep road about 2 km north of village Drenovo. Eudarist was one of the major antique settlements in this part of Macedonia and was spread on the area of 17 ha. Although still insufficiently explored it is known that it dates from 6th century B.C., existed for several centuries, and was known as Devol-city in Middle Ages. It lays over a hill above Drenovo Gorge. Location and size of this settlement gives indication that maybe it was the seat of Kingdom of Paionians (ethnic group living in Macedonia in the antique period). Regretfully, this archeological site is still insufficiently explored and unknown to wider public, even to scientific circles. At the base of the settlement was discovered a small temple dedicated to god Dion or Dionysius, which is especially important for the area of vineyards where whole temples were dedicated to one of the most worshiped gods in ancient mythology. Until present day, they discovered large number of paionic bronze coins with inscription PAIONON, and also were found mobile monument material, stone plastic, kapitels (upper decorative part of the colon), ceramics etc. In summer 1932 Serbian archeologist Nikola Vulik has discovered here parts of marble horseman, which were taken along with other artifacts to Belgrade.

 

Belgrad, antique settlement around 5,5 km east of Kavadarci in vineyards of “Belgrad” - the economic operator with the same title. This site was registered in the archeological map of Tikvesh in 1975 under no. 172/1 and designated as Roman necropolis in documentation of RZZSK Skopje. Site is spreading over 1 ha of land where more then 40 stela (antique tomb stone) were discovered, some of them with impressive size. This settlement existed in antique period, and near settlement of Hohovo in the Middle Ages, area known for quality production of grapes. Population of settlement of Belgrad was mentioned in the beautiful Macedonian song “Biljana platno beleshe” (Biljana was bleaching cloth) and vintners from Belgrade are vintners from the settlement of Belgrad where people always produced good grapes and wine

 

More important churches and monasteries in Kavadarci

Church St. Dimitrija was built in 1834 by the initiative of rich Kavadarci trader Dime Vlekov, who went all the way to Carigrad and got a ferman (document) from the Sultan granting Christians from Kavadarci the right to build a church. Since Kavadarci’s beys (Turkish aristocrats) harshly opposed to build it in town center, they found a compromising solution to locate it to the west at the outskirts of the town and not taller then minarets of mosques in town. Interior of the church was modest in decoration, because according to Turkish religious believes, it was not allowed for Christian religious objects to be more beautiful and richer then Muslim ones. Bell tower was as tall as the church and was re-constructed to the needed height even after the Balkan wars. Church represents thee-shipped basilica, 34 m long with priprata (church porch) and 16 m wide. Today it has 111 icons, out of which 56 are from the church of St. Mina in Gornikovo and there are also icons from the church of St. Troica from v. Brushani.

 

Church of St. Bogorodica in Vatasha was built at the initiative of Hadzi Kole, respected and wealthy trader and renter, who bribed the Thessaloniki valija (head of large administration unit) to get the permission to build the church. It was built in 1817 by 80 masons and local population from Vatasha. First priest in the new church was Kamche, son of Hadzi Kole. Church is three-shipped basilica, 23,14 m long and 10,33 m wide. Side ships are with flat wooden ceiling and middle ship is with four blind kaloti (carved colons). Painting in the church was done by Krste Zograf from Veles during 1819. Emperor’s doors are made in 1818 by anonymous author. The west of the church is the bell tower 10 m tall and the church bell was a gift from Metodija Dzunov in 1926, cast in Bitola. Last inventory in 1965 records 79 icons, including some from 18th century, brought from some older churches in the area. Many important cultural and educational events are related with Vatasha church.

 

 

Poloshki monastery St. Gjorgji represents one of most important cultural and historical monuments in Macedonia. It was built in 1340 and according to the chronicle of Emperor Dushan, it was burial place of Dragushin, son of despot Altimir and Princess Marija, born daughter of Bulgarian emperor Skilica. Therefore it is believed to be a mausoleum or burial church. Church is painted with frescoes in 14th century and its priprata was painted in 1609. Polielej (church chandelier) of the church dates from 1492 and represents the oldest dated wood carving in Macedonia. In 1584 the Great cross was made for the iconostasis of Poloshki monastery which stands as one of the most beautiful wood carving pieces in Macedonia. In the past monastery owned a rich library with rare old books and handwritings which were in quantity 50 loads according to Jordan Hadzi Konstantinov Dzinot. Monastery had two inns – east and south one with 18 rooms and each of the neighboring villages were taking care of one of the rooms. It owned large property with 50 ha of fertile land, lots of pastures and forests. They had several hundreds of heads of small livestock and cattle and the monastery was managed by igumen, with the number of monks between 10 and 20. Each year on Gjurgjovden (St. George’s day) there was a great fair and for Bogorodica (Virgin Mary day) there was a monastery festivity. Monastery had a vast cellar where monks made quality wines, and the way of production was kept a secret.

 

Moklishki monastery St. Nikola. Around 5 km southeast of Vatasha is monastery church dedicated to St. Nikola. It was built in 1595 by Nikola and his sons from Timjanik. Monastery is near the former settlement of Moklishte and that’s why it was called Moklishki monastery. It is one-ship structure, with a gallery at its back entrance. First cell schools in this area were operating in this monastery which also had rich library with more than 30 loads of books, but it was neglected by the careless priests and villagers.

Paintings in the church date from two time periods, first when the monastery was built and the second from 1879. According to the preserved inscription above the door from the inside, you could see it was built in 1595. Preserved fresco painting on the western, southern wall and altar space demonstrates the quality of a mediocre craftsman, but still one who understands his trade. There was a cellar in the inns of the Moklishte monastery where monks used to make excellent red wine for their needs.

 

Boshava monastery. Monastery St. Archangel Michael and monastery inns were built in 1839 and the church was fresco painted in 1880. Monastery church is three-shipped with two rows of colons forming three ships. In the upper parts of southern and northern wall are windows illuminating the interior of the church. Here are two entrances in the church from the north and west side. Monastery church has open porch on the west side and small porch on the north side. Judging from the style of the fresco painting, it was the same craftsman who painted the church in Bohula.

 

Medieval (Marko’s) tower in Kavadarci, is located in Kulevsko maalo. It was supposedly built in the second half of 17th century of stone and mortar. Tower is 20 m tall and the thickness of the walls is one meter. It has five stores, but the ruined roof construction also caused deterioration of the stairway construction. There are no windows on the second floor, there is one window on the third floor, and four windows with iron bars on the fourth floor, as well as on the fifth. There is an opening on the south side where they defended the access to the tower from. The last floor of the tower had a toilet, a little wider from the tower and one wall had a fireplace and several dolapi (indents in walls like compartments). Medieval tower in Kavadarci had defensive role and solders were inside taking care of the safety of the town and the roads around it.


 

NEGOTINO 

Important archeological sites

G r a d i s h t e, is located on the northwest outskirts of Negotino, high above the right bank of River Vardar, on a terrace with southern exposition, on the area of 3 ha and is rich with plenty of ceramic material with wider chronology and cultural spectrum. It is a settlement with fort at an extremely favorable location especially in strategic and communication sense. It is located on a crossroad of the antique road Stobi-Serdika. The archeological excavations in 1983 have discovered rich fund of ceramic material from pre-classical, classical and particularly Hellenist period. Ceramic material of later antique dates 4th to 6th century. In the southern parts of the site besides the archeological material also Hellenic structures have been discovered. To the north of the settlement necropolis was discovered with several poor drinking water wells. Some scientists believe archeological site Gradishte is actually the antique settlement Antigonea, from which the town of Negotino derives its modern name.

 

Important cultural-historic monuments in Negotino

S a a t  K u la (Clock tower) in Negotino, according to one source was built in 1821 by Hadzi Tair-aga Sinanovski, who was a wealthy and powerful bey. In the same year he took part in suppression of the Negush rebellion in Greece and ceased the Bell tower and took all the parts for this clock. With his own funds he also built mosque and bezisten (closed shopping area). Everybody in town was happy about the tower because they had accurate time measurement. They used it as orientation when to start and stop working. Saat Kula had survived several unpleasant moments. Once was broken by a Turkish violator. He lived near the tower and had a pregnant wife who got stressed every time the bell rang. Caring husband was afraid something bad would happen to his wife because of the bell toll and at one occasion in midnight took the gun and shot the clock. Clock was broken for several days only. Repair men were called and they fixed the clock.

During the Balkan wars the clock, the bell and other mechanisms were removed and taken to unknown direction. Thus the bell toll stopped and only the remaining of the tower testifies that there was a clock here once.

 

St. Gjorgji Monastery is located 2 km east of Negotino, based on foundations of an older structure. According to the inscription of a panel built in the south wall of the porch, monastery church was built in 1860 and completed in 1866. The master mason was Andon Kotanov of the Angelkovci family from village of Tresonche, Mala reka, Debar area.

Monastery church is typical structure from the renaissance period when cathedrals were built throughout Macedonia in large sizes and with open porches. The church has architectonic shape of three-shipped church with three domes, divided to three travea (beams) and with wide round porches on the west and south side.

Fresco painting was done by brothers Vangel, Nikola and Kosta Atanasovi from Krushevo. The seat icon of the church was made by zograf from Veles Hadzi Konstantin Krstev.

There are additionally built old inns in the monastery complex. They were demolished and new were built instead, preserving the style of the old ones. Main donors for icons were from Shtip and zografs were from Krushevo. The old 19th century inns existed in the monastery until recently. They were again demolished and new were built, not authentic to the old ones. During the First Balkan War monastery served as a hospital for the Bulgarian army, which robbed all of the monastery treasure during retreat. That was the time when track was lost for many icons and valuable monastery belongings.


 

DEMIR KAPIJA

 

Important archeological sites in Demir Kapija

Terrain in Demir Kapija is very rich with numerous archeological sites, among which some of great cultural, archeological and historical significance are:

A v t o p a t (highway), temple from early antique and roman time. It is located northwest of Demir Kapija, along the railway line Skopje-Gevgelija. When they started the works on construction of the Highway near the interchange, they discovered remains of a smaller structure. It is believed that it was a sanctuary dedicated to Dioskurs. According to the findings this site dates from 4th century B.C. to 2nd century A.C.

B a n d e r a, roman temple and necropolis. At the inflow of river Boshava into Vardar parts of architectonic decorative plastic from a monumental structure were discovered. Those are bases, colons of ionic type, parts of architrave beams with a wreath, one ionic kapitel and several inscriptions from 2nd and 3rd century.

B u d u r  C h i f l i k, settlement and necropolis from late antique period. In 1947 was discovered a tomb of stone plates, set in direction north-south. On the inside of the tomb it is plated with marble panels and the floor is covered with large marble plate. They found tomb accessories items made of gold and silver. Later during construction of individual houses, they discovered foundations housing objects with multiple rooms.

B a n j a, hundred meters west of the church in Demir Kapija in the vineyards next to the villa of King Alexander Karagjorgjevik was discovered large quantity of fragmented construction material, characteristic for roman period and belonging to a single object villa rustica (country villa). In the north zone of the vineyards (backyard of the royal villa) there is Helshtat (period in pre-history) necropolis, tombs in cista (type of tomb) of stone plates. In the zone of Banja site there is a Turkish hamam, and based on the tales of the older people in this area, it is the core of the contemporary settlement of Demir Kapija.

 

Important cultural-historical monuments in Demir Kapija

Royal winery of Aleksandar Karagjorgjevik, in 1927 king of Yugoslavia Aleksandar Karagjorgjevik sent to Macedonia a group of experts in order to find suitable place for construction of a winery. Among the visited places in Kavadarci, Negotino and Gevgelija, they recommended to the king this property in village Banja, between rivers of Boshavica and Vardar, as most suitable for establishing a farm and winery. This property was bought by the king in 1928 from Usni-bey and Mehmed-bey for the amount of 2000 golden Turkish lira. The property included stables for small livestock and cattle and a kilometer away a modern horse stable was built for breeding horses. Still the emphasis of the property was on the winery which produced quality red wine for needs of the royal court. Four glass tanks made in Austria were supplied to the winery for grape fermentation. In the same time large number of wooden barrels were brought from Serbia with capacity between 4.000 and 6.000 liters, made of oak and lowered to the cellar with chains. Within the royal property a luxury villa was built named “Villa Marija” with two caryatids set in front of it. It is mentioned that King Alexander have visited this estate only once in 1931 after the earthquake, while Queen Marija had visited also once, in 1934 after the death of her husband.  Royal estate used to employ 25 clerks, around 150 workers and over 60 prisoners.

During Second World War one German unit passed by the winery and solders wanted to drink some wine. When they saw there were no taps on the barrels, one solder tried to pierce the barrel shooting it with a gun, but thick oak beams did not let the bullet penetrate.

In 1948 Government of Peoples Republic of Macedonia nationalized the estate and it was assigned to ZIK “Demir Kapija” for operations and later to ZZ :Povardarie” from Negotino. After the privatization the royal estate belongs to the Elenovi family which has been managing the property.

Peshtera Bela Voda (White Water Cave) is located on the old road to Gevgelija. Its total length is 955 m, the bottom of the cave on the lower canal rises gradually and widens in places into galleries and in places there are collapsed rocks from the ceiling, which separates it from the upper canal. Lower canal of the cave does not have cave decorations, since it is young by origin and the sand on the floor indicates occasional water flow through the cave. At the end of the canal is Margarita Lake size 8 m by 12 m and various depths from 4 to 8 m. Upper canal has cave decorations in places.

Peshtera Zmejovec (Cave Zmejovec) is composed of two parts: one larger with 150 m length and the other smaller with 40 m in length. There are limestone basins where women throw coins with a wish to bear a child. The cave is rich in decorations, drapes, stalactites, stalagmites and by its beauty it is compared with Postojnska Jama in Slovenia.

Accessibility to the caves is very poor. In Bela Voda one must crawl in laying position and afterwards there are wide and high corridors. It is dark and one must carry light. The opening in Zmejovec is large but it requires two and a half kilometers walking to get there.

Crkvishte (church area) is three-shipped early Christian basilica discovered in 1930 by the Serbian archeologist Nikola Vulik. Basilica has semi round apsid, (altar area) nartex (lower part of the wall with frescoes) and exonartex (upper part of the wall with frescoes) and was built on the foundations of late antique necropolis. North of the basilica there are two compartments, and north and south of the nartex one chamber- gjakonikon (section of a church) and protezis (section of a church). Central ship has mosaic pavement, ruined with additional diggings. In the Slavic period church was reduced to only central ship and the side ships were used for burial rituals.


 

SOPOT

Short history

Village Sopot is mentioned for the first time by two names, Golem Sopot (Large Sopot) is located northeast of Kavadarci in Tikvesh nahija (administrative unit). In 1519 the village had 62 Christian families, 13 bachelors, 7 widows and 1 Muslim family. According to the Turkish documents about the history of Macedonian people and the census done in 1573 Golem Sopot had 86 Christian families and 12 Muslim and was among the largest settlement in mentioned area.

Village Mal Sopot (Small Sopot) or Dolni Sopot (Lower Sopot) was in the immediate proximity of golem Sopot and was significantly smaller. According to the census in 1519 Small Sopot had 29 families, 4 bachelors and 1 widow, while in the census of 1573 only 19 families which meant that Small Sopot merged with Large and later both villages were called Sopot.

It is not known how the village got its name, since it is very obvious that the village is far from any water source and water supply has always been a problem for the villagers.

Village is located at the altitude of 130 m at the exit of Luda Mara River towards village of Kurija. Altitude at Marenski Ushi is 235 m and at St. Jovan area is 328 m.

In the second half of 17th century Kara-pasha Debarski, after robbing and devastating settlements of Drenovo, Tikvesh, Poloshki monastery, Dukena and other, came with a large gang of more then 3.000 bandits to the village and decided to settle down in Sopot, declaring himself ajan (head of smaller administration unit). In that later period high number of retired Turkish solders came to settle in Sopot, taking land by force from Christian families and lots of them were force to move away. Thus increased the number of Muslims at the account of Christian population. Such development led to a condition when at the beginning of 19th century almost all population was Muslim.

Village Sopot was interesting place to live in where through time lived many distinguished Turks. Notorious Kara-pasha Debarski had his inn and a tower there, when the Arnauts robbed Tikvesh for the first time. In Sopot he stayed at the old tower, declaring him self ajan of the area. Older inhabitants of Sopot still remember that tower, or its remaining. Another famous Turk who lived there was Ibraim Subashija, who owned a great chiflik (estate) and built a large tower and saraj (palace) in the center of the village, near the two water wells.

For the Muslim population, a mosque was built in the village and Sopot had an imam since 16th century, very first was one named Sinan Hodza. Mosque was built from nicely cut stone blocks, which could have been seen until fifties in 20th century. Place where the mosque was is still called today: Dzamija (mosque).

After the end of the Balkan wars, especially the First World War, Turkish population begun to move out in large numbers to Turkey. There was a vast area of uncultivated land which the King of Yugoslavia gave to deserving “eligible” citizens from Serbia and other parts of Yugoslavia.

During Second World War large number of villagers from Sopot took active part in the liberation army and partisan units, out of which 8 gave their lives in the war.

It is important to know that village Sopot was one of the largest producers of grapes, wine and rakija in the whole Tikvesh area. Out of 117 settlements, Sopot was the largest producer of grape and wine, which you can see from the tax in wine or ushura on must, which villagers used to pay to the state and to their feudal lord during 16th and 17th century. Namely, Sopot used to pay 6600 akkjina (Turkish currency unit) tax a year, compared to Kavadarci with 660, Negotino 1560, Vatasha 660, Veshja 4500 etc.

Vine at that time was cultivated as nerezina which meant planting of a cut vine sprout into the ground. Vine was grown on regular vineyard where a wooden stick would hold and support the vine and the grapes. In the Middle Ages there were strict regulations for vine growing that had to be obeyed since the penalties were severe. The time of pruning was exactly determined, time of fertilizing and how much, how many times you needed to do digging around the vine etc. When filoxera spread, it reduced the area under vineyards dramatically, whose renovation didn’t start until 1920, after the first nursery started to operate in Kavadarci. That is the time when people started cultivating vine on American foundation.

 

Archeological sites

In Sopot there are several sites among which most important is DUKENA-MARENSKI VRSHNIK. This site is located west of the village where one could see remaining or fragments of construction ceramic material, as well as sporadic architectonic plastic. From this site comes the torso made from white marble representing male figure wearing toga. It is placed today in the village church near the cemeteries. Professor Nikola Vulik discovered at this site a bronze statue, which he took to Belgrade along with large number of coins he also found there. Miniatures of bronze plastic and coins of emperor Probus are also related to this site. Settlement dates from 2nd to 4th century.

Church St. Jovan (John). North to the village Sopot, at the border area of Sopot and Kurija one can see remaining of construction ceramic material. It is a rural settlement which is linked to the sacral object mentioned before.

 


 

STOBI

Short history of the settlement

Oldest written source about Stobi is recorded after the victory of Philip V, King of Macedonia, over the Dardans, which took place near Stobi in Paionia, in 197 B.C. In another document historian Livius wrote that Stobi is located at the delta of river Crna Reka (Erigon), near the place where it flows in Vardar (Axius), who called the settlement “old town” versus the new town of Persida, founded by Phillip V in 183 B.C.

Although large excavations have been done with lots of findings and objects, still the historic date about the foundation of Stobi is scarce. The opinion prevails that the settlement was established in the Hellenistic period, but not long before the rule of Phillip. Archeological probe researches of the Acropolis and under several buildings near the center of the later city discovered sediments of layers belonging to 3rd and 2nd century B.C. Few findings in mainly bronze objects, originating from the classical archaic period, are found in Stobi, but cannot be linked to the context material and its age.

From what is known today, it seems that Stobi was founded during the century after the war that Phillip II fought against the Paionians 359 years B.C.

After the victory of the Romans over Macedonian King Persei, 168 years B.C. Macedonia was divided to four areas and Stobi was center for salt trade in the third area. Macedonia in 148 year B.C. become roman province, but still there are no evidences of important changes in the lifestyle and policy of Stobi.

Intensive expansion of the town and its importance as a trade center in this part of Macedonia can be linked with rising of its status into municipium which Stobi had since 69 year A.C. i.e. in time when they started making coins of various types with the inscription municipium Stobensium. Making money in Stobi continued until early 3rd century A.C. Individual writings confirm that Stobi had the status of municipium, as well as inscriptions on some of the structures in the settlement. Citizens of Stobi used the term Ius Italicum which meant they were citizen of Rome and belonged to roman tribes Aemilia and Tromentina

During early emperor’s period, city has reached its highest stadium and welfare. Many monuments with inscriptions testify to secular and sacral legacies of wealthy citizens of Stobi. Large building near the East city wall, with perfect relief structure and frescoes with painted representations on the walls, are evidences of that welfare. Several gods and goddesses were worshiped in Stobi: Higija, Telesphor, Artemidis, Lohija, Apolo, Klarios, Dionisius, Hera and other.

Stobi was city with influence during early Christian period. It was Episcopal seat, if not earlier than for sure since 325 year when bishop of Stobi Budios participated in the Nikea Council. During 4th and 5th century at least three Christian basilicas were built in the city, out of which two had baptisteries, while two were out of the city.

City walls existed since 3rd century, while the internal wall along east side was erected at the end of 4th century, when the eastern part of the outer wall was abandoned.

Churches in Stobi were magnificent monuments decorated with frescoes and mosaics, and few were found in excellent condition. It all drives a conclusion that Stobi had schools for education of artists, painters and musicians. Beautiful mosaics were not only decorating churches, but also some private palaces as the house Peristerija and Theodosian Palace.

There was a rich Jewish community in Stobi since 3rd century, when Polychromous “father of synagogue” built the Jewish temple almost in the center of the city. At the beginning of 4th century synagogue was restored. There was a new floor mosaic with geometric pattern and the walls in the main chamber were covered with frescoes. Synagogue was destroyed at the end of 4th century, and a Christian basilica was built on top of its remaining.

Turning the holy place of the Jewish community into Christian church happened approximately in time of the visit of emperor Theodosius I to Stobi. He issued two edicts in Stobi in June 388, banning gathering of heretics, as well as any public discussion about the religion.

There are a few famous Stobi episcopes from the 5th century such as Nikola, who took part in the Halkedon Council in 451 and Phillip, whose name was written above the entrance of the Episcopal basilica. Most famous citizen of Stobi who lived and worked in Stobi was Johannes Stobaeus, whose scientific studies were kept until present times.

It seems that Stobi become capital of the province Macedonia Salutaris in second half of 4th century, when the province was formed Stobi was also capital of Macedonia secunda, created in 5th century during the alteration of provinces borders.

End of 5th century was catastrophic for the city. Stobi was saved from ruin in 472 by opening the gates for Teodemir, king of Ostrogots. City management must have paid an enormous amount of money and food supplies to the Ostrogot army, which then headed for Constantinople. But just a few years later, city was attacked and robbed by Teodorih, son and heir of Teodemir. Barely surviving the last attack, it was hit by another disaster, the great earthquake in 518.

After the catastrophic earthquake which nearly destroyed the city, and killed hundreds of citizens, he never regained its pride, power and welfare. Less then two decades after the earthquake citizens of Stobi left the city in fear of cholera outbreak, which had been devastating the eastern empire at that time. But one of the reasons for leaving Stobi could be the breakthrough of the Slavs at the end of 6th century.

Before the large building was demolished, the beautiful mosaic in the Baptistery, the south side of the Episcopal basilica, they dig a canal to insert a lead pipe which served to bring water in.

It is not possible to state with certainty that Stobi’s collapse was a consequence of a major catastrophe or conquests. Second assumption is more logical, having in mind the movement of the Slavic tribes and other northern people at that time.

Some writings demonstrate some life in Stobi after the 6th century, and pointing at two episcopes who were operating in Stobi in the 7th century and there is the source which mentions the victory of byzantine emperor Vasilius II in 1014, over the military siege of Stobi. But those sources still cannot confirm that city was inhabited at that time. Some archeological findings mark certain activity in the upper layers of the Theater during 11th century, and a few Slavic graves were uncovered near the Northern basilica. Still after the 6th century, there are no signs of city life in Stobi.

 


 

VILLAGE KURIJA

According to the famous ethno-geographer and ethnologist d-r Voislav Radovanovik, author of the study for Tikvesh and Raec, which was his PhD thesis, village Kurija has its origins in roman period, many artifacts and archeological sites near the village are testifying to this.

Village of Kurija until the beginning of 19th century was one village with mixed Christian and Muslim population. But in that time known Turkish violator Kantur-bey entered the village Kurija and Christian population moved out. Muslim population moved in the empty Christian houses. He established big “chiflik” (property unit) on the other bank of river Luda Mara. Then this village got the name Islamic or Turkish Kurija and the neighboring village was called Risjan (slang name for Christians) Kurija.

Village Risjanska Kurija is located on the left bank of river Luda Mara on low plains. Village was Christian of chiflik type. The shape of chiflik was square and it had four chiflik houses, short and long around 70 meters. Village had 18 houses, and on the beginning of 20th century number of houses and population increased continuously. Population was mostly involved in agriculture and cattle breeding.

In 1919-1920 with formation of Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the chiflik system is abandoned and villagers received several hectares of land from the state for cultivation. Land was very fertile especially along river Luda Mara, which valley was wide up to 4.000 meters. Kantur-bey’s chiflik existed until the beginning of 20th century when his family started losing its fortune and lost power and influence over the villagers. This was a reason to sell chiflik to a rich trader from Veles, by the name of Dimko-Pasha.

Village of Islamic or Turkish Kurija is located on the opposite side of village Risjanska Kurija, on a low land on the right bank of river Luda Mara. There was a water tap in the village which in summer months went dry or had very little water, insufficient for the needs of the villagers. The village was mixed and had Muslim and Christian population. Until 1913 most of population were Muslims but after Balkan wars Muslims started moving out to Turkey in large numbers and their houses were partly inhabited by Christians. In 1919-1929 started colonization in Macedonia, and many colonists from Serbia and Bosnia moved in the houses where previously Muslim population lived. Village had 40 houses in total out of whish old settlers 12 houses and 28 colonists – new settlers.

Soil in Muslim Kurija as well as in the next village was very fertile, and poppy from Kurija was considered among highest quality one in the region. Colonists from Serbia brought in some novelties in the way of cultivating the land as well some new crops which were never cultivated in this region.

 

Important archeological sites in v. Kurija

DOBROGLED, on the southeast periphery of village Kurija, on a mild slope leaned towards the village were discovered many fragmented ceramics, which with the construction material speak of an individual rural object from late antique period, also supported with the tomb of type cista made of stone panels. This villa rustica and the discovered necropolis belong to 4th -5th century of our age.

 

LAKATA, around 800 meters from the railway station Kukurechani, in the field of Dushko Trajkov, on the left bank of Kurjacka River, pitos and fragmented ceramics were discovered. It is small rural settlement from late antique period settled on top of remains of earlier prehistoric settlement from neolith period.

 

 


 

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