Debar (Дебар)


Debar - a city in the western part of Macedonia and the administrative center of the Municipality of Debar, which includes 17 more villages. It is located in Debar Field, next to the shore of Lake Debar. It is the center of the far western region, which is mainly inhabited by Macedonians of Muslim faith.


Origin of the term
Many scholars claim that the name of the city of Debar is of Macedonian origin, ie with origin and meaning from the Macedonian, Old Slavic and other Slavic languages. In the Old Slavic language, the noun debar (дьбръ) means valley, valley, which corresponds to the location and the environment in which the city of Debar is located. In Macedonia there are several names of villages, areas, areas and other toponyms derived from the noun Debar such as the area, and also valley, ethnographic area and municipality of Debrca in Ohrid, villages Debreshe (Gostivar), Debreshte (Prilep), Debrec (Kajlar region), Debrishte (Kavadarci region) (in older records and the Tetovo village Dobroshte is found as Debreshte), the locality Debrevnik (Strumica region), with a common feature that they are located in valleys and valleys, ie foothills of mountains where the valley or plain part begins in the valleys. Also, the Macedonian educator, revivalist and teacher Jordan Hadzi-Konstantinov - The Giant in his writings, travelogues and published articles in the fifties of the 19th century, often uses the word debrina, debris for valleys and valleys. Hence it can be concluded that the name (toponym) Debar is formed from physical geographical, ie orographic terms meaning valley, ie valley. Having in mind the location of the city of Debar and the Debar Field, today mostly submerged under the artificial lake, as well as the wider area of ​​Gorni and Dolni Debar, in the valley between the mountains Deshat, Stogovo and Jablanica, and also the area where the valleys of the rivers Radika are composed. and the Black Drim, it can be safely concluded that the city got its name from its indigenous Macedonian population and its language, as a result of its geographical position.

However, the name Debar is mentioned even before the arrival of the Slavs, ie the word Debar is known to history before our era. Thus, in "History Unnov" on page 86 it is written: "In 268 BC ... The Goths with 6000 lies and 320,000 soldiers entered St. Gora, they besieged Thessaloniki, they came to Debar where they collided with the Roman cavalry ... This thesis is confirmed by the Czech historian Ireчеek, who, among other things, says that the word is not Slavic, but derives from the Latin deboros, meaning valley, valley.

The legends of the folk narrator interpret the origin of the name Debar differently: At one time Debar was a large village, whose inhabitants were engaged in crafts and renting. The tenants, traveling on steep roads, tired the horses, especially when they returned, because they were very loaded. They drove the tired horses with "Di-bre, di-bre! "And over time this name remained to be used for the settlement.

First entries for the name
The first written document that mentions the name Debar is the map of Claudius Ptolemy, made around the middle of the 2nd century in which it is called Deborus. The Byzantine emperor Basil II knew of its existence, while Felix Petancic mentions it under the name Dibri in 1502.

Jastrebov writes in "Old Serbia and Albania" ("Monument to the Serbian Kraljevo Academy", p. 41): "That city (Debar) did not exist during the time of Skenderbeg". Skanderbeg started the war with the Turks in 1444, which means that even then the city of Debar did not exist. According to Jastrebov, on the site of today's city of Debar, was the village of Orovnik. He concludes this from the statements of some old Albanians. However, someone Mustafa Dzuf from Lusna told Jastrebova that Orovnik should mean a locality that stretched from today's Debar to the north near the village of Grazhdani.

The chronicler Acropolis (1257) says that on the road from Durres, through Mat to Debar he was forced to stay longer than he should, because the road was dangerous for the rebellious population. However, here the question arises whether the name Debar means a city or a province. Most scholars believe that this is a province because there is a lot of evidence for the existence of the name Debar in the XII and even in the XI century.

First of all, the Arab scholar Idrizi wrote in 1153: "The road Via Egnatia to Skopje passed from Durres-Tirana-Debar under the valley of the river Radika, Mavrovi Hanovi, Gorni and Dolni Polog through the Thirsty Mountain to Skopje."

For the first time the city of Debar under his name in the geographical maps is written in a map issued in 1545 with "Dibri". Then Barlett, a biographer of Skanderbeg in 1577, says "he himself was in the town of Gorni Debar". From this it follows that at the end of the XV and the beginning of the XVI century we have reliable data on the sinking of the city of Debar.