Gostivar (Гостивар)


Gostivar - a city in western Macedonia in the southern part of the Polog Valley. Gostivar is the center of the municipality of the same name which covers an area of about 650 km2. The city is an administrative, political, business and cultural environment for about eighty thousand inhabitants, of which in the core of the city live almost 36,000 inhabitants.

The city is a typical multicultural environment, inhabited by almost all nationalities in Macedonia (Macedonians, Albanians, Turks, Roma and others).


Origin of the name Gostivar
There are several assumptions and folklore and legends about the origin of the name of the city of Gostivar. However, the claim that the name Gostivar is of Macedonian or Slavic language origin can be accepted as the most credible. As a proof of the Slavic origin of the name Gostivar can be taken the fact that in the Czech Republic within the capital Prague (districts Prague 10 and Prague 15) there is a settlement and a whole region called Hostivar ((in Czech: Hostivař, pronunciation: ( D) hostivar (h)) which in the past was a separate settlement, and in German records from the 12th century is found under the name Gostiwar. Considering that in the Czech language the soft x is a substitute for the sound d (eg Praha - Prague) the name of this large settlement in the southeastern part of Prague is actually Gostivar, and the knowledge of the words is almost the same (the Czech guest noun is: hoste) It can be freely concluded that the name Gostivar, which is found in both Macedonia and the Czech Republic, is of Slavic origin.

In the Middle Ages, the city was visited by guests from all over, and in the summer days, traditionally, a large trade fair (fair) was held every year. This tradition continued during the Ottoman Empire. Due to the large attendance of the settlement by people from other parts, guests, the Turks among themselves, in Turkish, often called "Gostivar" (there are guests). At that time there were many inns in the city, so it is assumed that the "hospitable city" or "guest city" became - Gostivar. The etymological meaning of the toponym in science has not yet been determined. During the Turkish rule, the settlement began to develop into a significant seat of Gorni Polog, also called Gorna Nahiya. The population from the surrounding lowland and hilly-mountainous villages began to move to the central settlement, which began to grow. In 1659, the rich Mehmed Pasha built a mosque in the middle of the settlement, and around it he built a school and a bath, and later a caravanserai and shops. The rich Agu Beqir-bey also built a mosque and a school in Gostivar, which were located on the site of today's Clock Tower.

According to Marko Cepenkov, Gostivar was a destination for the monasteries from Suva Gora (mountain east of the city) where many priests, travelers and pilgrims were guests. Due to that rich feast, the mat got the name Gostivar. There is also a legend that says that it comes from Turkish times where Gostivar means "a place where guests always come". According to the Turks, the city was named so because in Turkish the word VAR means "there", so there were always guests at that place. Also the word VAR or Vari in all Slavic languages ​​means a spring or a place from where a large amount of water springs - boiling, and also meant a bath. In support of this we will add as an example the town of Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic which is translated. Which in Old Slavonic translation would be "Guest Bath". Some scholars, such as the Russian professor Afanasi Selishchev, believe that the Slavic name of the city was Kostovo.

Based on the records of Abdulaqim Dogani, Gostivar gets its name from the girl who came from Bar who has chosen this city as her place of residence. In the local language, the girl is a girl from Bar (Tivat in Montenegro), that is why the name Gostivar comes from the girl from Tivat. The probability and truth of this claim is very small, and is primarily in the context of Greater Albanian nationalism, ie to confirm the thesis of autochthony of Albanians in Gostivar and other settlements in Macedonia, and the anecdote itself has very little logical meaning.

According to another legend, the current one in the city of Gosti-Gosti, was created during the reign of the ruler Volkashin. Because a large number of visitors came, guests through these areas, during the Turkish rule in Turkish they called it "Gostivar" which means (there are guests). The name itself, ie Gostivar was called the place of gathering of guests, ie "The city of the guests". Volkashin built "cities" (fortresses) for all his children. For example, he built a fortress for his daughter Kita in Kicevo, called "Kitin Grad" (Kitinggrad), and for Cveta he built a fortress on Suva Gora called "Cveta Gora", where there were many churches and monasteries. The monasteries in "Cveta Gora" had their own farms in Gorni Polog (Gostivar region). The city of Gostivar was then the site of the Suvogorski monasteries. The people of the monastery often visited the farms near Gostivar, where they were well entertained. The legend says that after the "visit" the settlement was called Gostivar.



The city lies in the valley Polog (Upper Polog) at an altitude of 510 meters. Near Gostivar in the village of Vrutok (5 km southwest of Gostivar) is the source of the largest Macedonian river Vardar which flows through the city which divides it into two parts, and also near it is the largest Macedonian national park and ski center. Mavrovo. Gostivar is 67 km away from Skopje, and neighboring cities are Tetovo 27 km north and Kicevo 46 km south. Gostivar is a city that is being built with great speed and is becoming one of the most beautiful cities in Macedonia.



Stone Age
According to the latest data obtained through the archeological excavations of the Neolithic sites Tumba near the village Dolno Palchishte (1987/88.) And Pod selo tumba near the village Stenche (2000), the oldest traces of life in the Polog Valley (Tetovo and Gostvar region) date from 8000 years ago or more precisely from the year 6100 BC. From these sites originate a large number of excavated fragments, but also fully preserved pieces of pottery, as well as altars and statuettes dedicated to the female cult. In the area of ​​Tetovo, many important representations of rock art have been found as artistic compositions related to ritual rituals.

This area throughout the Neolithic was inhabited by the bearers of the cultural group Anzabegovo-Vrsnik, which was also present in the Skopje region and Eastern Macedonia. In the early Neolithic, however, this area was strongly influenced by the Neolithic culture Velushina-Porodin from Pelagonija south of here, which can be seen through the form of the oldest preserved altar type 'Big-Mother' (lat. Magna Mater) found in this area. , and discovered near Stenche. The Late Neolithic is characterized by the influence of the Vinca culture from the north.

Metal age
At the end of the 4th millennium AD, the first incursions of new settlers began, steppe peoples from Central Asia - Indo-Europeans, who by destroying and assimilating the old Neolithic culture created a new Eneolithic cultural complex in the Balkans, called Salkuca-Buban-Krivodol. Traces of this new population were also found in Polog (in Palchishte, Zelino, etc.). This situation stabilized in the Middle Bronze Age when the first beginnings of the Balkan proto-ethnic and later pre-ethnic communities appeared. In this period begins a strong penetration of material features from the south of the developed Mycenaean culture, which can be seen through a parade of luxury bronze sword found in Tetovo, imported from those Mycenaean centers. Although the next epochs will be marked by mass migrations, the Iron Age is still characterized by stabilization, which led to the development of trade. The ceramic large pitos for cereals, found near the village of Larce, also date from this period.

During this period, according to Strabo's records relating to the mint at Damastion, and especially to the preserved onomastic traces of later times, it can be seen that Polog was inhabited by Briges (Briges, Brigoi). The Brigids were an integral part of the later ethnic communities of the Paionians, the ancient Macedonians, the Desaretes, the Edonites and the Migdons. Even the Paionians, although an ancient Bronze Age population, had indisputable ties to the Brigids in this part of the Balkans. Paeonian and ancient Macedonian linguistics and onomastics show a number of glosses and names with Brigid roots, which points to the fact that the Brigids were a substratum or base in the Paeonian and ancient Macedonian ethnic formation.

Early antiquity
In 1932. A bronze statue from the Agrian period, 4th century BC, was found near the place called Balezova Cesma, and is a valuable archeological find, found in the Tetovo district. The statue measures 9 cm long and 4 cm wide, and is located in the Museum of Macedonia in Skopje.

The influences of the Greek craft centers on this part of the Balkans will actually lead to an additional change in the culture and way of life of the local populations. It is these changes that herald the new, archaic period and the transition from the epoch of prehistory to the epoch of history and antiquity. Archaeologically, these transformations are visible through new material (new types of pottery, jewelry and other handicrafts), and spiritual (new way of burial: cremation instead of inhumation, acceptance of cults of Greek deities) and other features, which were initially accepted as prestige from the most elite social strata, and then from the rest of the population, which is best seen from the so-called princely tombs, the most famous of which is the one from Tetovo, in which the famous statuette of Menada was found.


In the past there were various theories as to which ancient tribe inhabited this area. However, according to the latest information, the entire area of ​​Southern Serbia, Eastern Kosovo and Northern Macedonia, including Polog, in this period, until the 3rd century BC. was inhabited by the northernmost ancient Macedonian (Paeonian) tribe Agrianes. This is seen in the continuity in the archeological horizons, the developed ceramic import from the Greek south, the rich princely tombs and the like. This tribe had its own kings, the most famous of which is Langaros who in 335 BC. helped the Macedonian king Alexander III during his campaign against the Tribals in the north. The Agrians followed him on his campaign through Asia when they proved to be one of the most ruthless warriors in many key battles, after which they became especially famous in the ancient world.

Due to economic and trade development, certain cities also minted their own autonomous coins. Such was the case with the city of Pelagia, which throughout the 4th century BC. he minted his own silver coins at the Damastion mint. The city of Pelagia is considered to be located near today's Tetovo, and is in fact, in the urban sense, its ancient ancestor, from whose name the later Slavic name of the whole valley Polog (Pelagia-Polog, as in the case of Skupi-Skopje, Astibo-Stip, Thessaloniki-Thessaloniki, etc.).

Towards the end of the 4th century BC. The weakened Agrian state came under the rule of King Avdoleon of Paeonia, and by the middle of the 3rd century BC, all their territories were occupied by the Dardanians from the north (south to northern Macedonia and Polog), which can be seen through discontinuity in the archaeological horizons of that period. These border areas throughout the following period will be used as a logistical background, from where Dardania organized strong looting campaigns in the south to the rich kingdom of Macedonia, even after those territories fell within the Roman Empire in 168 BC.

Roman period
It was not until the 29th century AD. and Polog, along with the rest of Dardania, as far north as the Danube, would descend under Roman rule, beginning an era of stabilization, peaceful life, trade, and prosperity. From the 2-3rd century AD. There are several stone tablets on which the epitaph is written in Greek, which says that this region was part of the Greek language sphere, unlike Kosovo and the Skopje region which were part of the Latin language sphere. This means that in the Early Imperial period (1-3 century AD) Polog was part of the Roman province of Macedonia, and in the late Attica (3-6 century AD), after the reforms of Diocletian, part of the province of Macedonia II (Macedonia). Secunda). The found stelae also contain rich onomastic material and personal names that are predominantly indigenous and from which it can be seen that the Romanization of these peripheral ends, outside the main roads, did not gain much momentum.

Taught by the great barbarian invasions (Celts, Ostrogoths, Huns) that occurred more frequently from the 3rd century and lasted through the following centuries, Roman emperors began in the late 4th century to build fortified cities and fortresses on dominant hills. Numerous castrum, castellum and refugium for the population in the Tetovo area date from that period, the most important of which are those near the present-day villages of Rogle, Orasje, Leshok, Stenche, Jegunovce, Gradec and the Isar-Banjice area. Tetovo.

Although Christianity in Macedonia came with St. Paul the Apostle in the 50s of the 1st century AD, still only after the legalization of Constantine in 313 AD. it could penetrate more massively to the common people, and start building early Christian churches - basilicas. To date, traces of 16 early Christian basilicas have been registered in Polog, of which 12 in Tetovo and 4 in Gostivar, with the best studied being the basilica of Stenche from the 5th century AD. which is unique in Macedonia with 3 baptisteries (baptisteries), and the one in Tudence which dates from the second sex. 6th century. and is the oldest triconch (three-nave) church in the Republic of Macedonia, and is rare in all of Southern Europe.

However, after the strong Avar-Slavic penetrations in the late 6th century AD. all fortresses are abandoned but not completely demolished. Most of them, two or three centuries later, when a stable state organization was re-established, will be rebuilt for the same purpose, but this time they will be inhabited by the dominant Slavic population, laying the foundations for the new medieval towns.


Middle century
When the Slavs came to the Polog area, the plain settlements were abandoned. Some of the natives retreated to some of the more remote, small mountain livestock settlements. Mainly, the Slavic population settled the most important places in the plain, which they gave a new, Slavic name, calling it "Podlog" (Polog), probably meaning "under the mountain", "under the mountain". In the 10th century, the Byzantines re-established control over the entire Polog area, fortified the most important destroyed fortresses and established a permanent military presence in them. Then, for several decades, the Polog area was part of Samuel's Kingdom, after whose collapse it fell again under Byzantium. In 1282-83, the Polog region came under the rule of the Serbs, led by King Milutin. Otherwise, Gostivar as a settlement is first mentioned in a charter of Milutin from 1313, under the name Banska (Banjica), as a village in the southern part of the Polog valley with about 200 inhabitants. The charter also mentions the Gostivar medieval monastery. During Milutin's reign, the Serb population was colonized in the Polog Valley. But the found Byzantines retained their rights and possessions. Gostivar as a rural settlement is mentioned during the Dushan's kingdom, in a charter of Tsar Dushan from 1331-1340, under the name Belika, after the medieval name of the river Vardar.

Ottoman period
During this period, the settlement began to grow, developing in a significant center of Gorni Polog, or as it was then called - Gorna nahija. The population in this period, from the plain and hilly-mountainous villages, started to settle in Gostivar, and the number of inhabitants to increase significantly. Many Turks and Albanians settled in the city. In 1659, the rich Mehmed Pasha built a mosque in the middle of the settlement, and built a school and a bath around it. The same bey later built a caravanserai and several shops in the city. Following the example of Mehmed Pasha and other beys, for the sake of prestige, they built several buildings, mostly Muslim landmarks. Thus, the rich Bekir Bey in Gostivar, built a mosque and a school that were located on the site of today's clock tower.

In 1850, the geologist and Balkanologist Ami Bue in the description of Tetovo, among other things, says in one part that in Polog is the "big village" Gostivar, while as a city Gostivar is mentioned for the first time in both records from the 19th century. According to them, this settlement on Polog has formed its bazaar (square) while Tuesday was a market day. In 1874. the city had 400 houses, about 2,000 inhabitants, while at the end of the same century 3,500 inhabitants.

Gostivar experienced its main prosperity at the end of the 19th century during the Turkish rule when it became the center of kaza. Then Gostivar starts to get its image of a small town. With the immigration of various masters and craftsmen from Veles, Krushevo, Kicevo and Debar, the Gostivar Bazaar is formed and Tuesday is designated as a market day, which is a tradition to this day. During the Ilinden Uprising from Gostivar and the surrounding area, many Macedonian patriots will take part who will go to fight directly in Krushevo and the surrounding area.

world War Two
During the Second World War, the Macedonian population in Gostivar will experience unprecedented terror by the Albanian fascist occupiers - the ballistas led by Dzemo and Mefail. Exactly at the end of the war near Gostivar, the ballistic leader Dzemo will be killed, followed by a general celebration of the Macedonians in Gostivar. During the Second World War in Gostivar and the surrounding area fought several Macedonian partisan detachments and units, which fought hard battles with ballistic units that were first supported by the Italian and later by the German occupier. A national hero from the Gostivar region is Chede Filiposki-Dame whose monument is located on the Gostivar square (opposite the department store).

Interethnic relations and conflicts
Gostivar in recent Macedonian history will be remembered even after the events of July 9, 1997 when the Macedonian police carried out an action to remove the flag of a foreign country (Albania) which was displayed in front of the municipal building. 4 civilians will die in the events. During the 2001 military conflict, Gostivar and the surrounding area will be spared from armed struggle and conflict, but many Macedonians from Gostivar will be part of the Macedonian security forces in operations in Tetovo and the Tetovo Fortress. More recently, interethnic relations have been in turmoil following the assassinations of Besnik Shehapi and Imran Mehmedi on February 28, 2012 in self-defense by police officer Jakim Trifunoski, and frequent initiatives by Albanian politicians to name a street and erect a monument to the ballistic leader of the Second World War.


Famous buildings
There are several famous buildings in the city (especially from the Turkish period of rule) such as several mosques and the recognizable Gostivar clock tower in the center. Also on the square dominates with its imposing size the church of the Holy Mother of God. There was a Turkish bath-bath in the city that was demolished, and then the branch of Stopanska Banka was located on that place until its demolition.

Church "St. Mother of God "
The Most Holy Mother of God - the main and cathedral church in Gostivar, located on the square. The construction of the church began in 1924, and its consecration took place in 1929. In 2003, the church underwent a major restoration work.

Clock tower
Clock Tower (Turkish: Ebu Bekir Paşa Saat Kulesi) - one of the most famous and recognizable buildings in the city of Gostivar. It is one of the three cultural and historical monuments in Gostivar and is located on the municipal coat of arms and flag. It was built in 1728/29 by Ismail Aga, son of Haji Yusuf aga.

The year of construction and the name of the builder are written in Ottoman-Turkish on a stone slab above the front door. It is located in the center of the city, and next to it there is a mosque called "Saat-mosque" (mosque "Saat Abu Bekir Pasha") which has been renovated recently. In the immediate vicinity of the clock tower are the post office, the famous shopping center "Blue Center" with a glass facade, and not far from the street at 250-300 meters is the church of the Church of the Holy Mother of God and the town square.

The Gostivar clock tower together with those in Skopje, Bitola and Prilep is one of the most preserved original clock towers. It is still in operation and shows the exact time through several clocks built into it. In 2010 it was restored under suspicious circumstances.